By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

It’s been a much talked about topic since spring training. The Tiger lineup. The JD Martinez injury. And the question about whether VMart should stay in the cleanup spot when all things come together.

But with JD back in the fold, nothing has changed. So, of course, we have a question to address.

As is the norm, Kurt and Holly have not shared their answers to the following question; the best way for our readers to get the best bang for their buck. So here we go.

Do you support Brad Ausmus’ explanation of why he will continue to slot VMart into the #4 hole in the lineup?


Brad has proven us all right once again.  Out-of-the-box thinking is just not part of his DNA.

I do understand where he is coming from to a point, before the argument gets weak and falls off a cliff. I guess (and I am really trying hard here) I am glad to see he has not only thought about why to keep things the way they are, but stands behind it unwaveringly. I just don’t happen to agree with it.

Right smack in the middle of his justification for the status quo is a complete lack of confidence in his middle of the order power hitters and their ability to give Miggy the protection he feels he has with VMart.

These are accomplished hitters who are in the lineup every day. Left-handed or right-handed, pitchers have quite the challenge whether Victor hits 4th or 6th.
With his power numbers down, I can assure you, Victor is far less menacing batting behind Miggy now that the ball is staying in the park.

How many teams in baseball have a cleanup hitter with one home run? With JD back and already hitting homers, this is Brad’s opportunity. And it’s not just about the power. JD has demonstrated his ability to hit .300. You would be replacing a player who hits .300 with, well, a player who hits .300.

And Justin Upton? Well, with him hitting so much better and displaying an early power surge, moving him to 5th gives the Tigers more speed behind Miggy with the guys with the most power (outside of Cabrera).

JD and his ability to hit the ball the other way, in the gaps and out of the park, will do just fine protecting Cabrera.

Victor moving down and batting #6 moves a pretty gifted hitter behind Justin Upton, lengthening the lineup in the most intelligent way possible.

Brad may have his reasons for why Victor should bat cleanup.  But they just don’t carry much weight any longer.


There is nothing more infuriating than being stuck behind the slowest car on the highway – and in the left lane. You can see it’s a nice car and capable of doing fine things, but it’s the driver holding everyone back. And other cars, much faster, are piling up in back of it and unable to reach their destinations efficiently.

That car, of course, is Victor Martinez with Brad Ausmus as the chauffeur and caught behind them are Justin Upton and JD Martinez, to name a few. And station-to-station baserunning continues to be alive and well even after the horrific experience of watching the 2013 playoffs with Prince Fielder serving as VMart’s doppelganger.

Sure, Brad has a point about inserting a LHB into yet another RHB-heavy lineup. But there’s not much to protect at the moment given Miggy’s extended slump. But he tries to prove his point using the later innings as his example when the opponent will determine which relievers to send in. Once again, he’s planning the game out in advance – putting the focus on the final destination instead of the journey and how to get there successfully.

In the last 2 of 3 games, VMart was left on second base, unable to score. And in 3 games in which the Tigers scored a whopping 5 runs total and lost 2 of the 3. Let’s face it; Victor is officially the slowest runner in baseball which now requires herculean efforts by his teammates to get him home safely.

And that is exactly the point. Upton, JD and et al now have more pressure placed upon them to not just hit, but to get extra-base hits because that is the only way Victor will be able to score. Even doubles are risky if VMart is on second base. Why have hitters of this great caliber if you aren’t going to maximize their potential and get the desired results? Put any other runner on second base and a single will much more likely score them.

Isn’t it a better rationale for Victor to sit lower in the order so he’s the one responsible for advancing more runners – instead of other hitters trying to advance him? This is an issue that not just fans are questioning, but many of the former players, managers and GMs in the national media are adamant about the changes needed.

But there may be something else going on – an issue I’ll continue to address in Wednesday’s blog.

19 thoughts on “TWO FOR TUESDAY

    • Rick, both blogs make perfect sense to me. This isn’t simply criticizing the manager, both Holly and Kurt make excellent arguments for moving Vmart down. I’m hoping AA reads this and sends a message to his employee.


      • How is it any different then big papi ? He couldn’t run any more than vmart. I call it second guessing because we have no idea what goes on 24/7 in the clubhouse or in meetings yet we all know what it would take to turn the tigers into a 95 win team . Assume as with krod they will make the change if necessary


    • JD and Upton are both proving to be quality hitters, and can hit for extra bases with regularity. Either of them run better than Vmart. The point of the blog was to offer reasons moving one or both made sense, which it did well.


  1. I’m sick to death of Ausmus’ stubbornness, especially when it’s stupid, as Holly and Kurt well point out. Now we have his intensity to get K-Rod back into the closer role. The man is about as flexible as a titanium rod.


  2. “Even doubles are risky if VMart is on second base”. My eyes see that, why don’t Brad’s? He is not a good manager. That’s not second-guessing, that’s an opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just had a funny thought. There’s been a lot of talk lately about JV’s W-L record suffering due to a lack of run support. Are Upton and JD in a similar situation< where the lineup handicaps their performances? How many more RBI could they each have betting ahead of VMart?


  4. Holly, awesome analogy. And, isn’t it time for Mr. Veteran Vmart to actually chime in — admit that the obvious is good for the TEAM .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your analogy. Will add another. Brad’s a bean counter accountant who can’t see the forest for the trees. Just the flat head totally lacking cognitive thinking. Otherwise known as an egg head. With him as field leader Astro’s lost to the bull pen less braves year after year.


  6. The only person who can’t understand Holly’s metaphor is Brad. Amazingly enough, there was a puff piece in the paper today about Ceasar, the Tiger’s analytical central data hub. I wonder what Caesar has to say about VMart batting 4th… Or, is info like that monitored/disseminated by the PR staff too!?!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Here is an argument against moving V-Mart down the order. Miggy is the second slowest runner on the team. The bottom half of the order has some of the best speed on the base paths. Moving Victor down only permanently clogs the basepaths. Miggy will slow down JD and J-Up just as much as V-Mart does. Keep them together and keep the “speed” guys together.


    • Agree with Rickover50. Big Papi was baseball’s slowest. He retires and that mantle falls to VMart. Boston won 3 World Titles with Big Papi batting cleanup as a lefthanded base clogger. And Kurt, VMart has never been a slugger. Look at his first Tiger season, 12 homers, but 103 RBI. He’s had many seasons like that with low homer totals but loads of RBI.


      • Ain’t this great? We can all agree or disagree in a civil, intelligent, manner. Thanks again to Holly and Kurt for taking the time and effort to put this all together!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. The biggest valid criticism of Ausmus is how stubborn and inflexible he is in his decision making process. The latest examples are his refusal to move Martinez or others in the lineup, and his constant reaffirmation that he wants to return KRod to the closer role.


  9. To steal an old braves phrase: the Martinez boy’s should flip flop in thier batting order. Also like the explaining of analytics tonight.


  10. Comparing Vmart to Big Papi: He’s a totally different kind of hitter in a totally different lineup. It’s apples and oranges. Ausmus, of course, is not (sic) savyy, but it doesn’t matter where Victor hits, either way he’s going to clog up the basepaths.


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