Ausmus is geared up for playoff chase

Ausmus is geared up for playoff chase

BOSTON -- With the non-waiver Trade Deadline now five days away, the Tigers' window to decide whether they are buyers or sellers is rapidly shrinking.

But count Detroit manager Brad Ausmus among those who firmly believes that the club has what it takes to stitch together a second-half surge. After all, he argued, the team entered Sunday night's game against the Red Sox within clear striking distance of the second American League Wild Card spot -- 3 1/2 games back following a Minnesota loss.

"I don't feel like it's running out of time. We're four games out of the Wild Card. Four games out and we've got two teams in front of us," Ausmus said. "I just think it's a little bit because the Tigers have won the division, been in contention. I think people think it feels like we're out of it. But we're not.

"Four games is nothing with two months left. And we play the Twins two more series. We play Kansas City four more series. Baltimore's in the mix. We play them four games. We play Tampa two more series. They're there. Houston we play again."

A major factor in how general manager Dave Dombrowski might approach the Deadline involves starting pitcher David Price, whose name has been mentioned numerous times as a possible trade candidate.

Through 97 games, Detroit starters have a 4.47 ERA, which is the second-worst in the AL. Were a largely inconsistent rotation to lose a pitcher of Price's caliber, a run at the postseason should prove much more difficult.

But Ausmus is not one to fret.

"I don't worry about it. I really don't worry about it," he said. "I wish we were in a position to consider we definitely should go get someone. But I don't think we're in a position where we should say we definitely need to sell.

"Four games. Let's not jump off the cliff here."

For the skipper, the postseason experience of his current players -- plus the fact that several contributed to the Tigers' run of four straight division championships -- has him believing in them moving forward.

"I think part of it is the makeup of the players in the clubhouse," Ausmus said. "I do think there's a big veteran contingent that can help, along with the coaching staff, keep everyone on point looking forward."

Beyond what his own team might do, Ausmus has also kept an eye on what some of Detroit's top competition is doing at the Deadline. That includes the AL Central-leading Royals acquiring right-hander Johnny Cueto from the Reds on Sunday.

"Where the Royals are at, I don't blame them for making some type of move to solidify their standing," he said. "I think it's probably a wise choice and certainly shows their fan base that they're invested in this season. And it helps them, obviously."

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.