The Detroit Tigers Need A Chip On Their Shoulder


Brad Ausmus joined Twitter this week, and aside from a teased online feud with Taylor Swift, the most important headline Ausmus provided, was a message to his team. The 45 year-old manager ended his absent streak on social media with a simple declaration.

“Day one message to the team… every pitch, every swing, and every play matters,” the tweet read.

Sure, Ausmus’ true account is the sixth result you find on Google, and just one above the “Sexy Ausmus” account, but the philosophy he is promoting is an important one for this team.

The 2015 iteration of the Detroit Tigers are fighting an “us against them” battle. While the national media continues to doubt the ability of this team, the players believe in themselves just as much as they ever have.

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To be fair, however, the doubt is not unprompted. The AL Central, on paper, is a much stronger division than it has been in quite a few years. The Royals are coming off a year in which they won the American League, the Indians are buoyed by a exceptional young pitching staff, and the White Sox have significantly improved their roster with free agent splashes, and big-name trades. Not to mention the Twins, who, in all likelihood will remain mediocre, but will certainly not lay down for anyone in this division.

Beyond that, the Tigers certainly have enough uncertainty to warrant apprehension. After their disappointing loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS, the Tigers’ front office did little to ease the worries of an uneasy fan-base, and less to convince the pundits that this team still has a stranglehold on this divison. Many of the familiar fan favorites, such as Max ScherzerTorii Hunter and Rick Porcello are wearing new uniforms, and even some of those faces which remain have left room for doubt.

Will Justin Verlander regain his former glory? Did Dave Dombrowski do enough to right this beleaguered bullpen? Only time will tell.

One thing is for certain, however. Until this unit proves them wrong, many outside the locker room will continue to voice their doubts. And for a core group that has faced little contention within their division, before faltering in the playoffs, that may be a good thing.

Look up and down the roster, and just about every name you point at belongs to a Detroit Tiger with something to prove. Take your pick. Verlander, Victor MartinezAlfredo SimonIan KrolJoe NathanJoba Chamberlain that is hardly short on players willing to prove that they can do their part to bring a championship to Detroit for the first time since 1984.

No player exemplifies that more than Chamberlain. The 29 year-old reliever who took less money to return to the Tigers for one reason.

“I left it all on the field and for me, I didn’t feel like I finished the season the way I wanted to, and we have unfinished business, and I personally do,” said Chamberlain.

Say what you want about the enigmatic reliever, but that is a far cry from the disinterested, disappointing statement that Prince Fielder gave after losing to Boston, the year before. In fact, that just may be what this organization needs to get over the hump.

As Ausmus said, every play matters, and that has never meant more to this team. In the waning years of their championship window, the Detroit Tigers needed this chip on their shoulder.

Next: Faster, V-Mart visits, bullpen nearly set