Monday, 21 October 2013

Griping about Jim Leyland has been easier than finding his replacement

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A few bad plays negated many very good ones in Lions' loss to Bengals

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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Thoughts after 3rd quarter, Bengals, Lions

- This is a very good football game between two playoff-caliber teams. The Bengals probably have the best player personnel of any team the Lions have faced this season. Their performance today is hardly a surprise. But the Lions are hanging in there pretty well.
- Tremendous catch-and-throw by Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson on the Lions' third quarter TD. Stafford has become more proficient

Thoughts halftime Bengals, Lions

- The Lions' special teams play has been much, much better this season, but they have had some hiccups on field goal attempts. It was very costly during the loss at Arizona. It was certainly hurtful when Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap burst through and blocked an attempt late in the second quarter. How can a defender break through the middle of the line essentially untouched on a short attempt like

My thoughts after the 1st quarter Bengals, Lions

- Chris Houston is a good football player, but not the type of corner you'd say is a shutdown corner. On the very best of the best receivers, such as Cincinnati's A.J. Green, he is going to need help from a safety over-the-top. Sometimes the Lions leave Houston alone on an island too often. It cost them an 82-yard TD play by Green in the first quarter.
- You can see where Joseph Fauria is limited

The Tigers can win the World Series next year - this is how

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

My thoughts on the Tigers World Series dream dying Saturday night in Boston

Thoughts after 6 2-3 innings, Tigers, Red Sox ALCS Game 6

- What a terrible pitch by Jose Veras. Willie Hernandez used to called pitches like that "a hanging booger." Shane Victorino wasn't going to hit his fastball. It's not like he doesn't have a good one. The guy throws gas in the mid-90s. Yet, he might as well have just screamed before Victorino hit the grand slam, "Here comes the curveball."
- Sometimes you'd settle for steady rather than flashy.

Ultimately, Michigan can't win playing that kind of defense

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Thoughts after 3rd quarter, Indiana, Michigan

- Michigan seemed to have made a lot of progress defensively after the Rich Rodriguez years, but they have clearly regressed the last couple weeks. I keep expecting Mikel Leshoure to run the wheel route out of the backfield any minute now. This has the look of Michigan, Illinois in the Rich Rod years. Who knows, perhaps the Wolverines will eke out a two-point victory today like that 67-65 gem

Tboughts halftime Indiana, Michigan

- Indiana's long pass for a touchdown in the first quarter was disturbing. Everybody knows Indiana runs a hurry-up, fast-tempo offense. Everyone knows Cody Latimer is a Indiana's most threatening receiver. There was no excuse for not being ready for the snap, nor not having bracket coverage over the top on Latimer on the play. On Indiana's second long TD pass to Shane Wynn, this one in the second

Thursday, 17 October 2013

My thoughts on the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in Game 5 of the ALCS

Tigers have plenty of aces, but they need hitters, too My Column

Thoughts after 8 innings, Red Sox, Tigers ALCS Game 5

- Talk about movement on a fastball. Red Sox closer Koji Uehara doesn't throw hard, but the ball comes out of his big glove late, making his velocity deceptive, and the movement on his fastball is almost freakish.
- The way Jose Veras has thrown tonight points to how Jim Leyland pulled him too soon in Game 2 after he allowed a double. He threw really hard in the eighth inning, and displayed an

Thoughts after 6 innings, Red Sox, Tigers, ALCS Game 5

- Anibal Sanchez did an excellent job of settling down following a rough start after three innings. He minimized the damage a great deal by holding the Red Sox scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. It has opened up the possibility of a Tigers' comeback. The Tigers are doing a decent job of hanging in there. We'll see what their much-maligned bullpen has.
- Austin Jackson, on the rare

Thoughts after 2 innings, Red Sox, Tigers, ALCS Game 5

- Miguel Cabrera is having a rough night. Horrible decision to try to score on the base hit, inexcusable error. The Red Sox have clearly adjusted to Anibal Sanchez after seeing him Game 1. They are not swinging at nearly as many pitches out of the strike zone.
- I don't why, but I always laugh when I think of "small" ball after seeing somebody like Mike Napoli hit a 450-foot home run. By the way,

A little change in lineup produces big results for Tigers

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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Detroit Tigers turning weak hitting to an art form

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Prince Fielder: Looks perplexed at plate

My thoughts on the Tigers' 1-0 loss to the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS

Thoughts after 7 innings, Red Sox, Tigers, ALCS Game 3

- The Tigers needed Omar Infante to come through in that spot. He had a great matchup against Boston left-hander Craig Breslow and didn't take advantage of it. Breslow looked like he was going to be in trouble after walking the left-handed hitter Alex Avila.
- The pitch Mike Napoli hit for a home off Justin Verlander in the seventh inning wasn't that bad a pitch. It was 96 mph, but it was out

Thoughts after 5 innings, Red Sox, Tigers, ALCS Game 3

- Jhonny Peralta has had some hot streaks before for the Tigers, never this consistently in such pressure situations. Yeah, I do believe he is earning himself a new contract for next season, despite the PED suspension. He could have handled it better on and off the field. Jose Iglesias would be ideal as the utility infielder.
- The Red Sox inability to put quality swings against the Tigers'

Monday, 14 October 2013

Just the beginning of the pain and gain for Tigers, Red Sox

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Sunday, 13 October 2013

My thoughts on the Tigers' stunning 6-5 loss to Boston in Game 2 of the ALCS

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Red Sox, ALCS Game 2

Jose Veras, Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit...Max Scherzer had thrown 108 pitches, the borderline for being done. But this is the playoffs. I don't think it is an unfair second guess to wonder if manager Jim Leyland would have better served to leave Max Scherzer in this game. I think pretty much everybody in this town suspected the Tigers have been living on borrowed time with their

Thoughts after 5 1-2 innings Tigers, Red Sox Game 2 ALCS

- You have to wonder what John Farrell was waiting for. I mean there seemed to be zero chance Clay Buchholz was going to get out of the jam. Zero. His pitches had flattened out and it was as if he was throwing glorified batting practice. And the Red Sox bullpen is well rested. It's the type of thing that could cost Boston the series.
- Anybody still want Miguel Cabrera to sit out? Even at less

Lions' victory over Browns most significant yet this season

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Thoughts after 3rd quarter Lions, Bears

- What a waste because of the interception late in the third quarter, but this is still a game the Lions' should win. We'll see if they have taken a step forward in regard to competitive poise during the fourth quarter. A top NFL team shakes off that interception.
- One of the questions developing earlier in the season was whether Reggie Bush's success was because of the attention on Calvin

Thoughts halftime Lions, Browns

- Horrible end of the first half for the Lions.
- There are two things the Lions can't afford. One  is not having Calvin Johnson in the lineup. Another is Johnson dropping passes. Pretty uncharacteristic, isn't it? That was a huge first-down drop during the second quarter. It changed the course of the game as the Browns responded with a TD drive.
- I have yet to see anything from Patrick Edwards

Thoughts after 1st quarter Lions, Bears

- Matthew Stafford has done a terrific job of spreading the football around. Some might say he has missed on a couple passes, but I saw it more like Kris Durham and Calvin Johnson missed making makeable receptions.
- Not a good quarter for Joe Haden, the Browns' much-hyped cornerback. The Lions are actually exploiting him more than avoiding him.
- With all due respect to tight end Joseph Fauria,

How I see the Lions game at Cleveland Sunday unfolding

Saturday, 12 October 2013

My thoughts on the Tigers 1-0 victory over the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALCS

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Red Sox ALCS Game 1

- This is the ultimate example about why PITCHING IS THE GAME.  All other factors pale in comparison.
- The Tigers have left too many runners on base in this game. It's the type of thing that can be haunting in the end.
- Fans are getting all over Joe West, the home plate umpire. I have no idea why MLB assigned him this game because of his many issues, but I do believe he is calling a good game

Michigan kept playing with fire and was finally burned by Penn State

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Thoughts after 6 innings, Tigers, Red Sox ALCS Game 1

- Anibal Sanchez has pitched some tremendous games since joining the Tigers near the trade deadline in 2012, but he has never had better command of the situation than he had after five innings. It was utter brilliance. David Ortiz is one of the best clutch hitters in recent MLB history. Striking him out with one out and a runner on second in the sixth was masterful, too. But the topper was 

Thoughts halftime Michigan, Penn State

- The turnovers by Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner are profoundly disappointing. He's a terrific talent, but it's almost like he turns over the ball two or three times each half. You see one extreme to the other. You know, like his brilliant run in the second quarter followed almost immediately by an inexplicable and inexcusable interception. The idea this is just his 11th start at QB and he

My prediction on the ALCS

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera difference for Detroit Tigers - again

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Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, A's, ALDS Game 5

Haven't heard much Justin Verlander bashing lately? Wonder why? This is truly a gem. It could one of those nights for the ages. We'll see.
- If you looked at the Tigers in the middle of the season, the two players fans had turned against the most were Verlander and Victor Martinez. It goes to show you how the game does, eventually, play to track records. Premier players eventually become premier

Thoughts after 3 1-2 innings,Tigers, A's, ALDS Game 5

- Oakland starter Sonny Gary doesn't have his good breaking ball tonight, and doesn't have a Plan B. It's kind of like Rick Porcello has been throughout much of his career, except with Porcello it's his two-seam fastball. Miguel Cabrera has been driving the ball deeper the last couple games, but it's been awhile since he's pulled one with that kind of authority. Again, he showed why he is the top

It's on Justin Verlander tonight - and that could be a great thing

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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Reports of the Tigers' demise were great exaggerated

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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Thoughts after 6 2-3 innings, A's, Tigers, ALDS Game 4

- The Giants won the World Series last year after facing six elimination games. Playoff baseball can turn on a dime. We're seeing a classic example tonight. This is a great game, which could turn into a classic. It's amazing considering how it began under a such dark cloud of the Tigers' hitting slump. Certainly the crowd noise has picked up at Comerica Park.
- Victor Martinez is the consummate

Thoughts after 5 innings, A's, Tigers, Game 4, ALDS

- The decision to put Jhonny Peralta back on the roster and in left field looks genius right now. That was a huge home run, one which could turn around the series.
- The Tigers are playing well defensively tonight. It's been a big factor in the game so far. Alex Avila, Torii Hunter and Prince Fielder have all made good plays defensively. Those plays kept the game from getting out of hand and

Monday, 7 October 2013

Detroit Tigers only have themselves to blame for dire situation

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Thoughts after 5 innings, A's, Tigers, ALDS Game 3

- The worst part for Anibal Sanchez is he got ahead in the count to Brandon Moss before Moss clubbed his home run. The second home run, by Seth Smith, was wind driven to left, but the conditions should work well for the Tigers because they have more right-handed thunder, at least by reputation, than the A's.
- Jim Leyland had little choice but to put left-hander Jose Alvarez into the game after

Thoughts after 4 innings, A's, Tigers, ALDS, Game 3

- The Tigers were kind of at the last-chance corral with moves to make to wake their slumping hitting attack. The last chance was Jhonny Peralta. The importance of his two-run single in the fourth inning can't be overstated. It was the type of moment which can change the course of a playoff series, especially a five-game set..
- Although he didn't exactly rip his base hit in the fourth inning, it

Thoughts after 3 innings A's, Tigers, ALDS, Game 3

- I'm sure there are many pointing to Miguel Cabrera's health as the reason he made the run-causing error at third base during the third inning. However, he moved relatively well to make a play earlier in the game and ripped a hit his first time up. He has hit the ball on the nose a few times in this series. His ailments are no excuse for the error. It was just a misplay.
- The A's have done a

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Detroit Lions surrendered to the moment - again - in Green Bay

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Thoughts after 3rd quarter Lions, Packers

- The Lions' secondary is often maligned, but it has done an excellent job in the scoring zone today. It's no small accomplishment. A strength of the Packers' receivers is production in the scoring zone. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is a master at the back-shoulder throw. None of it is working today, at least so far, because of the coverage of the Lions' defensive backs. Conversely, letting James

Thoughts at halftime Lions, Packers

- The Lions' offense without Calvin Johnson is like the Tigers' hitting attack with Miguel Cabrera ailing. It's just not the same. Detroit's defense is stepping forward today, though.
- I don't understand the thought process behind constantly throwing third-down passes short of first-down yardage, especially on out routes, and not slant passes caught in stride in which there is at least a chance

Thoughts after 1st quarter Lions, Packers

- Ah, there is so separation from the Lions wide receivers without Calvin Johnson out. The Packers' defense has crept a lot closer to the line of scrimmage.
- Holding the Packers to a field goal after a 15-play, 72-yard drive was beyond huge. Certainly, to this point, this game has been anything but the shootout some were expecting.
- A lot of people will be down on Ndamukong Suh for getting a

Detroit Tigers need home to be where the runs are

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Saturday, 5 October 2013

This Michigan victory was a step forward not back

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Thoughts after 3rd quarter Minnesota, Michigan

- I keep expecting Michigan's defense to be more stout, but it just isn't happening. Minnesota's offense is terrible by Big Ten standards, yet the Gophers have moved the ball surprisingly well. It looks to me like a team such as Northwestern will just roll against this defense. Maybe even Indiana, which remains defensively challenged, but has an underrated offense.
- Devin Gardner is playing much

Thoughts halftime Minnesota, Michigan

- Minnesota's doing the type of things necessary to give Michigan problems today. The Gophers are controlling the clock. They pinned the Wolverines against the goal line with a punt. They haven't turned the ball over. However, this is a team Michigan matches up with well. The Wolverines should win this game rather handily, in my opinion. It's a matter of Michigan opening up their offense a bit

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Minnesota, Michigan

- Michigan's defense has not looked good against strong-armed quarterbacks this year, but there is a different element in this game. Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner isn't much of a downfield passer, but he is a very good runner. He's like a big tailback at QB, kind of a more limited version of Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, and Tim Tebow when he played at Florida. He presents a unique challenge

Friday, 4 October 2013

Scherzer, Benoit equal ALDS driver's seat for Detroit Tigers

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Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 1 ALDS

- If the Tigers are protecting a one-run lead in the eighth, at some point they must consider using closer Joquin Benoit for more than an inning. He's certainly rested.
- If the Tigers lose this game, it will be every bit as much because of not taking an advantage of a vulnerable Bartolo Colon in the early innings as any pitching issues. Max Scherzer has pitched well by any standards tonight.

Thoughts after 6 innings, Tigers, A's ALDS Game 1

- Simply put, a horrible decision to send Victor Martinez home on Omar Infante's hit to right field. The ball was hit hard, Josh Reddick has a strong throwing arm and Victor Martinez is a painfully slow runner at this point of his career. There was only one out at that point. It wasn't a difficult play. It was simply the Tigers' running themselves out of potentially big inning.
- Oakland did an

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 1 ALDS

- Two things need to happen to make this a lot easier for the Tigers. Either they get a big lead or Max Scherzer goes at least seven innings. If it is within three runs and Scherzer isn't on the mound through the seventh inning, it will be far too close for comfort given the Tigers' suspect bullpen. Scherzer's pitch count (49) is far above ideal after three innings.
- The Tigers were so

Detroit Tigers playing for their legacy this postseason

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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Lions need to follow the Packers blueprint

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