Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has the benefit of penciling Miguel Cabrera into his starting lineup each game. Detroit has started 4-1.
DETROIT — Brad Ausmus seems to be really smart, as one would expect a Dartmouth graduate to be.
The rookie manager of the Detroit Tigers is also intelligent enough to know he doesn't have all the answers, even as he got a taste of what life is like leading a team in his first week as a major league manager.
The Tigers rallied to win twice and also won in a rout. They blew a big lead in the ninth, but held on for another victory. And on Sunday, his team got beat in businesslike fashion by the Orioles.
The upshot is — and it is very early in the 162-game season — the Tigers have the best record in baseball.
In addition to a stellar rotation and superstar Miguel Cabrera, a cool, calm, and collected rookie manager has something to do with Detroit's early success.
"He seems pretty laid back," right-hander Justin Verlander said. "There's no panic. He just lets the game unfold."
After ending his playing career ended in 2010, Ausmus worked in the Padres front office as a special assistant to the general manager for three years and managed Israel's team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In Detroit, he acknowledges leaning on bench coach Gene Lamont and his half-century of experience in professional baseball along with pitching coach Jeff Jones, who has been in the game for nearly four decades.
Ausmus also soaked up the opportunity to spend time with his predecessor, Jim Leyland, during spring training and relished the opportunity to exchange text messages in recent days with the World Series-winning manager.
"He's got it figured out, but he'll find out there's a lot to learn because he'll be willing to listen," Leyland said Monday of Ausmus. "I think he's a great fit, a terrific fit in fact for the Tigers."
The three-time Gold Glove winner and one-time All-Star said nothing has surprised him as a manager so far.
"It's just been baseball," he said simply.
The San Diego-area resident expects familiar faces in the stands this week when the Tigers play the Los Angeles Dodgers and Padres on the road.
"My friends will probably heckle me," Ausmus said with a grin.
Indians-Padres rained out
CLEVELAND — The Indians' series opener with the San Diego Padres was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Wednesday.
Steady rain fell at Progressive Field, and with the forecast calling for more rain, the Indians officially postponed the game at 5:13. The game will be made up as part of a traditional doubleheader, with the first game starting at 12:05 p.m.