By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT – With the Detroit Tigers struggling to score runs, manager Brad Ausmus decided to switch up the lineup Tuesday, moving shortstop Jose Iglesias to the second spot and moving second baseman Ian Kinsler to the fifth spot.READ MORE: Safety Is Top Priority As Parents, Students Prepare For Upcoming School Year
Kinsler usually bats second, and Iglesias generally hits close to the bottom of the order.
“Things weren’t working, so we looked at it, or I looked at it, tried to find some way we could maybe mix it up and somehow create more runs,” Ausmus said Tuesday afternoon. “The idea[is] that Kinsler in the middle of those guys makes a little bit more contact, might help.”
The Tigers are on a four-game losing streak and have lost seven of their last nine. In 16 of their 29 games in May, the Tigers scored two runs or fewer.
Overall, Ausmus still feels good about the team, but he believes the offense is underachieving. Designated hitter Victor Martinez, one of the best hitters in baseball last season, has been on the disabled list with knee inflammation, but Ausmus still expects more from the offense.
“V-Mart makes us better, there’s no question, but we have a good offense even without him,” Ausmus said. “Even without Victor we should be scoring more than a couple runs a game.
“I’m not concerned about it,” Ausmus added. “We’re going through this patch where we’re not scoring runs, but by all indicators, we should score runs over the long haul, and I feel like over that long haul, we’re going to score runs. It means, in my mind, that if we haven’t scored runs recently, somebody’s going to have to pay down the line, meaning pitchers.”
Kinsler was totally on board with moving down in the lineup.
“I think that’s a good spot for me, in between two power hitters, [Yoenis] Cespedes and J.D. [Martinez],” Kinsler said. “Hopefully I can make some things happen for those guys – get into scoring position, move runners, set them up, whatever it takes.”
Kinsler’s willingness to move did not surprise Ausmus in the least.READ MORE: Donations Needed For Landfill Search To Find Zion Foster
“I’m never worried about Kins,” Ausmus said. “Kins just wants to win.”
In fact, Kinsler said he thought about suggesting such a change in the lineup even before Ausmus spoke to him about one. Kinsler starting thinking about going to the manager after the team’s loss Saturday, which was its third straight.
“I was going to go in there – and I talked with Miggy about it – and say, ‘You can just get me out of the two-hole and put Iglesias there and move me in the middle somewhere,’ just balance the lineup out a little bit more,” Kinsler said. “Miguel kind of looked at me weird, so I started thinking about it … so I really didn’t say anything, and then after the game on Sunday [Ausmus] wanted to talk to me, I knew exactly what it was about.
“We were on the same page, honestly, without even saying anything,” Kinsler continued. “We talked about the lineup, we talked about a lot of different things, and I think that it’s a really good move for us.”
Kinsler has hit in the middle of the lineup at other times in his career, and he believes in the power of shuffling hitters to reinvigorate a team.
“We did that in 2011 in Texas,” Kinsler recalled. “I was leading off, and halfway through the season, maybe a little less than that, we shook it up and I hit fifth or sixth, I think it was. We put Mike Young hitting second instead of Elvis [Andrus], and Elvis hit leadoff, so we had Elvis and Mike and I was hitting fifth, I think, maybe sixth, and it worked.
“It worked for a long time, and then Elvis started struggling a little bit, and then I went back to leadoff and Mike stayed at second, Elvis went to nine,” Kinsler continued. “There’s something to work with there, and you want to find the right balance, really, is what it’s about.”
Kinsler said Ausmus is receptive to the ideas of players, but Kinsler makes sure to run his suggestions by other players before taking them to the manager.
“You definitely want to talk to players that have been around and get their idea,” Kinsler said. “You don’t want to just start blurting your ideas to everybody. You kind of want to bounce it off people, I think, brainstorm a little bit, think about what you’re feeling. Sometimes your feelings get in the way of what might actually be productive.MORE NEWS: Businesses Make Changes To Keep Customers Safe Amid Boil Water Advisory In SE Michigan
“At the time [Saturday], that was our third loss in the row, my feelings might have been a little whack,” Kinsler added with a smile, “so I want to talk to somebody about it, but it worked out. It didn’t surprise me at all. Me and Brad were pretty much on the same page, so it’s good.”