Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Detroit Red Wings Season on the Cusp

Believe it or not another NHL season is just days away from kicking off and once again the Detroit Red Wings are prohibitive favorites to make there 3rd straight Stanley Cup Finals and a rubber match with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Coming on the heels of some pretty sweet accolades by the Sporting News naming Nick Lidstrom player of the decade, Mike Babcock coach of the decade (granted it also counts his stint with the Ducks), and Ken Holland Executive of the decade, I say bring on the Pens again and all injuries being equal I see a different result this time around.

For a complete run down on the Red Wings see there preview on there home page for the entire 2009-10 season player break down.

Afraid it will have to be short and sweet tonight because its time to root on the Tigers tonight against those Twins.

Monday, September 28, 2009

U of M vs M.S.U. week and oh yeah Tigers Pennant Chase enters final Week

Ahhhhh Yes its time for all of Michigan to stand up and take sides Wolverine maize and blue or Spartan green and white. The Battle lines are drawn for the annual showdown of State supremacy with pardons to the Chippewa's of course (sorry admitted Big Blue bias here)

Wow does the phrase "thats why they play the games" ever apply here with the topsy turvy routes both teams have taken this season. You would be hard press to find the hard core Blue Hair Alum that could have predicted a 4-0 start by U of M. Like wise who could have predicted the chaos and wreckage that has so far defined M.S.U.'s 1-3 start to their season.

Of course the other cliche when it comes to bitter rivals "throw out the records" certainly takes on an ironic meaning with the sudden record reversal. I certainly was the last one that thought Michigan would be marching into East Lansing with all the confidence and momentum and with a Freshman Quarterback no less. Unless the weather dictates otherwise I see a whole lot of points being scored on both sides with neither sides defense being all that impressive. Which is not to surprising from the Michigan perspective with only one stare Brandon Graham on the Defensive Line and a secondary with a lot of talent but also very young. States defensive woe's are very surprising coming on the heals of Greg Jones being named pre-season All Big-10 and all those returning starters.

Of Course there is the matter of Tate Forciers shoulder that got banged up some but by all accounts he will be good to go.

The Detroit Tigers start there showdown series with the Minnesota Twins to determine the Central Division Crown. With Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander due up for the 1st two games. I like our chances of getting out to a 2-0 series start and putting the pressure on the Twins. This week is truly what makes Baseball so great.

As always feel free to post any comments good,bad, or otherwise.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lions Grab First Win of Season

The Lions picked up their first win of the season today as they defeated the Washington Redskins, 19-14.

Matthew Stafford put out a solid performance as he connected on 21-of-36 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback passer rating of 87.8.

Stafford “It’s awesome. It’s great for not only the guys in the locker room, but the fans, the town everybody. Hopefully we can keep this thing going. We played well on offense, defense and special teams. It wasn’t just one part of our team that got it done today. Defense stopped them when they needed to. We mustered up enough points in the second half to get the job done and it’s just a tribute to everybody sticking together and pulling through.” Head Coach Jim Schwartz was pleased with the team’s performance and the fact that the weight of last season’s record has now been lifted.

Jim Schwartz “We weren’t 0-2. Our guys were carrying the burden of 0-19, and it was unfair to them. But this gets us off of that and puts it behind us. Half our team was new, so they didn’t have the burden, but I think the organization had a burden and the city of Detroit felt it. Honestly, that game shouldn’t have been that close. We had a couple of plays that we left on the field that we could have not had to hold on at the very end of that game.”

Posted by: Tara Ryan on September 27, 2009 – 9:44 pm

Friday, September 25, 2009

So many Sports So little time

Quite the week in Detroit Sports that we are wrapping up from the hapless Lions going 0-2 and not coming close to selling out this weeks game to the Tigers hanging on for a 3 game lead and our two College football teams going in very different directions.

Apparently the Cleveland Indians have become the perfect salve for erasing Tiger slumps thanks to their second straight series sweep. It was awfully nice to see the offense come back around and start producing some clutch hits finally. They could still use some more plate discipline though, to cut down on there strike out totals, especially to pitches out of the strike zone. The bullpen has once again become rock solid and I will give them a pass on the 3 runs they gave up last night. It was also great to see the one two punch of Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander come out on top.

This weekend also features the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans opening up there conference schedules with the Wolverines playing the lowly Hoosiers at home and the Spartans with a tough road test against Wisconsin. The two teams are certainly on divergent paths from most pre-season predictions with UM off to a terrific start and the Spartans struggling to get there feet underneath them. You don't have to look much further than each team's quarterback situations. The Wolverines have found there bonafide #1 in Tate Forcier and State still fiddling around with a two quarterback situation. I sure hope D'antonio settles on Kirk Cousins quickly because a quarterback rotation really just indicates that you don't have a true number one. I wish the Spartans good luck in the always tough Camp Randell Stadium even with Wisconsin being a little down.

I suppose I am obligated to at least mention the Lions even as there home game with the Washington game this Sunday being blacked out. Is it really any surprise than a team on a 19 game loseing streak that is feeding a rookie QB to the lions is having a hard time holding onto there fan base. Thank you Mr. Ford for interfering when we don't want you to do with Stafford and not interfering when we wanted you to fire the unnameable one (Matt Millen) for anyone outside the metro Detroit area that might be wondering.

As always feel free to post any comments good,bad, or otherwise


Friday, September 18, 2009

Go Time for the Tigers

Well the stretch run is upon us just a mere 16 games left in the season with the Tigers possessing a 4 game lead currently. The most important of those 16 being the 7 against the second place Twins 3 on the road and 4 at home. The Twins get the Royals for 6 games and the Tigers conversely play the White Sox for 6 games with each team having a 3 game series against the Indians to round things out. You have to think the Twins are under a lot more pressure to pull off a 5-2 or better record in those 7 games to really apply the heat to the Tigers . Conversely the Tigers can come out ahead by simply breaking even at just 4-3 or at the worst going 3-4 and only lose 1 game in the standings with 9 other games to play.

Of course all those stat break downs would not be needed if the Tigers hadn't come of there 6 game winning streak and proceed to go ice cold in every area. Even there reliable pitching both starters and bullpen have taken huge dips with the overall E.R.A. going north of 6.00 in the last 10 games and an offense that has reverted back to there beginning of the season woes. Even our ace Justin Verlander has lapsed into his habit of having that one bad inning amongst an otherwise dominating performance. If baseball kept a stat for how many individual innings a pitcher allows a single run or more, I believe Verlander would be at the top of the list. It also scares me to no end the number of no doubt about it home runs Edwin Jackson is giving up. He really needs to find his command on his secondary off-speed pitches very very quickly. As good as Porcello has been and seeing Robertson make a strong come back from injury, I would still rather see Jackson as the solid #2 starter behind JV.

All in all I am going to believe in this team til the day I look into the standings and don't see the Tigers atop it. Our bats can easily warm back up just at the right time in an instant. In some respects maybe its a good thing that our bullpen gets those bad outings out of the way now rather than later. After all Rodney and Lyons have been lights out 99% of the time this year and perfection is hard to maintain.

All that being said I still believe we are going to the playoffs and that our pitching will come around and the hitting will do just enough to get us by.

P.S. Good Luck to those Spartans against Notre Dame as they try and add the final nail in Charlie (Cry Baby) Weis's coffin.

As always feel free to post any comments good, bad , or otherwise


Monday, September 14, 2009

U of M 38 Notre Dame 34 Go Blue

A great Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, MI for Big Blue at the "Big House". What a thrilling game against Notre Dame with the fate of both coaches hanging in the balance. Rich Rodriguez finally gave the fans and alums a reason to stand up and cheer. And let me tell you just from watching it on television, I could tell the noise level was at an all time high. Nothing makes me happier than adding a nail in the coffin of the "genius" Charlie (never saw a cheeseburger he didn't like) Weis and flushing the supposed BCS game hype down the drain. I just don't know how Lou Holtz will go on living on ESPN oh wait he will just have more time to shill for the SEC and there new network.

I know legions of Wolverine fans were with me in shocked awe watching a mobile quarterback actually playing for our team and not against it. I know I don't need to list the litany of tortuous games and losses we have suffered from running quarterbacks here. In one afternoon Tate Forcier put his stamp on this program's revival and showed us how the offense is suppose to run. I found myself saying so this is want his (the coach's) offense is suppose to look like with Forcier faking hand offs, pitching it wide, rolling out, scrambling out of trouble and still throwing darts down field.

Now I am not saying Forcier is gonna pull a Barkley and go into his first hostile road game and pull of a victory in East Lansing against the Spartans October 3rd, but he just made that game a whole lot more intriguing. Oops did I just reference another painful Buckeye lost in yet another big game, I am so sorry for that really I am (yeah right hey Pryor learn how to run and actually throw down field like Tate Forcier). Who knows what will happen between now and O.S.U. but wouldn't it be sweet revenge for Forcier to out duel Pryor on that last game.

P.S. A slightly rough stretch for the Tigers but they still hold a 5.5 game lead with JV on the mound and well the Lions were the Lions need I say more. On a personal note please please put Culpepper back in Stafford is not ready no matter how good he looked in preseason.

As Always feel free to post your comments good, bad, or otherwise.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chips to much for Spartans to Handle

On Saturday, newspaper headline writers in Michigan were probably throwing up all over themselves in anticipation of all the possibilities they could put to print: Spartans stricken ill with LeFevour. Central Michigan has the fever for LeFevour. LeFevour too hot for MSU to handle.

And so on and so forth.

This post will try to refrain from such headlines writing hype. Yes, Michigan State's 29-27 loss to Central was due in part to CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour's performance. But the senior QB was not the sole reason that led to State's demise. Self-destruction played a part in that. Sloppy play and sloppy penalties were key culprits in MSU's meltdown. It seemed there were many long pass plays where the wide receivers had distance on the defense, and yet State QB's (they do it by a committee) just overthrew them. On the times they did throw on target, the receivers made some key drops.

And the last straw that stifled State was the off-sides penalty on MSU while CMU attempted a late-seconds field goal. Who commits an off-sides penalty on a game-winning FG attempt? Any team who wants to gift-wrap the game to their opponent, that's who.

CMU also had one other motivational move on their side....They wanted to avoid the weekend sweep of Michigan-based MAC schools by Big 10 opponents. Indiana had beaten Western Michigan and Northwestern beat Eastern Mich. Central was able to prevent a tri-fecta of Michigan "directional" schools all being beaten by Big 10 foes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tigers lick there wounds and NFL season kicks off!!!

Well I guess my previous statement of the pennant chase being potentially over on Labor Day was off by just a little bit.

Thanks to the Detroit Tigers getting swept by the last place Kansas City Royals following early season trends of bad offense and bad relief. It was a real shame to see Justin Verlander's 6 inning one earn run performance go to waste. Even though it was a short outing by his standards this season, I don't blame Leyland at all for pulling him after 110 plus pitches. Of course Porcello showed his rookie strips a little bit by giving up four earned runs in five innings but I am not worried. When the offense did manage to take a couple of late game leads our normally reliable bullpen managed to blow it shortly there after. Fortunately the Toronto Blue Jays did us the favor of splitting there four game series with the Minnesota Twins and still left us with a 5.5 game lead with fewer and fewer games remaining. The biggest danger being having the race go right down to the end but that might not be such a bad thing. There has been quite a few examples of teams that do have to play every game like its last going into the playoffs and riding there success all the way to the top.

The NFL kicked off its season last night with a tightly contested game between the Steelers and Titans coming down to the all mighty overtime toss going in the Steelers favor. The Lions travel down to the bayou to take on New Orleans Saints with there prolific offense but suspect defense. I will be impressed if the Lions defense keeps them under 30 points for this game but doubt the offense will muster more than 20 points. I sure hope our offensive line continues to look good like they have in the pre-season and keeps Stafford from getting his bell rung continually.

As always feel free to post any comments good, bad or otherwise.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Schwartz taps Stafford to Start, Tigers sweep the weekend and oh yeah CFB kicks off

Guess Lion's coach Jim Schwartz didn't want to let the suspense build and named Matthew Stafford to start the opener against the New Orleans Saints this Sunday.

I know as I am writing this legions of Lions fans are screaming Noooooooo not another rookie QB who will get pounded into submission. I find the coach's reasoning very suspect that after 15 pass attempts to Calvin Johnson from Stafford he already envisions a Manning to Harrison, Montana to Rice, Kelly to Reed comparison. I would give him credit if he spoke of the improvements on the offensive line and the improved running game as major factors that allow a rookie quarterback to learn the ropes. At least the Saints aren't known for there defensive but I am sure the Vikings, Steelers, and Redskins will be happy to properly introduce Mr. Stafford to the NFL.

Meanwhile the Tigers just ho hummed there way to a 3 game weekend sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays and saw the Twins lose 2 of 3 to the hapless Indians. They say the pennant chase truly starts on labor day but with a 7 game lead it may well be over already. The most stunning of there 3 come from behind victories being last night with Mr. 3 strikeouts already, bum knee Brandon Inge hitting a GRAND SLAM in the top of the ninth to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead. It also featured a very solid outing from Edwin Jackson who had been getting hit pretty hard lately and Brandon Lyon wrapping up things in the ninth for the second night in a row.

Of Course College Football kicked off and both the Wolverines and Spartans took care of business quite nicely. U of M fans saw more plays from the QB position in one game as the did all of last season seemingly and the Spartans showed they could have quite the aerial attack this year. Of course it is hard to read a lot into it based on the competition of a MAC school for Michigan and a sub-division team for Michigan State but hopefully both games are a good sign for the season ahead.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Detroit Tigers Sweep Cleveland Indians

This week saw some fantastic weather for baseball and a clean sweep over those hapless Indians. Boy are they a bad team right now just playing out the string it seems.

Each game did take on a life of its own though with a nice offensive outburst to start things off on Tuesday with a 8-5 win. I know Edwin Jackson got victimized by low run support earlier on in the season but he seems to be making up for it now with his last couple of outings. I really don't like seeing him relying so heavily on his fastball and losing control of his secondary/off-speed pitches. I hope it is just a matter of our pitching coach helping him make a small adjustment here and there.

I actually had the pleasure of attending game 2 and saw the Indians toss the ball around up close and personnel with 4 errors leading to 2 unearned runs. The Tigers still were 2 for 3 in sacrifice fly situations (nice to see) and made the Indians pay for those extra outs. I also am trying to forget the Rodney roller coaster of a 9th though and chalked it up to an ugly win but a win none the less made even sweeter by the Twins coughing up 4 runs in the 9th to lose earlier that day.

Food for thought Twins closer Joe Nathan 35/40 in save op's vs Rodney's 30/31 which one would you rather have?

The Tigers then wrapped up the sweep in a day game with the most difficult game of the 3 by far. Fausto Carmona really had our number today and if not for 5 walks which included a mind boggling 3 to the number 9 hitter Adam Everett, I don't know if we would have pulled it out. It was great to see Clete Thomas get the clutch 2 RBI triple in the 7th and Zach Miner going 2 1/3 scoreless for the win.

We head to Tampa this weekend with a nice 5 game lead over the Twins

As always feel free to post any comments good bad or otherwise