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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Replay hasn't reduced umpire arguments, manager ejections — just ask Tigers' Brad Ausmus


The assumption, naturally, was that the implementation of expanded instant replay would put to bed the old — and amusing — occurrence of Major League Baseball managers giving an earful to umpires, before getting ejected.

The numbers, however, have not borne out that theory.

In fact, the ejection numbers — including the second ejection of the season for Brad Ausmus Saturday evening — are up from a year ago.

“Someone said there’s actually been more ejections of managers this year than in the past,” Ausmus said last week. “I don’t know if that’s changed since that was brought up, but I was shocked by that.”

It hasn’t.

According to tracking by Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, Ausmus’ was the 134th ejection of the season, and the 60th time a manager got heaved.

On the same date in 2013, there had been 104 ejections, including 52 managers. In 2012, there were 99 total ejections, 49 of managers.

So, clearly, there’s not a correlation between replay getting more calls right, and managers arguing with umpires about missed calls.

Managers’ forays onto the field have become more civil, for the most part, and that’s fine. Often, they’re chatting with umpires while stalling for time to find out if they should or should not challenge.

“Yeah, I don’t mind it. It’s definitely more civil. It’s definitely hard to go out and start screaming at an umpire when all you have to do is say ‘Hey, take a look at it,’” Ausmus said. “You can’t generally make it personal. I can’t call the umpire a name, so to speak, a flowery name. That’s about it. You don’t want to make it personal. Or I don’t, anyway.

“Once that game is over, the general rule is it’s over. You don’t bring it back the next day, or bring it up again. Generally, you don’t go out and exchange lineup cards, and tell the home plate umpire he was awful the night before.”

Ausmus was not very civil Saturday night, when he stormed onto the field after replay overturned a call on the field in the top of the third inning. Umpire Jim Joyce — he of the infamous blown call in the Armando Galarraga near-perfect game — initially ruled that Tigers baserunner Eugenio Suarez had gotten back to first base safely on a pickoff attempt.

Replay overturned the call, purportedly showing that Suarez had been tagged out before reaching the base.

Ausmus, who came charging out of the dugout with a card in hand, appeared to be incensed that the replay had been allowed after the batter, Austin Jackson, had stepped back in the batter’s box, and Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker had stepped back on the pitching rubber.

By rule, it is not supposed to be reviewed after the next play has started, like the NFL’s version of replay.

In his postgame press conference, carried on Fox Sports Detroit, Ausmus said that Joyce had told him that the review was crew-chief-initiated (Joyce was the crew chief), meaning that the timing was irrelevant. The play, however, was not going to be reviewed until Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out on the field to question that call, so that seems a hollow argument.

"The umpires have discretion to initiate the review on their own, but clearly they didn't initiate the review," Ausmus said.

And Joyce himself told reporters that it was indeed a manager-initiated challenge (see tweets below).

Ausmus’ only other ejection as a manager — he recalls having 10 or so ejections as a player in a 19-year career — came on May 21, after star Miguel Cabrera had been tossed.

“Clearly the umpire was wrong and I was right,” Ausmus joked. “It was a check-swing call on Miguel Cabrera. Miggy started talking to the umpire (Tim Timmons), and he got tossed before I got out there.”


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tigers try to avoid a series sweep vs. Indians in Sunday's finale


The Tigers lost both ends of Saturday's doubleheader, extending their losing streak to four games, and are trying to stave of a series sweep in Sunday's finale (1:08 p.m./FSD) before heading off to Arizona.

DETROIT TIGERS (53-41):
Austin Jackson, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
J.D. Martinez, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Drew Smyly, LHP (4-8, 4.00 ERA)

CLEVELAND INDIANS (50-47):
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Michael Brantley, CF
Carlos Santana, 1B
Ryan Raburn, LF
Nick Swisher, DH
Yan Gomes, C
David Murphy, RF
Mike Aviles, 3B

Pitcher: Josh Tomlin, RHP (5-6, 4.21 ERA)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tigers lineup for Game 2 of doubleheader vs. Indians


The Tigers have dropped three straight, including the last game before the break, and go into the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader with their divisional lead down to 5 1/2 games.

Victor Martinez will indeed start both games of the doubleheader at designated hitter.

DETROIT TIGERS (53-40):
Austin Jackson, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Don Kelly, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Max Scherzer, RHP (11-3, 3.35 ERA)

CLEVELAND INDIANS (49-47):
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Mike Aviles, SS
Michael Brantley, CF
Carlos Santana, DH
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Nick Swisher, 1B
David Murphy, RF
Roberto Perez, C
Chris Dickerson, LF

Pitcher: Zach McAllister, RHP (3-5, 5.63 ERA)

Tigers lineup for Game 1 of doubleheader vs. Indians


The Tigers came into Saturday's doubleheader needing an arm for the bullpen, so they brought Corey Knebel back up.

Drew VerHagen was called up as the 26th man, and got the start in the first game.

Victor Martinez was in the starting lineup for the second straight game, after missing 11 of 13 to finish out the first half of the season, but manager Brad Ausmus was unsure he'd play Martinez in both games of the doubleheader.

"That won’t be decided until after the first game. Let’s see how it goes," Ausmus said Saturday morning.

DETROIT TIGERS (53-39)
Austin Jackson, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
JD Martinez, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Eugenio Suarez, SS
Bryan Holaday, C
Rajai Davis, LF

Pitcher: Drew VerHagen, RHP (MLB debut)

CLEVELAND INDIANS (48-47)
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Michael Brantley, CF
Carlos Santana, 1B
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Nick Swisher, DH
Yan Gomes, C
David Murphy, RF
Ryan Raburn, LF

Pitcher: Corey Kluber, RHP (9-6, 3.01 ERA)

Tigers option Smith to Toledo, call up Knebel prior to doubleheader


DETROIT — The Tigers got reinforcements for their bullpen prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, recalling Corey Knebel, and sending down Chad Smith.

The team had already used its 26th-man exception to bring up their Game 1 starter, Drew VerHagen, so adding another arm required them to drop someone, and Smith threw 37 pitches in Friday’s loss. In all, the Tigers used five relievers in the final three innings Friday.

To get VerHagen on the 40-man roster, the Tigers cleared room by moving Joel Hanrahan to the 60-day disabled list.

Knebel was up earlier in the season, so was already on the 40-man roster.

Friday, July 18, 2014

VMart opens 2nd half, back in Tigers lineup for first time since July 4


Victor Martinez missed the final eight games of the first half for the Tigers, and 11 of the final 13 before the break, but he's back in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Cleveland Indians. It's his first game action since he left the July 4 game with recurring soreness in his side.

DETROIT TIGERS
Austin Jackson, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez, RHP

NOTES: It's Motown Night, so the national anthem will be sung by the Four Tops, while one of the group's members, Duke Fakir, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Sgt. Ryan Roush (Republic, Ohio) of the U.S. Marine Corps will deliver the game ball.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Porcello will pay (or at least donate) for #PickRick votes


With one more day to go in the Final Vote, Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello has announced that he'll donate $0.21 for every vote he receives (up to 100,000 votes) in Thursday's Twitter balloting.

Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (EDT) Thursday, every use of the #PickRick hashtag will count as one vote, earning a contribution from Porcello for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Porcello has been steadily running in third place in the online voting for the first two days of the Final Vote, behind Chicago's Chris Sale and the Angels' Garrett Richards, but ahead of Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Houston's Dallas Keuchel.