Monday, July 27, 2009

Detroit Tigers take series against Chicago Whitesox

The roller coaster season continues right out of the gate after the All Star break. They lose there 1st place lead by losing 5 of 6 with the White Sox coming into town in a virtual tie and all they do is take 3 of 4 and end up with a 2 game lead. And memo to ESPN can you please keep my Tigers off your network nothing like getting all geeked up to watch them on a Wednesday or Sunday night ESPN game and watching them get smoked.

Once again the pitching comes up huge and there offense does a nice job playing small ball and getting a couple of key hits with runners on this weekend. This team is really putting the "pitching and defense wins" mantra to the test. It is very scary seeing almost half of the starting line up being filled in by platoon/minor league call ups. Then to learn that Guillen won't be completely healthy this year and will also be in a platoon situation from just 1 side of the plate as a switch hitter is especially discouraging. The importance of defense really showed in this series on both Saturday and Sundays games with 1st inning errors leading to early runs for the Tigers first and then the White Sox respectively. It was a little encouraging seeing Porcello settle down after the 1st but the offense scoring just 1 one run really made it a mute point. A team can't score just 1 run in 5 of there last 6 losses and expect to stay atop of the standings.

I can only hope that this disastrous offensive display after the All Star break will be a motivating factor in a trade deadline deal for another bat. I don't even care who they get as long as they just get some help because it would be a real waste of a very very good pitching staff.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Detroit Tigers at the half

Watching the All Star game makes me reflect on a somewhat turbulent but very successful 1st half of the season. They had a very nice run going into the break winning back to back series for a 48-39 record and a 3.5 game lead in the division. The pitching and defense has been very solid overall and the offense just needs to do a little bit. It is a formula that worked out well for them in 2006 and I see no reason why that formula can't work again.

The pitching got a very nice boost thanks to the lopsided trade of Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce. He has been apart of the best 1, 2 starting pitching duo in the league with his 2.52 ERA good for 2nd in the league and our ace Justin Verlander having a 10-4 record good for 2nd in wins for the league. Combine this with the surprise run of the rookie Rick Porcello and it helps make up for the very sad state of the #4 and #5 starters. It is nice seeing Armando Galarraga come around lately and Luke French coming up from the minors and snagging a couple of wins. Of course the bullpen has been solid-shaky by my account. Fernando Rodney has not blown a save as the closer but his non save ERA is quite elevated. As odd a statistical annomaly this may be I will not fault him for doing his job as "closer".

All the offense needs to do is ride the big bat of Miguel Cabrera and have some stalwarts like Placido Palonco and Carlos Guillen trend up to there career averages. In the mean time the line up has gotten a nice shot in the arm from the Clete Thomas's and Marcus Thames of the world. As long as line up regulars Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge (both All Stars tonight) continue there solid seasons the offense should be just fine.

Here's to some exciting pennant chase baseball leading us into the Playoffs!!!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Detroit Pistons newest coach John Kuester by Joe Dumars

So much to to say. So little time. If you're John Kuester though, you do have time.

As if 6 coaches in 10 years, wasn't enough, Joe Dumars has now changed his stance and brought someone in who he thinks has time on his side. At the press conference to announce the Pistons new coach (which seems to be a regularly scheduled event for him), Joe D. proclaimed "Our thing right now is to get headed in the right direction....we're going through a transition period right now"

Translation: Can you say rebuilding year next year Pistons fans?

Joe D then confirmed it by digging deep into the abyss of coaching candidates and plucked Kuester. I think a post I read on Yahoo a couple days ago summed it best. It said, "Who?" That's what i'd like to know too, is who is Kuester? Oh yeah, he's joe d's THIRD choice for coaching candidates and is the guy who is going to head them in "the right direction" What direction is that Joe? The 2010 Draft Lottery?

What I am basically likening this to is when Lions owner you-know-who bypassed other candidates for GM and basically promoted 2 no names from w/ in. Why? because after the Millen severance, he couldn't afford any high priced talent. So now Joe D. figures the same thing. Since we can't afford to bring in a proven coach, Joe went and scooped up the only thing the Pistons purse could afford.

So now Dumars has declared this a non-championship-contending campaign, he has basically planted his tenure in place, because now ownership has been informed in advance of what the expectations are. Promise mediocrity then deliver mediocrity and, in the current ownership's eyes, that'll probably be good enough.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Salary Cap finally hits Red Wings

It took several years longer than many naysayers and doomsday predictors foresaw, but the "Yankees of Hockey" the Detroit Red Wings have officially been slapped by the cap. I still stand by the mantra "In Ken Holland we Trust" but loosing Jiri Hudler to the Russian Superleague on top of loosing Hossa, Kopecky, and Samuelsson made it official and guarantees a markedly different looking team next year. It is a testament to the Red Wing Organization thru drafting, signing free agents, and player development, that they kept getting better and better during the salary cap era. When most experts said the cap would affect high pay roll teams like the Red Wings the most.

It just wasnt realistic for a team that had 5 20 goal scorers plus Samuelsson at 19 goals and Tomas Holmstrom's production being greatly reduced by missing 30 games to injuries to stay intact. I still stand by the team's track record of bringing in talented, young, and cheap talent to replace the 80 goals and 160 points they lost to free agency. If the playoff production of players like Darren Helm, Johathan Ericsson, and Justin Abdelkader are a sign of things to come, the Wings are still in great shape. They might have to revert to a more defensive style and Osgood will show more focus during the regular season I have no doubt. They will still easily be among the pre-season Stanley Cup favorites for the umpteenth year in a row it seems. I still trust Ken Holland's judgment implicitly as the best GM of any sport and continuing the Wings run of unprecedented success for many years.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Minnesota Twins and Metrodome still a House of Horrors for the Detroit Tigers

This weekend saw the Detroit Tigers continue to struggle on the road against the Minnesota Twins in the Metrodome. Whether its the high bounces of the artificial turf or balls disappearing in the outfield, the road woes continue.

When your only win is eeked out in a 16 inning marathon game, you know its been a rough weekend. Even with the good karma of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson's selection to the All Star team could not help us salvage more than 1 game. Jackson did loose a tightly contested game on Saturday where our bullpen could hardly be faulted after going 10 innings the night before. I sure hope Rick Porcello has not already hit the rookie wall because the staff will be in even more trouble. After seeing some of the subs they are trying to plug into there bullpen is really scary right now, I am seeing one guy after another that I have never heard of.

I am just glad that a division leader is a division leader no matter how bad the division is and all get a ticket into the playoffs. I really hope the all star break will give us some fresh legs and a good spark to starting the 2nd half.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Detroit Red Wings lose Hossa and Kopecky

First of all there should be absolutely no panic in Hockeytown over this rather predictable outcome to free agency. Lets not forget the Wings did just win a cup without Hossa in 08 and lost the defacto Stanley Cup Finals to the Anaheim Ducks the year before in a very grueling Conference finals.

And by the for all those Pittsburg fans who think we are "scared" of there sudden decade long reign of being Stanley Cup favorites each and every year and having 1 superstar after another take less money to play there. You are simply on dream street and also come no where close to being "the city of champions". 1st of all Sid the Kid should be estatic that Hossa did not sign back with the Penguins so he would not be the 3rd best player on his own team. Its great to get all those goals cherry picking at center ice and taking advantage of the "new NHL" but all it does is make him a one way one trick pony. Get back to me when he decides to get his nose dirty in the Defensive Zone and decides to pay the price along the boards and in front of the net. I have all the respect in the world for the Pens best player in Malkin because I saw first hand how hard he worked on Defense and how strong he plays with the puck in and out of his zone against the Wings. Of course I realized I just broke the "Bettman Rules" and actually critizided his golden child but any true hockey fan who takes off his rose color glasses will know this is true.

Sorry about the small rant but seeing way to much hype about the Pens and Hawks right now.

Once again lets remember we have already signed one of the other top 5 forwards in the game to a very nice cap friendly deal in Zetterburg during the season and signed an emerging elite power forward in Johan 'mule' Franzen. BTW we also have the 2 year running Selke Award given to best 2 - way forward(take note Mr. Crosby) and Hart finalist locked up nicely. And please name me another team that had so many youngsters come straight out of the minors into the cauldron of the playoffs, due to a staggering amount of injuries, and perform as well as they did. Justin Abdelkader scored 2 huge goals in games 1 and 2 and was a punishing force up front. Darren Helm broke the record for most Playoff Goals before his 1st regular season goal and is a carbon copy of a younger and improved Chris Drapier. Not to mention players like Jonathan Ericsson on Defense to go with young and improving forwards Valteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler. So thank you Chicago for trying to close the gap and providing another batch of good hard fought games and good luck Pens in handling your Stanley Cup hangover.

I will always stand by Ken Holland and trust his every move impicitly. No GM or team has ever earned as much faith and trust in how they run a team as the Red Wings have. I of course was briefly disappointed but 3 years of 1 cup, 2 finals appearences, and 3 conference finals is pretty special.