Welcome to the latest installment of Bless You Boys' attempt to track the general opinion towards Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. We run an approval poll about once a month, asking fans one simple question: Do you approve of the work Ausmus has done?
Leading up to Thursday's game, the Tigers had won seven straight and closed a four-game gap in the Wild Card race. After suffering a brutal double-walkoff day from the White Sox, the Tigers swept the Red Sox, then swept the Astros, and then took two of three games from the White Sox just this week. They currently sit at 59-49 on the season, and 15-10 since our last poll.
Their loss on Thursday ended their winning streak at seven games, and dropped them another game behind the Indians in the AL Central. However, as of this writing, the Tigers are still tied for a Wild Card spot (Boston will play late Thursday night), and they sit three games back in the division -- a margin that is easily surmountable with two months of baseball left to play.
The Tigers are certainly on the upswing, but when assessing your approval of the manager, it's important to ask how much of the current hot streak can be credited to management decisions. Certainly not all of it, the players are still the ones scoring the runs. But certainly not none of it, either -- the manager influences every game, even if only in small amounts.
The amount of credit given to the manager will vary from fan to fan, which might be the essence of this month's poll. The Tigers have been playing unquestionably sufficient baseball lately, the question is whether you believe they have been winning in spite of Ausmus, or in part because of him.
It should be noted that we don't intend to measure how you feel about Ausmus' performance over the past month, but rather what your general feelings are at this point in time.