DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers will welcome back a familiar face Tuesday, as former manager Brad Ausmus and the Los Angeles Angels visit Comerica Park for a three-game series.
Ausmus didn't leave Detroit on the best terms. He was canned by general manager Al Avila after going 314-332 across four seasons, going to the playoffs just once and getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles.
So far, the 2019 season isn't going as planned for Ausmus, either. The Angels are 15-19, 5.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West Division.
Ausmus will look to get some revenge on a fan base that couldn't wait to move on from his tenure. Whether it was his stubbornness in bullpen use that got the Tigers booted from the 2014 AL Division Series or the strange use of the No. 2 spot in the lineup, fans questioned Ausmus' every move.
In the end, his greatest accomplishment might have been getting the Tigers the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, which ultimately brought Casey Mize into the fold.
Other than Mike Trout, the best baseball player in the world, Ausmus doesn't have as much to work with in Los Angeles. When he arrived in Detroit, he had a loaded lineup with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Torii Hunter, Ian Kinsler and Austin Jackson.
This year, he has Trout, Andrelton Simmons, Kole Calhoun, Brian Goodwin and Tommy La Stella. Not exactly the same murderer's row for opposing pitchers.
Goodwin and La Stella have come out of nowhere this season to combine for 11 home runs and an OPS just south of .900. Even with former Tigers outfielder Justin Upton on the injured list, the Angels' lineup has a few dangerous bats right now.
The Tigers will see an exciting young pitcher Tuesday in Griffin Canning, who made his MLB debut last week. A solid young left-hander, Tyler Skaggs, will follow. The Tigers will counter with Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd.
Los Angeles hasn't named Thursday's starter, but the struggling Tyson Ross will take the mound for Detroit.
If the Tigers can win the series against their former manager, they'll at least get back to .500 on the season.