The start to the 2016 season has not been one for Detroit Tigers fans & players to remember or want to emulate going forward. However, on Monday night, even though the team gave up an 8-run lead by the 7th inning after getting out to an 8-0 lead in the first inning, the team showed some life, & manager Brad Ausmus finally let out his frustration after the constant scrutiny he has been under regarding his job and job he has done as manager.
Nothing like the Minnesota Twins coming to down to just let it all out on, both in a good or bad way. The team chased young pitcher Jose Barrios after scoring 8 runs in 0.2 of the first inning, & it looked like it was going to be a cruise to an easy victory. Au Contraire, fellow Detroit Tigers fans, au contraire indeed.
Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann had his worst outing since becoming a Detroit Tiger in the offseason, giving up 7 earned runs over 7 innings, but, with the state of the game & the way the team has been going through their bullpen after the rough series in Baltimore, the pen needed a rest. Zimmermann did get the victory, though, to move his record to 6-2 on the season. The bats came alive for the Tigers has everyone in the lineup except V-Mart had a hit on the night & J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler & Nick Castellanos had HRs for the Tigers, who have now won two-in-a-row.
What fans will truly remember could be a major turning point in the season. Brad Ausmus, after arguing balls & strikes at the end of the fourth inning, got in the umpire’s face & was predictably ejected. However, Ausmus then proceeded to take off his sweatshirt & lay it down on the home plate. Totally a great rant & one that reminded us of something that would have been seen in the 70s, 80s or 90s when it seemed as though epic rants were happening almost every night.
This is what the fans have been waiting for from Ausmus. This is what Tigers fans needed to see from this team that is so full of talent its ridiculous. If you watch ESPN or listen to 97.1 The Ticket or Detroit Sports 105.1, everyone has been calling for Ausmus to be released as Tigers manager since the end of last season. Mike Ilitch has stuck with Brad & quite possibly, this could be the moment that shows that the move paid off.
The team needed some kind of spark to get going, & while most people always look at the first quarter of the season to judge where a team is at & if they are going to be a team that is going to be in contention the rest of the year, Monday night was a night that showed this team does have a passion to win & has the ability to overcome their shortcomings, which this season, has been the pitching, with the exception of Justin Verlander & Jordan Zimmermann.
We will see where things go, especially on Tuesday night, as the team has a favorable matchup going against Phil Hughes, who has struggled as bad, if not worse than our starter, Mike Pelfrey. If this team is going to go somewhere, & even think of challenging the White Sox in the AL Central, this is a game & series the Tigers have to win & possibly put themselves in position for a sweep.
Until then, we hope the umpire enjoyed the lovely parting gift Ausmus left for him on home plate, along with the choice words about balls & strikes.