The Tigers bullpen blows it again: Orioles take a 2-0 lead in the ALDS

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Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Brad Ausmus didn’t get the memo.

For the second straight game he went to Joba Chamberlain and Joakim Soria in the eighth inning. For the second straight game they blew up. The Orioles took advantage of the the Tigers relievers to come from behind to win the game 7-6. Baltimore now possesses a 2-0 lead in the best of five ALDS.

In many ways this was worse than last night’s game, because Ausmus had every reason to avoid Chamberlain and Soria but didn’t. For starters, he saw them pitch the night before and should’ve been worried about what he’d get from them. More importantly, however, Ausmus had just seen Anibal Sanchez pitch the sixth and seventh innings in relief of Justin Verlander. He was fantastic, tossing only 30 pitches, striking out two and allowing no hits or runs. Unless there was something physically wrong with Sanchez, there was no reason to think he couldn’t go at least one more inning, possibly two. He’s a starting pitcher for crying out loud.

But no, Ausmus went with Chamberlain to start the eighth in a 6-3 game. Chamberlain faced four hitters, retiring only one of them, allowing one to score to make it 6-4. Then Ausmus went to Soria, who walked the first man he faced and then allowed pinch-hitter Delmon Young to hit a bases-clearing double on the first pitch he saw. And a good Yom Kippur to you, Mr. Young.

So I guess that didn’t work. Oh well, too bad no one thought that would be a disaster before it unfolded.

Thing is: it probably should’ve been tied 7-7 after all of that, as the Tigers ran themselves out of a potential rally in the top of the eighth when Miguel Cabrera attempted to score all the way from first base on a Victor Martinez double. His third base coach, Dave Clark, didn’t put up the stop sign, causing Cabrera to make the first out of the inning at home plate. The next two batters flied out, either of which would’ve scored Cabrera on a sacrifice.

But I suppose that’s a mere detail here. The real problem was the Tigers bullpen. Again. It’s been a problem all year and even after 164 games Brad Ausmus has not, apparently, figured that out. He has pushed the buttons exactly the way the book says you should, even though his particular book spontaneously combusted some time in May. And even when he had a horse in Anibal Sanchez practically begging him to sit on his hands and let this game play out.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”