Set points: Ausmus calls his shot and misses

Brad Ausmus went for it and lost.

Not the replay challenge. The pinch-runner.

It’s a move he’s admittedly reluctant to do, pinch-running for Miguel Cabrera and risking the loss of his best hitter in extra innings. Yet as Cabrera tossed his bat towards the dugout and trotted to first base on his leadoff walk in the ninth, it’s a move Ausmus was willing to make.

He had done it in the past. He ran Ezequiel Carrera for Cabrera in the ninth inning last Sept. 16 at Minnesota in what was then a 2-0 deficit, Cabrera representing the tying run. J.D. Martinez’s homer off Glen Perkins put Detroit in front before the Twins scored twice off Joe Nathan in the bottom of the inning to win it. He did something similar Sept. 2 after Cabrera singled, and J.D. Martinez homered there, too.

At that point, however, Cabrera was running on a hobbled ankle. He has had no such problems lately.

“You don’t want to remove your best hitter from the lineup,” Brad Ausmus said, “but it’s the bottom of the ninth. Raj is a significantly faster runner than Miggy, so you hope you can win it right there with Raj. It didn’t work out this time, but to me it’s a move you have to make at that point in the game.”

Davis had been warming his legs up in the Tigers dugout since well before the game resumed from its 1-hour, 43-minute rain delay, so Ausmus seemingly had the move in mind. Davis took first base with a perfect 6-for-6 record stealing bases against the Royals and catcher Salvador Perez since joining the Tigers last year. Perez hasn’t thrown out Davis since July 3, 2012.

Davis had the green light, but didn’t go on either of the first two pitches from Jason Frasor before Victor Martinez singled through the left side against the infield shift. Once Davis got to second base, he got the stop sign.

“Once he was at second with Victor at first, it becomes a little more difficult to steal,” Ausmus said. “First of all, it’s a little more difficult to steal third. But secondly, if he gets caught and Victor goes as well, now you end up with Victor on second, who probably can’t score on a single. I just felt like Raj could score on a single, he’s in scoring position, so at that point I held him up, hoping for a single.”

He didn’t get it. Jason Frasor retired Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Martinez on popouts. Davis did get to third when Nick Castellanos drew a two-out walk, but Frasor retired James McCann to send the game into extra innings.

Perez took over at first base batting in Cabrera’s spot, which was due up fourth in the 10th inning. Andrew Romine’s single and back-to-back walks from Greg Holland to Anthony Gose and Ian Kinsler made it a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity.

Perez was vastly different protection in the lineup for Kinsler. However, Ausmus had Kinsler trying to bunt the runners over.

“We’re down one run. It’s first and second,” Ausmus said. “If he gets the bunt down, the winning run is now in scoring position.”

It was a bizarre scene, Kinsler trying to lay down a bunt, Holland not throwing him enough strikes to try, instead walking him on five pitches. Intent or not, it set up an out at every base for Perez, whose ground ball to third thus produced a crushing double play, and a rubber-game victory for Kansas City to hold onto the division lead and end a closely played series.

What went right: Shane Greene shook off his recent doldrums and delivered the kind of outing that reminded people how he can quiet a lineup without a high-strikeout performance. His eight innings of one-run ball Sunday including 15 consecutive batters retired from the second inning through the sixth, and 10 consecutive groundouts. “Just threw strikes, changed speeds,” Greene said. “They swing early and often, and I knew that going into it. So I knew if I made my pitches, I could be out there for a long time.” … Also, the Tigers running game gave Salvador Perez fits.

What went wrong: After seemingly settling into his old form for a couple starts, Anibal Sanchez struggled once again, this time against an aggressive-hitting Royals lineup. So did David Price, who gave up a career-high 13 hits to Kansas City before a slight hamstring strain pretty well knocked him out of Friday’s series opener.

30 Comments

The ball did not hit him. It was crystal clear.
Bunting with Hernán coming up? It was just the 10th AB for Pérez this season
Cespedes failed twice in two innings when it matters. Not the first time this season

Actually, it was his 19th AB. Not that it makes much difference. Perez with any number of ABs isn’t close to comparable to Miggy.

Thanks.The ESPN in español crew said 10. I did not bother to check. It was pass midnight

The pitchers were risking an injury on the mound. Adding some sand could help. Neither “HBP” nor wild pitch with mound in a better condition before restarting the game

Uhg, brutal game. So many positives, but can’t get the ‘W”. Tigers should have won it in the ninth, but wasted opportunities definitely lead to defeat. This team just needs to put it all together. Get good hitting at the same time they’re getting good pitching.

1. The Kinsler defensive play on Cain.
2. Green finally back in the money.
3. Never out of the game.
This team is so dysfunctional right now. And it is so in need of a lefty power hitter. Lot’s of potential talent from top to bottom, but truly missing a big bat from the left.
Holland came in and offered us the opportunity to tie and win, but we politely said, “no thank you”. How do you not score with bases loaded and no outs; watch our game replays; you’ll see that it’s becoming a common theme. Miggy is not hitting at his dependable stride right now, but to pull him and then waste the true talent of the pinch runner, is a bonehead call. Brad gets outcoached again. Green shows up and his reward is no support. We do the Rangers a service by forcing Frasor and Holland to throw 30 pitch endings, but do nothing for ourselves.
We will be in a lot of games like this one; defense is so much improved, but unless 4-6 return to the norm in their performances, we are doomed to repeat as Central champs. DD’s next big trade might very well be his last as Tiger GM. Stay tuned. Finally, how about those pesky Twinks? That’s why baseball will always be the champion of sports competition.

I also figured out well bases loaded no one out Tigers can tie it . If you tie it you can win it . Perez show up at the plate and we have a blown chance to score.
The better manager won this game . Another game that should have been won .

30 pitch innings. Tiger fans are easy to spot.

Top of the 10th. Did he wanted to keep his challenge for the bottom of the 10th?

Thank goodness I fell asleep. Woke up at 6 am, checked the score and laid back down. Oh, win it for the mothers. I’m furious.

Miggy leads off the 9th. You kind of expect you would have already won the game if his spot came around again the very next inning. Like I said last night, bizarre. Perez is basically on the big club to protect him from being claimed on waivers. He should have tried to work a walk and be the hero in that fashion. Mound conditions were terrible.
It was doubtful we would have won a game of attrition with our pen against theirs.
I’d like to see smarter ABs from nearly everybody.
The pitch did hit Gordon’s jersey. The behind the mound replay angle was illusory.
The ESPN crew isn’t near as irritating as the Fox1 guys. Oddly FSD only did one of the games.

I can’t believe anybody is calling Ned Yost the better manager over anybody. What a difference several months make. More dripping irony here than in an iron works factory.
What did they have, ten chances to get the job done and nobody came through? Blaming managers and coaches is the easy way out.

I’d take Ned over Brad. 🙂

Brad has mad some very poor decisions in his tenure thus far. I guess that is to be expected but I must admit–I thought he would be far more creative as a manager than he has exhibited to this point. Is the stubborness a vestige of the Leyland era? It seems when he gets stubborn it generally backfires.
The Kinsler at bat is a good example of that. Kinsler is one of the few hitters on this team that doesn’t tense up in clutch situations. To have him bunting is an easy out only to be followed by another easy out in the presence of Perez. Did not make sense.
Ian can stay out of the DP with the best of them. Why bunt when a lousy single does the job?
More importantly as to Brad’s managing—these guys don’t believe. They don’t have faith in themselves and each other. Say what you will about Yost–the Royals have a team that has develped that very important ingredient.

I’d rather not have a team that gets into fights like a bunch of schoolyard kids. The early decade Tigers did that and I was happy when DD swept them away.
The Tigers aren’t healthy, plain and simple. I can’t draw conclusions until they get some healthy regulars back in there.

I agreed. Albeit, KC’s fights and their belief in their manager’s ability to give their team an edge over the opposition, are two different topics, entirely.

Leyland might have not coached the way Tom, Dick and Harry wanted him to; but dangit he DID win a whole lot and had the respect of the players.

Lost in the fog: Cespedes was the last out and had a pop out with two on, no outs in the 9th. So much for the game changer

Kinsler, late and close:
375 .444 .438 .882

Yeah, Cespedes has been a bit of a let down with his wild all or nothing swinging sometimes. Both he and Casty seem to take hanging sliders and fastballs down the middle and then go after the sh!t in the dirt. Somebody pointed out the lack of LHB firepower. We actually never had it to begin with but it is sure evident now with Victor struggling and Avila (for what it was worth) out.
I have thought for some time now that they really needed a big LHB in the OF. Kind of srurprised they went for Cespedes as he just added another bat like Casty and JD.
I’m sure we will have some periods where we see him at his best but in retrospect….

Andrew Romine has been great filling in for Iglesias. He deserves a shot as a starter when Iglesias returns, perhaps at 3rd base. Castellanos is mediocre at best in both fielding and batting, with little improvement seen.

NEVER take Miggy out of a game unless he is injured. He is paid quite well to play, he wants to play, and the fans pay to see him play. I am not just saying all this because we lost the game.

well. it took an off day. but i’ve definetly turned the page. bring on the twins! I have a twins pal who will come watch the game with me, so eat ’em up, tigers!

I didn’t like the move if Rajai didn’t steal. However I blame this lackluster offense who had numerous opportunities to drive the run if not runs in. That ticks me off beyond belief. Unacceptable.

Tigers getting the big hit: 11-2
Not getting it: 8-11
Simple game.

Wow! Ausmus, Perez, JD and Nick getting talked about like dogs all over Tiger Nation. Tigers need to win some games to shut everyone up.

*wags tail*

Tigers will be fine. Close games are lost and won all the time. It’s a long long season.

As I once told Lynn Henning, Tiger fans are actually an organized, professional enforcement unit.
They’re on pace to win 96 games and haven’t had their full team yet.
I suspect there are sports fans (football, hockey, whatever) who know little about baseball, but it doesn’t shut them up.

We can’t blame it on the weather any more, either. They got their warm weather and didn’t do much. Maybe they should have hung on to Don Kelly for 1 more year. He could play every position decently, run and could actually throw the ball across the diamond.

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