Monday, August 31, 2009

A fine weekend for Detroit Sports

What an awesome weekend for Detroit sports. The Red Wings hosted there 2 day Hockeyfest at Joe Louis Arena, the Lions played there all important 3rd pre-season game, and the Tigers took 2 of 3 games from the Rays to maintain there lead.

The Tigers head into the stretch drive thru September in great shape with a very nice 4.5 games lead on the Twins and 6 game lead on the fading White Sox. I can't see the White Sox recovering from those 2 disastrous series against the Red Sox and Yankees and posing much of a threat down the stretch. Now don't get me wrong when I say "threat" I mean to take over 1st place but I still expect them to put up a fight in the games against the Tigers. I know the Twins have the duel threat of the M & M boys in Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer but I just don't see enough consistency in there pitching staff to take 1st place from us.

This weekend games just continue that good feeling and momentum that seems to be rolling more and more in our favor. Saturday's game being a perfect example because we lose but so do both teams behind us and no ground is lost. Then in the wins we get 2 great pitching performances one from our rookie sensation Rick Porcello and one from our stud number 1 Justin Verlander. Porcello continues to prove that he is up for the rigors of an entire season at the tender age of 20 and Verlander wraps up his 15th victory of the season tieing C.C. Sabathia for the league lead. Of course there is the matter of those big hits and home runs that keep on coming from unlikely power sources. Placido Polanco being the latest example with his 3-run barely made it blast in the 8th that put us ahead 4-3 and let Rodney come in and slam the door shut for his 29th save.

The Lions also won on Saturday beating the Colts 18-17 which isn't nearly as important as the players who finally got back on the field. It was great to see Calvin Johnson back out there in all his glory and rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew seeing his first action all pre-season. The Offensive line played great against the Colts 1st team and opened up big holes for Kevin Smith and gave our QB's time to throw. Both Stafford and Culpepper had good outings and are making the decision very difficult on Jim Schwartz to name a starter. Even though a good offensive line and a healthy Calvin Johnson give Stafford all the tools to be successful, I still take the calm and poise of a savvy veteran like Culpepper who is looking more and more like his old self. I won't spoil things by bringing up anything about the Defense because this was a great weekend overall.

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


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Detroit Tigers Lead Charmed Existence

Maybe its just good fortune Maybe its a sign that the stars are aligned just right or Maybe its just baseball being baseball.

But even with the Tigers losing rather meekly 4-2 to the Angels in the wrap up game it was still good times in Detroit. First off as stated in my last post they just won there 1st road series since June against the division leading Angels no less. Plus the White Sox lose a heart breaker to the Red Sox on a walk off home run for there 3rd straight loss to the Red Sox. Plus the Twins suffer there only loss to the Orioles on the same day and they have the wild card contending Rangers coming up. Granted the Tigers have a home and home series with the Tampa Bay Rays coming up that won't be easy but at least all the teams will be playing tough opponents.

So my Tigers still have a nice 4.5 game lead on both the White Sox and Twins and all is right.

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


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Detroit Tigers defeat Los Angeles Angels 5-3

Sweet Tigers have just sown up there first road series victory since sometime back in June!!!!!

What a nail biter of a game with plenty of defense, big hits, and a bend but don't break bullpen. Curtis Granderson might be in the box score for his career high 25th home run and follow up triple and run scored but his defense was just as big. His awesome running into the gap catch that prevented a double and run scored and his late inning grab of a shallow pop up was huge and kept the 2 base runners from tagging up and scoring. Miguel Cabrera continued his tear with a 3 for 5 night with a solo home run that tied the game and 2 R.B.I.'s. Jared Washburn scattered 8 hits over 6 innings by escaping a couple of threats and had one big mistake that turned into a 3 run home run for the Angels.

The Bullpen on the other hand was a whole other matter and they deserve there own special section for making this late night fan sweat a whole lot more than was necessary. Just when I thought Zach Miner was gonna blow it and drop the match to blow up the mess he created he is saved in the unlikeliest of ways. A pitch in the dirt that bounced away from the catch and the runner coming home from third is tagged out by Miner at the plate. I was shocked/stunned when Leyland let him come back out the next inning the 8th but him and Bobby Seay got us thru a scoreless 8th. Rodney then came in and promptly gave up a single and walk to put 2 on but as usual secured his 28th save in 29 opportunities.

This puts the Tigers 4.5 games ahead of both the White Sox and Twins who never seem to go away. I can't wait for September to role around and watch the Tigers march straight into the playoffs.

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


Monday, August 24, 2009

A Mixed Bag this Weekend for Detroit Sports

By mixed bag I mean really searching hard for a silver lining out of the weekend action that took place.

The primary silver lining is that yes your Detroit Tigers are still in 1st place by 2.5 games over the Chicago White Sox which is a huge deal. I like the Tigers chances to stay on top with the difficult road series the White Sox have coming up against Boston and New York right before the stretch run of divisional games to end the season. Of course I would still love to see the Tigers win a road series sometime this year unless by not winning one they set some sort of goofy statistical record. The offense might struggle at times but I do not know of a line up out there that would look forward to seeing our duo of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson on full rest multiple times in a 7 game series or to start a 5 game series. I am really glad to see our horse Miguel Cabrera coming around with those clutch hits and big runs again and a nice resurgence from Placido Polanco at the plate. Is it me or is getting those walk offs from the likes of Clete Thomas and Brandon Inge along with the nice pop from recent call up Alex Avila remind you of those 2006 heroics of Craig Monroe and Brandon Inge.

Now for that silver lining you really really have to look for in the Lions absolute disaster of a game against Cleveland. The first and foremost of course is that it is only pre-season but a total lack of tackling, protecting, quarterbacking and the like is pretty disappointing and really calls into question all the good things they did against Atlanta. The only other good thing to come out of this is the poor play of Stafford should greatly increase the chances of him starting the year on the bench and hopefully a lot longer. Which is fine with me and most other lions fans I suspect. The offensive line really needs to come around to give either Culpepper or eventually Stafford and chance at all and we desperately need Calvin Johnson and rookie Brandon Pettigrew back.

The other reason to celebrate was Michigan Wolverine football media day reminding us that college football is right around the corner. Can't wait to see Michigan rebound from the year I shall not speak of and even Michigan State football continuing to establish there program.

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


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lions defeat Falcons 27-26

Whoopee lets celebrate Detroit we finally won a game oops forgot it was just pre-season but boy was it nice seeing that first unit out there for over a quarter!!!

First of all I have to start by stating pre-season wins or losses mean absolutely nothing (do I really have to bring up the 4-0 record last year) as proof. However there were several bright spots that I found very exciting and was really glad to see. The play of the Offensive Line stood out head and shoulders over everything else I saw including the quarterback competition. They really showed a lot of continuity and team work by opening up nice running holes and giving up no sacks all night. No team will get far without solid play in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Even on plays where the Falcons had good secondary coverage the line still gave Culpepper time to scramble and make something positive happen.

Of course there is a certain matter of our brand new #1 draft pick with record setting contract in Matthew Stafford making his first appearance at 6:31 of the second quarter. I believe both Stafford and Culpepper were handicapped with having the Lion's top 4 receivers arguably all injured but they both had really good games. Culpepper looks to be in awesome shape and shows the same mobility he had when chucking the rock to Randy Moss in his hey day hello Calvin Johnson!!! That guy looks like he can really take a hit and lay a good lick on those linebackers or safeties trying to take him down on those mad rushing scrambles down field. Stafford showed his poise and calmness along with his big arm that has been all the rave from training camp reports. It takes a natural leader to have so quickly won the confidence of the current veterans even on a 0-16 team. As I stated early his 7 for 14 passing performance was hurt by the depletion of wide receivers which led to several drops on very nice throws. I see this QB competition as being very close and coming right down to that all important 3rd pre-season game and may the best player win it on the field and not off it. Of course seeing an improved offensive line play makes me feel better about going with Stafford and not seeing him get pummeled early on like David Carr was in Houston.

Some random highlights for me was the nice show of speed on the return game by Derrick Williams out of Penn State. It was nice seeing decent kick off returns for a change and solid play on the coverage teams. The secondary also showed some real promise and kept the Falcons passing attack at bay for the most part. Looks like some of those veteran Free Agents we brought in will have a very nice impact. No offense to the departed Paris Lennon but man was it nice seeing a real linebacker core out there along side Ernie Sims with Larry Foote and Julian Peterson. Of course there was a fair share of bad tackling but that is always the last thing that comes around from live play action.

Overall they gave us plenty to cheer about and offered us plenty of hope that the turn around has begun!!!

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


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Detroit Lions Training Camp Injuries

Well It is the proverbial "spoke to soon" jinx of training camp injuries past.

I swear both Jared DeVries and Calvin Johnson both participated in the open practice and I did see them with my own eyes this past Saturday. Granted recent draft picks Brandon Pettigrew and Louis Delmas were both on the side lines with supposed minor injuries but every indication was they would be back on the field any day. Then of course on the very day I open up my big mouth and say "knock on wood" no major training camp injuries boom Defensive End Jared Devries ruptures his achillies' tendon and is done for season and possibly career and Calvin Johnson shows up with a soft cast on his thumb which is just a fantastic injury for a wide receiver to get. That coupled with neither Delmas or Pettigrew being back on the field and lump in recent free agent signees Bryant Johnson and Maurice Morris being dinged up and it seems like the same old Lions luck.

The DeVries injury is really a shame because he is one of the few "motor is always running" guys left over from last years rubble. He might not be the most talented guy out there but he had guts and always gave it his all. This hurts the Lions at one of there weakest positions the defensive line where we already had precious few quality incumbents. Whoever would have thought our wide receiver position could be so decimated by the #1 guy going down when the Lions have spent more #1 picks on WR that should ever be allowed.

So I guess Lions fans can look forward to the first training camp game against the Falcons and look forward to Stafford strutting his stuff (cross fingers, knock on wood, pepper over the shoulder) oops I probably did it again oh well...

Feel free to post your own comments good, bad or otherwise


P.S. Tigers still in 1st 2.5 game lead thx to Justin Verlandar's stellar performance against the BoSox to salvage 1 game from series.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Detroit Lions Training Camp

Its that part of the dreary summer sports calendar that all non-baseball fans around the country crave for: NFL training camp time!!!

Even in Detroit with our 0-16 Lions this past weekend hosting an open Autograph session and practice at Ford Field attracting a staggering 15 thousand fans. I was among the 15 thousand many of whom waited in line up to 2 hours ahead of time in the rain no less to get that first taste of football. This happened to be my first time ever watching and/or participating in any football practice and I must say the TV does not do justice to the enormous statures of the players. Seeing the players stand next to various media types and even there own coaches really gave you a sense for how big these athletes are relative to the average person. Which made the display of speed, cuts, and footwork in the positional practice groups all the more impressive. All though it is impossible to walk away from the practice with any real sense of was it a good/bad practice how did this player or that player look it was still a very cool experience.

The brightest spots of training camp so far is no major injuries knock on wood and what the coaches have said in various interviews. Hearing Jim Schwartz say the defense is going to be week to week and not married to a particular system (Hello out-dated Tampa-2) is a breath of fresh air. I mean my god a coach capable of making adjustments week to week and not having an ego that its the players and not the system is earth shattering. Then the offensive coordinator saying the old fade jump ball to corner of end zone is going to be put back in nearly causes me to faint. Its not like we don't have a certain 6 foot something can jump out of his shoes athlete in Calvin Johnson or anything. A coach and coordinator actually taking advantage of his players skills what a concept. That by itself is good enough to get me excited about this new regime and the hopes that we have finally hired the right people.


P.S. The Tigers are still in 1st place with 3 game lead on White Sox and the Offense might be waking up thanks to Cabrera, Granderson and Polanco getting hot SHHHHHH!!!