Several times during his shortened time on the job, Brad Ausmus has looked like a soothsayer. He may have never looked more brilliant, however, than when presenting his theory on rest and fatigue for a ball-club.
Entering this week's Central Division road series with the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers were delayed flying back to the Midwest on Monday after playing on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball thanks to plane troubles. While most would consider Monday's game to be the hardest to play given the short turnaround, the manager saw things a bit differently.
As was discussed on Fox Sports Detroit's broadcast Tuesday night, Ausmus himself knew that most of the danger would come in Tuesday's game against the Indians. Monday's game, he figured, would go off as planned thanks in part to adrenaline playing a role. Tuesday, however, would be when the Tigers would begin to feel the effects of travel difficulties and a lack of sleep.
Neither Justin Verlander nor the rest of his teammates will be tempted to call Ausmus a liar or doubt his assumptions. After scrapping hard on Monday night but coming up just short in extra innings, the Tigers fell flat hardest on Tuesday, sleepwalking through a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Cleveland, who looked as rested and ready as Detroit appeared weary.
After the game, Ausmus commented that he didn't expect to do anything dramatic with the lineup despite Wednesday afternoon's affair which would present a fresh challenge, but would give players rest who seemed to need it.
As a former player who only recently retired, it's likely only Ausmus himself could have envisioned such a scenario playing out for his team. The rigors of the road can be unrelenting, but a major silver lining is having Ausmus to steady the ship given he knows about impending disaster.
How Ausmus actually juggles the lineup both Wednesday and Thursday—back to back matinees'—will say plenty about him as a manager. For now, though, another one of his baseball theories proved correct.
As a player, Ausmus might not have batted .300, but early on as a manager, he's been hitting above that high water mark on several occasions.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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