DETROIT — Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help when things aren’t going well.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus had mostly let pitching coach Jeff Jones take the lead with struggling starter Justin Verlander.
But with things not improving, Ausmus, the former catcher, has decided to offer his perspective.
He’s not down on himself, which is the important thing, and we all feel this is extremely correctable.
"Recently, Jonesy and I have talked more about it," Ausmus said. "I’ve gotten a little bit more involved. Jonesy has the history with him, he knows Ver better than I do and he knows his mechanics better than I do but that being said, I talked to Jonesy about it the last few days so we’ve kind of all gotten together on it."
Ausmus does not think that Verlander could be fatiguing earlier in games because of a lack of stamina from not being able to work out as strenuously in the offseason due to core muscle surgery.
"I don’t think he’s out of shape," Ausmus said. "Now could he have some bad habits because of the injury, could they have crept into his mechanics and caused the issues? That, I think is a possibility, yes. Then you realize you’re doing something different and you have to go to old video and look at new video and see if you can find any differences."
Ausmus said he, Jones and Verlander had a long discussion before Tuesday’s game, which included watching video of Verlander now compared to Verlander a couple of years ago.
"We definitely saw some differences," Ausmus said. "He’s not down on himself, which is the important thing, and we all feel this is extremely correctable. We’re working toward that."
Despite all the talk about Verlander’s diminished velocity, Ausmus doesn’t believe that’s the problem.
"The velocity he’s throwing at is more than enough to get people out, strike people out on a consistent basis," Ausmus said. "It’s not velocity. It’s the ball (that when) he’s going away, and it creeps middle, belly-button high. Or he’s going in, and pulls it across, belt-high, middle away. It’s the location. It’s not the velocity. He’s got plenty of velocity."
Now that both Ausmus and Jones are working with Verlander, they hope to get things fixed quickly. But there’s no way to determine how long it might take.
"The problem is your body gets so used to doing one thing, it’s hard to train it to do something else," Ausmus said. "In fact, sometimes you know exactly what you’re doing wrong and you still can’t tell your body to do it the right way. I don’t know how long it would take him to make these adjustments. He might be able to make them really quickly. It might take a bit of time. It’s really hard to tell."