DETROIT -

In honor of the late, great Joe Falls, it's a Fish Fry Friday.

At least, Joe Nathan is consistent.

He's been a total disappointment both on and off the field.

For sure, when the Tigers signed the veteran closer to a two-year, $20-million contract, plenty of fans thought the bullpen woes were a thing of the past.

Wrong.

Nathan has a bloated 5.11 ERA and has as many blown saves so far this season, six, as he had the last two years in Texas.

To make matters worse, Nathan took out his frustration Wednesday night on fans - who booed him for walking the first two batters in the ninth. Nathan, walking off the mound, first flicked fingers at fans. Then, he flicked his glove at them.

Nathan apologized on Thursday. Manager Brad Ausmus called it inappropriate. "He's completely embarrassed by it," Ausmus said to media.

Let's not forget that Nathan also threw rookie Nick Castellanos under the bus early this season after he missed a ball. Nathan would wind up giving up a game-losing homerun.
Instead of taking full responsibility, Nathan named the rookie as a reason why the Tigers lost that night.

Bad and sad. That's what Nathan has been.

Ausmus Under Microscope Now

It's easy to manage when your team is winning.

Ask Detroit Tigers' rookie manager Brad Ausmus.

When the Tigers were 27-12 to start the season, many were ready to give Ausmus the American League Manager of the Year award. President/GM Dave Dombrowski was called a genius.

Now, with less than 50 games to go in the season, it’s fair to ask if Ausmus really was the right man for the job.

For sure, some fans must also be wondering what Ozzie Guillen or Dusty Baker are doing right now.

On Monday night, Ausmus' team - drowning in a sea of losses, 15 in the first 25 games after the All-Star break - dropped to second place in the American League Central. Kansas City took over the division lead.

Despite a two-game sweep over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit remains in second as the Seattle Mariners come to town for a weekend series.

There was a scene in Monday night's loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates that made you wonder who is really in control of this veteran squad.

From the TV camera shot, it looked pretty obvious that Max Scherzer was going to pinch hit for Justin Verlander in the top of the second after JV gave up five runs in the first inning.

Then another pitcher, Rick Porcello, put on a batting helmet and grabbed a bat. So it appeared he was going to bat instead.

But Verlander wound up batting and then he was removed from the game with a right shoulder issue.

It's hard to believe that a veteran manager would have allowed that Keystone Kops moment in the dugout.

There have been numerous other things, including curious pitching changes, weird batting lineups and obvious makes by Ausmus.

Dombrowski rolled the dice with Ausmus, to say the least. It just made little sense to hire a rookie managing a championship-caliber team.

Ausmus had never been a manager or a coach, for that matter, in the major or minor leagues.

Detroiters had seen this movie before. Both Buddy Bell and Alan Trammell were hired with no experience and both were disasters.

Dombrowski put his reputation on the line with this out-of-leftfield hiring. If this turns out to be a disaster - and it's a real possibly - Dombrowski will have to be held accountable for going with an inexperienced manager in a spot where you needed a proven skipper.

Lions In Oaktown

Tonight, the Lions (1-0) play their second preseason game, taking on the Raiders in Oakland.

It's hard to get excited for preseason games because you don't get to see the regulars play a lot.

Still, many will take a peek in to see the first unit, including quarterback Matt Stafford.
Of all players, Stafford has to have a big season in order for the Lions to make the playoffs, despite a very tough schedule.

Many NFL experts have them missing the postseason - again.