(“I got this”)
The scorching hot Mariners roll into the D tonight, winners of 4 in a row and 8 out of their last 10. In fact, the Mariners are 9-3 in the Austin Jackson era, and he recently accounted for all 4 RBIs in a 4-2 Mariners win.
The Tigers counter with an impressive streak of their own, having won 2 in a row, 2 out of their last 6, and 3 out of their last 9.
What looked like an innocuous Austin Jackson returns series a few weeks ago (and should have been), is now a crucial one, as the Tigers maintain a scant .5 game lead on the Mariners for the do or die playoff spot. In fact, every game from here on out is going to be critical since the Tigers, well, you know, aren’t in first place.
There was a lot of buzz yesterday surrounding the fans booing Joe Nathan after Nathan walked the first two batters he saw on Wednesday night. I think the easiest way to appease everyone but Joe Nathan would be to release Joe Nathan, but I don’t think that is going to happen.
Nathan did not take kindly to the booing, as he Corleone-d a fan or the fans in general on his way off the mound after closing out the game. Nathan apologized Thurs morning, but I find his chin flick to be immature and indicative of a lack of focus and confidence.
Victor Martinez commented liberally on the boos after the game on Wednesday. I only heard Dan D’s recap of Martinez’s comments, but it sounded like Victor was disappointed, though understanding of the fans’ reaction. Victor, in case you haven’t figured it out, the fans are incredibly disappointed and are not understanding of the team’s sub.500 performance over the past 3 months.
I firmly believe that paying the price of admission gives any fan the right to cheer or boo, in a reasonable manner. Athletes, like CEOs, celebrities, and public figures, are well compensated (in pay or power), and absorbing frustration from constituents is part of the job. I applaud the fans that gave Nathan what he deserved, and only hope that they booed Ausmus as well. Neither have been performing to an acceptable level as of late and that type of reaction is warranted. When players and the team perform well, we cheer.
Praise needs to be earned. The players shouldn’t be surprised by the boos given the struggles over the past three months. Expectations are high because, on paper, this is the most talented team in the Majors. By a long shot. We have the past three Cy Young winners and Miguel Cabrera for goodness’ sake. Ausmus should be able to win with this team, no matter who he has in the bullpen. Other managers have made lesser bullpens look much better.
The whole team needs to look out into that sold out stadium tonight and realize that playing for such loyal and passionate fans is a blessing. They need to look at each other and recognize that playing with the teammates, and for an owner like Mr. Ilitch, is an opportunity. At the professional level, oftentimes the difference between winning and losing is effort. Not talent, not circumstance, but effort. If this team goes out and gives all the effort they have, they’ll get all the cheering they want.
– Grantland recently rated Ausmus 25th out of 30 in a “manager meddling index.”
– Tigers lost 2/3 in Seattled May 30 – June 1
Baseball-Reference Game Preview here: