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Every columnist I read across
the internet Monday morning who
debated or criticized the decision
of Tiger MGR Brad Ausmus to pinch
run for Miguel Cabrera in the B-9th
of Sunday night's/Monday morning's
home loss to Kansas City COMPLETELY
missed the reason why Ausmus cost
the Tigers that rubber game of the
weekend series and a return to first
place in the AL-Central.
I don't dispute the decision to lift Cabrera for pinch runner Rajai Davis
when Miggy drew a lead-off walk after an hour and 43 minute rain delay.
Ausmus was trying to end a long night as quickly as possible.
Why Ausmus didn't have Davis try to steal a base once putting him
aboard is a mystery, but not the ultimate mistake Ausmus made.
In fact, if I was Ausmus, I'd have pinch run for hobbled Victor Martinez
too when V-Mart singled Davis into scoring position. I'd have used Bryan
Holaday, a back-up catcher with good speed who might be able to avoid
getting forced out on the bases, who could have then filled the DH spot in
case the game went to extra innings (which it did).
When the Tiger try to win in regulation fizzled, so did Ausmus' judgement.
Because Ausmus removed the best hitter in the game for the speedy
Davis, he needed to replace Cabrera at 1Base defensively when the game
went to the top of the 10th.
First option Alex Avila had just gone on the DL with a knee injury. Second
option Andrew Romine was already playing SStop for the groin injured Jose
Iglesias. Thus, Ausmus was forced to go to door number three and placed
Hernan Perez at 1Base.
The only thing Perez has in common with Cabrera is that they're both
I understand that Perez was the only option Ausmus had at 1Base.
But why put Perez in Cabrera's spot in the lineup, due up fourth in the
bottom of the 10th?
Davis, a decent hitter, was already in Cabrera's slot in the order. Why not
leave him there?
Davis could have gone to RField in place of J.D. Martinez, who was batting
just .069 over his last nine games. Perez, batting only .111 for the season but
needed at 1Base, could have taken J.D.'s slot in the lineup, not due up until
seventh in the B-10th.
As it was, when the Tigers loaded the bases with none out in the B-10th
by then trailing 2-1, Perez came to the plate in Cabrera's spot. He promptly
hit into a rare 5-2-3 double play forcing the lead runner at the plate and
getting tossed out himself at (appropriately) 1Base.
If Davis(.270-BA, .370-OBP) had been hitting in Cabrera's spot instead of
Perez things might have turned out very different.
Even if Davis had hit the ball to exactly the same place Perez did, it's
likely his speed would have beaten the relay throw to 1Base to avoid the
double play and keep the bases loaded.
When Victor Martinez walked after the Perez DP to re-load the bases,
filling the sacks for a third time in the final two Tiger innings, Ausmus still
didn't use Holaday as a runner to try and foil a possible force play. This
time it didn't matter because Yoenis Cespedes struck-out swinging to end
The failure to stay-with-Davis mistake cost the Tigers the game.
It was a rookie manager mistake by second year boss Ausmus, making me
wonder if he's learned anything in his time on the Tiger job.
What made Billy Martin one of the most successful in-game managers ever
was his ability to make moves while thinking about their impact two and three
Ausmus doesn't appear to have the ability to make moves with the next inning
However, it doesn't matter what I think.
What matters is what the Tiger players think.
They all had the Monday off day to ponder a game that got away, in large part,
because of their their manager's mistake.
You have to wonder if the players, Miggy in particular, have lost a bit of
confidence in their skipper.
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