Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My thoughts on the Tigers' dramatic 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night

Thoughts after 6 1-2 innings Tigers, Indians Tuesday

- One run on 12 hits? Seems to me that falls under the category of impossible. Ooops. Guess not.
- Blaine Hardy to the rescue. Again. Can you imagine where the Tigers would be without him? He has definitely been one of the things that has gone right for the Tigers so far this season. We'll see if he can keep it up.
- Victor Martinez has been truly amazing this season. It wouldn't surprise me, even though he can't run a lick and gets virtually no infield hits as a result, if Martinez wins the batting title. It's especially impressive considering how the exaggerated shifts have impacted the game.
- The Tigers would have been better off with James McCann coming up with two and two out in the seventh rather than Bryan Holaday.

My column. Four things that must go right for the Tigers to make a postseason run: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140902/pat-caputo-four-things-that-must-transpire-for-a-postseason-run-by-detroit-tigers

My thoughts after 3 1-2 innings Tuesday night Tigers, Indians

Kyle Lobstein vs.  Cleveland
- All the complaining about how inconsistent the Tigers are offensively rings hollow when it is considered they entered tonight ranked first in the American League in most key offensive categories, including runs scored, OPS, OBP, slugging percentage and batting average. It also speaks about how far off the Oakland A's have fallen off since trading Yonis Cespedes to Boston at the trade deadline. But it doesn't make it feel any better the Tigers have made so little of their considerable chances tonight. It's a shame they don't have the lead right now.
- Honestly, I didn't think Kyle Lobstein was capable of striking out this many hitters at the MLB level. It says a lot about how the Indians hitters keep getting themselves out. Home plate umpire Mike Everitt's generous strike zone for the pitchers tonight has helped Lobstein.

My column. Four things that must transpire for the Tigers to make a run in the postseason: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140902/pat-caputo-four-things-that-must-transpire-for-a-postseason-run-by-detroit-tigers

Forget Bobby Layne, this has been the real curse of the Detroit Lions...

When running back Mikel Leshoure was released and linebacker Kyle Van Noy underwent surgery for a core muscle-related injury last week, it continued the Lions' long-standing issues with their second-round draft picks.
Lions' linebacker Kyle Van Noy
Since 2005, the Lions have selected a dozen players in the second round of the NFL Draft. Of those players, they have chosen no Pro Bowlers and just one long-term starter, recently departed safety Louis Delmas.
It doesn't appear to be a career-threatening injury for Van Noy. There is still hope for cornerback Darius Slay, the 2013 second-round pick. He is starting and certainly being counted on, but he did have a disappointing rookie season. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles (2012) has had significant knee ailments, but is obviously talented.
But the rest of the list is very telling about the Lions' struggles, and how they have been very much draft related. Wide receiver Titus Young and Leshoure were second-round picks in '11. The Lions actually traded up to get Leshoure. The fifth-round pick they traded to Seattle in the deal was used by the Seahawks to select All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. Delmas was the '09 second-round pick and linebacker Jordan Dizon in '08. The Lions had three second-round picks in 2007, quarterback Drew Stanton, defensive Ikaika Alama-Francis and safety Gerald Alexander. In '06, it was safety Daniel Bullocks and in '05 defensive tackle Shaun Cody.
It's well established how the Lions have rarely found gems later in the draft, but their run during the second round is utterly ridiculous.
We'll see if it changes with Van Noy, Slay and Broyles, but it hasn't exactly been a promising start for any of those players.

My column. Four things that must transpire for the Tigers to make a long postseason run: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140902/pat-caputo-four-things-that-must-transpire-for-a-postseason-run-by-detroit-tigers

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My thoughts on Michigan's 52-14 victory over Appalachian State Saturday

Thoughts halftime Appalachian State, Michigan Saturday

- Devin Funchess has never lacked athleticism, but he does seem faster and more elusive as a full-time wide receiver than when he was used as a hybrid tight end.. He is easily Michigan's best weapon offensively.
Devin Funchess
- Devin Gardner began this game throwing on time and on target from the pocket. It's not like he hasn't done so before, but he's lacked consistency. We'll see if he is able to maintain it against stronger competition.
- De'Veon Smith is continuing to look like he is a better running back than Derrick Green. While ripping off a 59-yard run, Green looked fast for his size in the open field. But Smith did him one better with a 61-yard run followed by a TD. Michigan's run blocking came on during the second quarter. Kyle Kalis, disappointing last season, is having what appears to be his best game.
- The most impressive unit today has been Michigan's defensive line. Taco Charlton became quickly overhyped his first spring practice, but appears much improved. Mario Ojemudia is having a very good game.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My thoughts on MSU's 45-7 victory over Jacksonville State Friday night

Thoughts halftime Jacksonville State, Michigan State Friday night

- Everybody is aware of Michigan State's defensive prowess, but offensively they have come amazingly far in a short period of time. If there was a knock on QB Connor Cook last season, it was he wasn't overly accurate (he completed 58.7 percent of his passes last seasons, less than 53 percent the year before). He is right on target tonight. Actually, his accuracy has been uncanny.
- People can dismiss Jacksonville State, but I have seen the Spartans struggle against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) competition early in the season before. The opener vs. Youngstown State in 2011 comes to mind.
- For years, the wide receiver position group had been a weakness for MSU. Now it is a strength. Pretty soon, they will be calling him Big Play Tony Lippett. What an incredible first quarter.
- OK, so it is just the season opener against less-than-threatening competition, safety Kurtis Drummond sure looks like a first-team All-American tonight.
- I know Jeremy Langford is a terrific running back, but it looks like Nick Hill is going to nonetheless push him for playing time. Hill was very impressive during the first half.
A.J. Troup, MSU wide receivers now a strength

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My thoughts on the Tigers 3-2 victory over the Yankees Thursday

Thoughts after 4 innings Yankees, Tigers Thursday

- Kyle Lobstein is what scouts call "short," and it has nothing to do with his height (he is 6-3). He doesn't throw hard or have any sort of unique pitch to get MLB hitters out. But having pointed that out, he's done OK for the Tigers since being called up. Lobstein has given up some hits and runs today, but at least he is making the Yankees earn it. He's is getting the most out of what he has, unlike Robbie Ray and Buck Farmer, who seemed as much overmatched by the moment as MLB competition.
- The Tigers are making it too easy for Hiroki Kuroda. That was especially true during the fourth inning.
- I know he was hurt and missed virtually all of last season. So I did see the Yankees play here at Comerica Park last year without Derek Jeter. But it is sure going to be weird nonetheless when the Yankees come in next season without him.
- It's not a misprint. Farmer does have a 189.00 ERA for the Toledo Mud Hens. Ray is at 4.22 after another rough outing Wednesday night.

My column. Heartbeat of high school is as strong as ever: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140827/pat-caputo-heartbeat-of-high-school-football-strong-as-ever

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My thoughts on the Tigers loss to the Yankees Wednesday

On David Price's particularly bad outing for the Tigers Wednesday vs. the Yankees

David Price vs. Yankees
Given the lack of off days, not having Anibal Sanchez and a bullpen which is, at best, shaky, the last thing the Tigers needed was this type of start from David Price. His command was off, and there wasn't much life on his pitches, especially his breaking ball. Given Price's effectiveness normally, this is really stunning. It was like he was just slinging it up to the plate. There is only one thing that can nullify the disaster that was the Doug Fister trade. It is if David Price is the dominant pitcher he is capable of being. But this was terrible, and it couldn't happen at a worse time. Now some of the balls were seeing-eye grounders, but come on, nine straight hits, amazing. It wasn't like Price was missing bats. It was the second shortest start of Price's career. Price's ERA went up tonight from 3.00 to 3.22 with his outing.

My column. Heartbeat of high school is as strong as ever: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140827/pat-caputo-heartbeat-of-high-school-football-strong-as-ever

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My thoughts on the Tigers' 5-2 victory over the Yankees Tuesday

Thoughts after 7 innings Yankees, Tigers Tuesday

- The hit by Torii Hunter in the seventh inning was huge. The last thing the Tigers need at this point is a real tight save situation for Joe Nathan. But the downside to what is going on here is the understanding how difficult it will be for Nathan to get a save holding a one-run lead, given how many base runners he allows. And one-run games are inevitable for the Tigers.
- Ian Kinsler is starting pick up his play lately. That was a terrific play he made in the seventh inning.
- It's pretty obvious Rick Porcello is the real deal. He is one bad pitch away from possibly throwing his fourth shutout in his last 10 starts.
- Can we stop saying what J.D. Martinez is doing this season is an aberration? It looks like in an off season of bad decisions, the Tigers made a very good one in signing Martinez to a minor league deal in March.

Thoughts after 5 innings Yankees, Tigers Tuesday

Rick Porcello
- It was key Rick Porcello got the double play ball in the first inning. It got him rolling. But he threw an absolutely terrible changeup to Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth inning. So, Ellsbury is 10-for-15 lifetime against Porcello. It had nothing to do with that home run. A lot of MLB hitters would have hit it just as hard. Porcello should stick to his two- and four-seam fastball, and breaking ball. He is not Max Scherzer. The changeup is his worst pitch.
- The Yankees aren't the Bronx Bombers any more. Offensively, they are pathetic The production doesn't nearly match the big names. The Yankees' pitching has been surprisingly good, and the American League East has been surprisingly bad. It's why the Yankees are still in the race.

My column. Despite blatant mistakes and disappointment Tigers are far from done: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140825/pat-caputo-despite-blatant-mistakes-and-disappointment-detroit-tigers-far-from-done

Monday, August 25, 2014

Devin Gardner's is Michigan's undisputed leader, but is Shane Morris the better QB?

Devin Gardner, Shane Morris
Devin Gardner is the undisputed leader of the Michigan football team. He is a fifth-year senior. He is the returning starter at quarterback. He is a tough player with top-end competitive character.
But is he really, Michigan's best quarterback?
While there are times when Gardner has been electrifying, especially with open field runs, his consistency throwing out of the pocket has been spotty, both in terms of accuracy and turnovers.
Sophomore Shane Morris appears to be the better pure passer. While he doesn't have the same degree of ability as a runner, Morris seems to have a better feel in the pocket than Gardner and isn't lacking mobility.
One of the biggest issues for Michigan coach Brady Hoke, if Gardner flashes more inconsistencies, is if and when to turn to Morris. Last year, such a QB change literally elevated Michigan State's program last year.

My column. MSU Spartans national football championship shot better than rankings suggest

FOX 2 SportsWorks last night. Our discussion on the Tigers:
http://www.myfoxdetroit.com" title="Fox 2 News Headlines">Fox 2 News Headlines