Sensitive to criticism of AL Central? Ausmus: 'I really don't care'
DETROIT — The criticism is always there.
It’s there when people and pundits assume it will be easy for the Detroit Tigers — masters of the American League Central for three straight years — to push their streak to four.
And it’s there to add scorn on top of the heap when the Tigers don’t necessarily always run away with it, as they currently appear to be.
“It’s a weak division.”
Coming into Friday’s play, the AL Central was the only division in Major League Baseball with just one team over .500. (The White Sox came in right at .500, with an 18-18 record so far.)
In fact, only the National League Central had as few as two teams with winning records.
Former manager Jim Leyland always got sensitive when the topic was brought up.
His successor does not.
“I didn’t notice it, and I really don’t care. Doesn’t bother me what people say. Our goal is the same, whether people think it’s a good division or a bad division. The goal is to win the division,” Brad Ausmus said.
“In 1997, the Houston Astros played in what was deemed a bad division. I think we won the division with 84 wins. Still won the division. Didn’t make it any less fun winning the division.”
The Astros had the 10th-best winning percentage that season.
The Tigers, for reference, have the best record in baseball, coming into Friday’s games (.667, 20-10). More than half those wins (11) came against AL Central teams, a small slice of the reason that the other teams are .500 or worse.
And factor in this, as well: Teams in the AL Central have the third-best winning percentage (.512, 40-38) against teams from other divisions in baseball. Only the NL East (.550) and the AL East (.520) rank higher, the latter only because of an 0-3 day by AL Central teams.
(hat tip to Chris Creamer for the
Records against other divisions:
(Heading into Friday’s games)
NL East.......44-36..... .550
AL East.......38-35..... .520
AL Central...40-38..... .512
NL West......38-37..... .506
AL West......39-35..... .453
NL Central...25-33..... .431