Monday, April 27, 2015

My thoughts and column on the Red Wings loss to Tampa Bay in Game 6 Monday

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thoughts after 6 innings Indians, Tigers Sunday

- The idea of Kyle Lobstein as a successful MLB pitcher goes against conventional wisdom. He is a classic soft-tossing lefty and there are gimmick outpitches. But you must give him credit, he is still able to keep MLB hitters off-balance with a fastball in just the mid 80s half-the-time. He has been impressive today. His ERA for the season is 3.18. His WHIP as a MLB pitcher is near 1.3. He is pretty good.
- Miguel Cabrera. Opposite field home run. Classic Comerica Park moment. We saw another one of those today.
- It was overdue for the Tigers to honor Lou Whitaker like they did today, but truthfully they need to do more for him and Alan Trammell. It's one thing for the duo to be ignored like they have been by Baseball Hall of Fame voters, but another here in Detroit. The Tigers seem to be against the idea of putting up another statue at Comerica Park in their honor, but I think it would be appropriate. They are what symbolized the '84 Tigers more than anything else.

My thoughts and column on the Red Wings winning Game 5 at Tampa Bay Sunday

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My thoughts and column on the Red Wings' collapse in Game 4 loss to Tampa Bay Thursday

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lions will get better if Riley Reiff and Larry Warford do

A saying as old as football itself is that an offensive line is only as strong as its weakest link.
It's undeniably true. But you also need exceptionally strong links to build the chain. As such, this is the season the Lions need tackle Riley Reiff and guard Larry Warford to step forward.
Larry Warford
Maybe it was a new offensive system, which send out an extra receiver and subsequently put more pressure on the offensive line to keep out defenders one-on-one, but the Lions' QB Matthew Stafford was sacked nearly double the number of times (45) in 2014 as he was in 2013 (23). The Lions rushing attack was terrible. They averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and 89 yards per game in '14. That was down from 4.0 yards per carry and 112 yard per game in '13.
Riley Reiff
Warford played at Pro Bowl level as a rookie third-round draft pick in 2013. He wasn't nearly as effective in 2014, although he was fighting through knee injuries. Reiff, the Lions' first-round draft pick in 2102, who played very well during his first season  as a starter at left tackle in '13, was visibly beaten for sacks last season, including on the play that essentially ended the Lions' season vs. Dallas in the playoffs.
Both these players are immensely talented. Each took a step back instead of the anticipated step forward last season. The Lions will have to fill holes on their offensive line, especially now that they have cut Rodney Austin this week. But as the off-season program begins, there are a number of places the Lions need year-to-year improvement. None is more important than with Reiff and Warford on the offensive line.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My thoughts on the Tigers 2-1 win over the Yankees Monday

Thoughts after 6 innings Yankees, Tigers Monday

- James MaCann throwing out Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Iglesias making the in-the-hole play on Brett Gardner were emblematic of why the Tigers are so much better this season. They have shown power and starting pitching, but the biggest improvement is defensively. Neither player was with the club last year. The play by Iglesias was one of the best I can ever remember a shortstop making on such a fast runner hitting from the left side.
- The home run by Mark Teixeria off Alfredo Simon I thought was a mistake pitch. Not the location. It was low and on the outside part of the strike zone. But it was a flat pitch. And why not throw him fastballs? Seems like Teixeria doesn't hit the hard stuff like he used to.
- C.C. Sabathia has become the classic pitcher. He is making a lot out of reduced stuff. The double play ball is killing the Tigers tonight.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My thoughts and column on the Tigers rout of the White Sox Sunday

My column. How off-season moves by Dave Dombrowski have spurred hot start by the Tigers:

Thoughts after 5 innings White Sox, Tigers Sunday

Yoenis Cespedes has the type of talent that could win an MVP Award some day. His home runs in recent days have been absolutely incredible. He has speed, a great arm and a real good idea at the plate. He's at the point in his career where experience and his prime should merge. Today might be a sign of things to come in 2015.
- It's amazing how routine Jose Iglesias made Tyler Flowers' slow grounder in the hole look during the fifth inning. Last year, when Iglesias was out, that play was an adventure for Tigers' shortstops.
- Watching Rick Porcello struggle today in the early innings vs. Baltimore for the Red Sox, and Shane Greene sail through the White Sox order so easily, it's not a stretch to suggest the Tigers didn't lose anything by replacing Porcello in their rotation with Greene. Opposing hitters just haven't been getting good swings against Greene. It's a sign he has excellent "stuff." His command has been pretty good, too. Certainly, considering Porcello got an $82 million contract with the Red Sox, the price is right.
- With all the Tigers' right-handed thunder, I don't envision relatively soft-tossing left-handers like Jose Quintana faring well against them. Quintana appeared completely overmatched today. What a beating.

My column. The Red Wings have a lot of issues heading into Game 3 vs. Tampa Bay, but Petr Mrazek is not among them:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

My thoughts and column on Red Wings' 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay Sunday in Stanley Cup playoffs