The Detroit Tigers may have put the rumors to bed by announcing Brad Ausmus will remain the Tigers manager in 2016, but he still found himself at the center of controversy once again on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, left-hander Daniel Norris threw 54 pitches in the first inning as he tried to work around two errors in the field. Norris also started the second inning before Ausmus yanked him after 71 total pitches.
Some didn’t blink an eye for Norris’ amount of pitches, but other parts of social media went absolutely berserk. There was a column arguing against the decision from MLive.com, The Detroit Free Press and Sports Illustrated.
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Ausmus’ decision received so much press it is almost surprising there was any other coverage for the Tigers Wednesday. But there was a story on improving the Tigers base running this offseason.
"When asked for his response about the outcry over Norris’ 54-pitch inning, Ausmus told reporters before Wednesday’s game that he didn’t have one — before directing what appeared to be a snippy shot at those questioning the move.“They have a lot less than knowledge of Daniel Norris and baseball than I do,” Ausmus said. “So I’m not really concerned about it.”Ausmus’ response may not sit well with critics who believe Norris’ health was put in jeopardy with such a strenuous workload Tuesday night."
"“The last guy he got out probably would have been the last guy had he not retired him,” Ausmus said. “It’s tough because we want to get his pitch count up so his next start he can throw more pitches but we also don’t want to expend himself in one inning.”Still, when Norris took the mound in the second, social media lit up with baseball fans and writers not believing their eyes."
"Of the 18 pitchers who have thrown 50 or more pitches in an inning over the last seven seasons, only one was as young as Norris, though interestingly, he was as highly regarded as a prospect. That was Shelby Miller, who threw 51 pitches in the second inning of the Cardinals’ 6–1 loss to the A’s on June 27, 2013. Miller had pitched a 1-2-3 first inning in that game and got two outs around three hits and two runs to start the second, but he just couldn’t get out of the inning. After the second out, he went to a full count on each of the next three batters, throwing 21 pitches and giving up two walks and a two-RBI single. He then got ahead of Jed Lowrie 1–2, only to give up an RBI double. And what happened next? Miller was removed from the game. Belatedly, yes, but after being pushed to the limit, Miller wasn’t asked to continue pitching, unlike all four of the pitchers Ausmus has pushed to the 50-pitch mark in a single inning."
"This is among the points of emphasis Ausmus will bring to spring training in February. The Tigers have run the bases poorly this season.They’ve been caught stealing 48 times, with 82 stolen bases — a pedestrian 63-percent success rate. They’ve had 26 runners picked off. And, they’ve made 51 outs on the bases, including 25 at home."