DETROIT -- Wednesday's game was the 81st for the Tigers, marking the season's official halfway point.
Manager Brad Ausmus, in his first season at the helm, reflected before the game on a whirlwind first three months, saying the year is going faster than an average season felt as a player.
"We've had a little bit of a roller coaster in the first half," Ausmus said. "Extreme up, extreme down. I'm hoping we're climbing up again."
Detroit began the season with a 27-12 mark before winning only nine out of its next 29 games. Since that rough stretch, the Tigers have reclaimed the American League Central lead over the Royals by winning 11 of their last 13, capped by Wednesday's sweep of the A's.
Through 81 games, Detroit is 47-34, good for second best in the AL.
Ausmus reasoned that managing is more mentally exhausting than his playing days were, which took a physical toll. To help him get through the ups and downs of the season's first half, Ausmus, one of baseball's youngest managers, has relied on a couple of long-time skippers.
Jim Leyland, who managed the Tigers for eight seasons through last year, has been "outstanding," according to Ausmus.
"When you manage as long as he has, he brings a lot of levity to situations," Ausmus said. "I don't think I'm overly emotional ... but it's good to have an experienced voice with levity remind you to stay the course."
Ausmus also has a former manager as his bench coach, Gene Lamont. He noted that Lamont's personality, which he said is reminiscent of Leyland's, has been a huge asset.
"It's almost like I have a carbon copy of Jim. Geno's been huge to have around."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.