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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ausmus wins his first instant replay challenge, Tigers get two overturns

DETROIT — Brad Ausmus won his first challenge.

And just for good measure, he won another.

The Tigers manager hadn’t even seen one take place through the first three days of play in Major League Baseball — they didn’t have one in Monday’s Opener at Comerica Park — but he got to see two conclude successfully in Wednesday’s game.

“He won both challenges. I guess that’s because he went to Dartmouth,” joked Ian Kinsler, the hero of the contest, who provided the game-winning hit in the 10th inning.

Ausmus challenged a double play call in the sixth inning, contending that Tyler Collins beat out the relay throw to first base. The challenge took roughly three minutes from the time Ausmus stepped onto the field.

It ended up not meaning a whole lot, as Miguel Cabrera grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Victor Martinez struck out to end the inning.

“It’s almost awkward when you go out there. Normally, a manager would go out there and scream and yell, but it doesn’t make sense to go out there and scream and yell, if they know you have a challenge,” Ausmus said.

“So in essence, I’m really just taking my time getting out there, so I can get a determination from our video room whether to use the challenge. It’s a little awkward, because I get out there, and I don’t really have much to say.”

The Tigers got benefit of another replay overturn in the 10th inning.

Nori Aoki was ruled to have beaten out a swinging bunt, but review it showed that the throw from pitcher Al Alburquerque had beaten Aoki to the bag.

“Well, the one at the end of the game happened much quicker because now we’re past the seventh inning, where the umpires have the ability to check any play on video,” Ausmus said.

“Because we were successful on the first challenge, we had a remaining challenge, and we still had to use it, so after the seventh inning, even if there’s a 50-50 chance of getting it right, might as well use it, because the umpires can check it anyway.”

Aside from it being faster than expected the other part of the learning curve for the manager is to take visual cues from his players and coaches.

“Yeah, and I’ve spoken to (third base coach) Dave Clark and Omar (Vizquel at first base) about giving me a signal. On that first challenge, Omar was going like this (safe sign), and looking at me, which is pretty clear what he was trying to tell me,” Ausmus said.

“I’ve spoken to the players, as well, that if something happens on the field, or a call’s made that they completely disagree with, or they know is wrong, through their body language, they need to let me know. Because it’s tough to see a foot off the ground and at times 60 yards away from the play ... it’s tough.

“I think all managers are probably coming to the conclusion that they probably need a little bit of help on some of these angles.”

Are the players buying in, too?

“Obviously today, it worked out for us. They had two calls where they went back and looked at them, and got them right. I think everybody saw them on instant replay they got them right. Both tough calls. You can’t blame the guy at first. Naked-eye, when it’s going fast, it looks like he’s right on both of them,” said Joe Nathan, who was opposed to the system.

“Give credit to the way they’ve changed the game. I’ve always been a traditionalist, and I’m not going to go back and change my mind on this. Hopefully, as we go through this, it’ll get better and better, quicker and quicker. Being the first year, I think it’ll be a little bit slower than I think it’ll be once we get through this process.”


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