Ausmus: 'I don't subscribe to the theory that we are out of it'
Detroit — Brad Ausmus wouldn't discuss the team meeting that transpired before the game Tuesday.
But, while the front office may or may not be trying to determine the prudence of prematurely waiving the white flag, it is clear that Ausmus or the players have no intention of doing so.
"We are four games out of a wild-card spot, I wouldn't say we are falling out of the race," Ausmus said. "I am disappointed in our record, no question. But I don't subscribe to the theory that we are out of it. Four games out of a playoff spot is far from out of it."
Ausmus said he was certain that nobody in the clubhouse had conceded anything.
"If you ask each one of these guys, they will tell you they enjoy playing together and they enjoy playing in Detroit and each and every one would say they don't want to leave," he said. "They like their teammates and they like the team.
"The record isn't what they wanted but I'd be willing to bet they will tell you, if given the opportunity to play the next two months together, this team will end up where it's supposed to be — a winning team."
President and general manager Dave Dombrowski has not conceded anything either, Ausmus said.
"I talk to Dave every day," he said. "He still believes in this team, too. He put together a team for 162 games. You don't put together a team for two-thirds of a season. You look at what guys have done. You look at track records and their resume somewhat dictates what the season will be.
"You plan for a six-month season, it's as simple as that. We are two-thirds of the way through a six-month season."
Again, Ausmus would not disclose what the team meeting was about or discuss any aspect of it. But it seems like a safe assumption that the recent spate of trade rumors were mentioned.
"Everyone wants it to be a big story because the Tigers have been so successful and now we are at .500 with the trade deadline looking," Ausmus said. "It's a big story to say the Tigers are sellers. But I don't consider a team four games out of the playoffs to be sellers."
Ausmus was asked how much he held himself accountable for the team's struggles.
"I'm in charge of the team so absolutely it falls on me," he said. "When I say I am disappointed in our record, I am. But I am not disappointed in the effort of the players. The effort is there, and that includes the coaching staff.
"But I will take the blame for it because of what my job title is. But I still firmly believe it's a six-month season and in the end our record will be what it's supposed to be."
Ausmus was asked directly if he thinks the Tigers will make the playoffs.
"I'm not Joe Namath," he said. "But I come to the field every day expecting to win today. We will tally them up at the end."
The Tigers are 9.5 games behind AL Central leading Kansas City and four games out of the second wild-card spot.
"There is a distinction, for sure," Ausmus said. "You'd rather play a five-game series than a one-game playoff. But it's still a playoff spot. You'd much rather win the division, but we want to get into the dance any way we can."
Around the horn
Shortstop Jose Iglesias was a late scratch Tuesday. Ausmus said he has been battling a sinus infection the last two days. Andrew Romine replaced him in the starting lineup, though Iglesias would be available to pinch hit or play defensively in the late innings if needed.
… James McCann was named the Tigers 2015 Heart and Hustle Award winner. The award, given by the players' association through a vote of former players, honors players who show passion for the game and, "best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."