DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus appears to have drawn a line against critiquing individual hitters when talking about his lineup's offensive struggles. They'll hit as a team, or they'll struggle as a team.
He talked about the offense as a unit after Tuesday's loss in Pittsburgh. He did it again Friday, when Mariners lefty James Paxton held his team to one run over six innings. His answer came to a question about Ian Kinsler, whose 0-for-4 performance dropped him to 2-for-17 for the week. He entered Saturday batting .286 (18-for-63) with eight RBIs for August, but .228 (28-for-123) with a .532 OPS since the All-Star break.
"Ian, he's gone through stretches where he's swung the bat well," Ausmus said. "He's gone through stretches where he's struggled a little bit. That applies to every single player. That's how baseball is. You have hot streaks and cold streaks. You have slumps and you have periods where you can't seem to do anything wrong.
"As a group, we haven't scored a bunch of runs lately. We have trouble scoring runs. We can't string hits together. So I'm not going to single out one particular player and say that's the reason we're struggling. First of all, it's not true, and it's completely unfair to that player."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.