Not surprisingly, Brad Ausmus stayed away from specifics when asked after Sunday's disaster what he might have said to the Tigers. They had just been embarrassed, 6-2, in a game that would have been canceled in the second inning had baseball's standards and practices police gotten their way.
Nothing about his situation in 2014 has been clear or clearly explained. What we know is a superstar who has won three consecutive batting championships and who bashed 44 home runs in each of the past two seasons is today batting .300 with 17 home runs.
The Tigers not only have lost their grip on first place, they appear this weekend to have lost their status as a big-league team. That's the degree of deterioration and pitching chaos they have experienced during the past 24 hours at Minnesota.
Most times, the Tigers get their man. Tiger general manager Dave Dombrowski targets a pitcher or a hitter in July and figures out a way to bag his trophy. Friday, they lost.
The Tigers are finalists in the Rusney Castillo sweepstakes, according to information posted Wednesday on Twitter by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com.
It was assumed a team's psyches would be more like battlefield corpses. The Tigers have been slumping horribly and inexplicably since the All-Star break, and their bullpen has been battered and reviled.
Never in memory has a sports team from Detroit been in first place for so long and performed in such a fan-infuriating manner, a condition that didn't improve Saturday after the Tigers blew a lead in the ninth, ruined Max Scherzer's eight innings of artwork, and eventually lost in 10 innings, 3-2, to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Price did his job. Marvelously, so. He pitched Tuesday night on a par with the extraordinary artist and left-handed starter he is, and for so many years has been, long before he joined the Tigers in last Thursday's thunderous deadline trade.
Four months after he managed his first big-league game, Brad Ausmus can be looked at almost as a non-factor in the Tigers' 2014 season. That, by the way, is a good thing.
The Tigers understood two realities Thursday when they replaced the Richter scale with the Dombrowski scale as a new means for measuring seismic activity, at least in terms of big-league baseball transactions.
Lynn Henning joined The Detroit News sports staff in 1979 after 3½ years as a sports writer and columnist for the Lansing State Journal. A lifelong Michigan native (St. Johns) and a 1974 journalism graduate from Michigan State, Henning has specialized through the years in covering baseball, as well as Michigan and Michigan State, Lions and Red Wings, and in writing about the outdoors. Henning spent seven years during the 1990s as editor of PGA Magazine and as a writer for the national weekly, Golfweek.
- Lynn can be reached at email@example.com.
Lynn Henning's favorites:Favorite movie: Fargo
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