Brad Ausmus has received more than his fair share of criticism since becoming the Detroit Tigers' manager in 2014. He failed to turn a subpar bullpen into anything better last season, and he has been hesitant to shuffle his lineup at times this season. Many of the things he is being blamed for are based on preconceived expectations that he was going to be a sabermetric savant, when 99 percent of managers are making the same decisions elsewhere in baseball. Even this weekend, Ausmus said that he doesn't believe in bullpen roles, which is a step in the right direction towards a more fluid and statistically-based usage pattern.
But there have been a lot of red flags, particularly in the last week. On Sunday, Ausmus lost track of starter David Price, who thought he was done with his outing, resulting in an unnecessary (but effective) call to the bullpen. On Friday, Ausmus and his staff failed to challenge a play in the second inning despite Ian Kinsler's attempts to get his skipper's attention. On Thursday, Ausmus' decision to pinch run for Victor Martinez resulted in Josh Wilson looking helpless at the plate against White Sox closer David Robertson as the game-tying run stood on third base.
I'm not anywhere close to advocating for a managerial change, but the types of mistakes that Ausmus has made in the past week are concerning. Players making mental mistakes on the field can be forgiven, but for a manager, I think that these types of decisions -- particularly the miscommunication with Price on Sunday -- deserve much more scorn, especially if they continue later into the year.
Cleveland Indians get shut out in both games of doubleheader for first time in 40 years - Let's Go Tribe, Jason Lukehart
"Today is the day that brought me to the point of no longer believing the Indians have a shot at making the postseason ... there is nothing about this team that says "contender" to me anymore."
Tigers 5, White Sox 4: Robin Ventura hangs Shark out to dry - South Side Sox, Jim Margalus
Brad Ausmus isn't the only manager taking heat for his decisions this week.
Steven Matz's grandfather is the greatest Mets fan ever - Amazin' Avenue, Eric Simon
Mets pitcher Steven Matz set a record with four RBI in his major league debut, but his grandpa stole the show on Sunday.
Robinson Cano, fickleness and declining greatness - Lookout Landing, Nathan Bishop
We may be worried about Miguel Cabrera's contract in a few years, but at least he hasn't gone the way of Robinson Cano already.
Would you rather have Xander Bogaerts or Jose Iglesias at shortstop? - The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo
Jose Iglesias is performing just as well as Boston's Xander Bogaerts this year, one of the top prospects in baseball during his rise through the minor leagues.
MLB moves to new HR Derby format, showcasing brackets, timed rounds - ESPN
I'm still not sure how I feel about this, but with Giancarlo Stanton not likely to participate, I'm disappointed either way.