We have polled the fans on their approval of Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus each month this season, and nearly every result has set a new record for an all-time low. Our last poll was no exception, with Ausmus registering a paltry 18 percent approval after a recent 2-6 stretch had many fans warming to the idea of selling at the trade deadline. That figure stands in stark contrast to the results of our first poll of the season, where Ausmus received 92 percent approval as the Tigers sat on a shiny 8-1 record.
Since our last poll, the Tigers have won 14 games and lost 23, a record that may actually sound pretty nice to those that have been paying attention to the 1-9 streak that may or may not be ongoing. They’ve dropped to 10 games under .500 for the first time since many years ago, when a song that seems horrible now was topping the charts. I’m not going to look it up because that’s just depressing. It was undoubtedly a year with two zeroes in the middle.
However, no one could argue that Ausmus should be leading the Tigers to the playoffs with the roster he currently has at his disposal -- since that poll the Tigers lost a staggering amount of talent. David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria were traded away at the end of July, and more recently, Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris were placed on the disabled list with various arm ouchies. Alex Wilson has also been dealing with a nagging injury, leaving the Tigers with exactly one above-average pitcher -- Justin Verlander, ironically the guy that many worried would never be above average again, has been stellar recently. Those pitching woes, combined with terrible slumps from several hitters, such as -- actually, we’ll need a table for this:
|Last 30 days||BA||OBP||SLG||wRC+|
-- have made winning all but impossible. Surely some will claim that one of the responsibilities of a manager is to ensure that the majority of his lineup doesn’t fall into a long slump at the same time, but injuries are out of Ausmus’ control. Even if the Tigers were scoring runs at a normal rate, they would still be working with a rotation that includes four pitchers that, at best, can be described as a "fifth starter," and that’s not Ausmus’ fault.
On the other hand, the results are the results, and the results are ugly. Miguel Cabrera is (once again) hitting like few have ever hit, J.D. Martinez is still J.D. Martinezing baseballs all over the place, and Justin Verlander has returned to look like one of the best right-handed pitchers in baseball. Yet, the team continues to lose. Even with the recent loss of talent, the Tigers continue to underperform and disappoint. How much blame do you give to Ausmus?