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Detroit Tigers links: Brad Ausmus is an enigma

One day, Brad Ausmus doesn't believe in bullpen roles. The next, he can't find his starting pitcher. What do we make of the Tigers' manager?

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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