Archive for April, 2007

Sunday: 04.29.2007

Welcome Calvin Johnson


#1 pick from the Detroit Lions, Calvin Johnson, throws out the first pitch at Sunday’s game just a day after being selected by the Lions. (Courtesy of Yahoo.com)

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, selected from Georgia Tech by the Detroit Lions with Saturday’s #2 overall pick has already been introduced to sports fans in the Motor City. Johnson threw out the first pitch before Sunday’s win against the Minnesota Twins. I absolutely loathe general manager Matt Millen and think he should have taken lineman Joe Thomas from Wisconsin, but Johnson was not a horrible alternative.

A lot of attention is paid to bounty of receivers taken by Douchebag Millen in recent history, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t take Johnson. Charles Rogers was in fact a bust once he broke his collarbone and just seemed to fizzle and Mike Williams never should have been taken at #10 after not playing for almost 20 months while transitioning into the NFL. And of course, Roy Williams has been a stud. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is going to have fun with Williams & Johnson if Johnson is as good as advertised. The rest of Millen’s draft was right in line with his past: complete crap.

Quarterback Drew Stanton from Michigan State was a reach and I doubt he will pan out and I think either defensive end from Georgia (Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson) would’ve been markedly better picks than the guy he took from Hawaii. As I look at this list again, my blood pressure continues to skyrocket, so I’m just going to leave it at that. If Johnson cashes in on the Hall of Fame talent he is said to have, the others will be forgotten no matter how bad, but for now we just have to wait & see.

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Sunday: 04.29.2007

Buying Low-Selling High

Most of you that read this site know that I also write articles for Sportsblurb.com. It looks like we’re going to be moving a lot of our content over to a site called SportsGrumblings.com. My two latest offerings cover early struggles and hot starts and when to cut bait or hold tight. They can be found here:

1st installment
2nd installment

I desperately need a new headshot as that one is nearly four years old.

Sunday: 04.29.2007

Wonderful Walk-Off!

The Tigers entered game three with Minnesota trying to avoid a sweep. The problem was they were about to face Johan Santana, so a sweep was all but locked up for the Twins. I guess no one told Magglio Ordonez that Santana is baseball’s best pitcher. Or if they did, he just doesn’t care. With his effort today, Ordonez has a .429 career average with four home runs and 14 runs batted in against the lefty. His 2-run homer helped the Tigers jump out to a lead, but it was Brandon Inge‘s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth that finished off the Twins today. The homer, his fourth, can’t mask just how much Inge is struggling as his 3-for-3 performance today raised his average to .156. Chew on that for a second… 3-for-3 raised it to ONE FIFTY SIX!!!!

There is no in between with this Tigers lineup right now. They are either raking or getting raked over the coals. The OPS of the starters in today’s lineup:

I.Rodriguez – .779
P.Polanco – .860
G.Sheffield – .619
M.Ordonez – .951
C.Guillen – .908
C.Monroe – .561
M.Thames – .690
B.Inge – .462
C.Granderson – .875

Wow, some of these numbers would barely stand up as slugging percentages let alone as OPS totals. The first month is nearly in the books, so while we don’t need to pound the panic button, we might need to start making our way over to it. If I see Craig Monroe do the “swing through a pitch so hard that you end up with only one hand on the bat and do the helicopter twirl afterwards” one more time, I’m going to scream. You can’t fix everything with a home run, Craig. I am now a little worried that Inge’s newfound patient approach is something of a detriment as he seems to be taking pitches for the sake of taking them and letting some great ones go to waste. Of the three struggling the most, I’m (for obvious reasons) most confident in Sheffield getting back on track. In fact, with hits in five of his last six, he’s come from .119 to .193. Still plenty of work to be done, but I think he’s finding his stroke. He’s also sporting a remarkable .350 on-base percentage despite the early season slump.

I love avoid the sweep and beating Santana, but I’m definitely missed at the series loss to the Twins. I thought without Francisco Liriano and very suspect starters behind Santana, they wouldn’t be such a threat. Though early, they have fought through that loss as well as the loss of Brad Radke to retirement. Carlos Silva has righted himself, for now and Ramon Ortiz has the beginnings of a career-year on his hands. I’m still leary of trusting him from a fantasy standpoint because he has been so awful in recent seasons.

The win today assured the Tigers with a better than .500 record for the first month of the season and they can end at 14-11 with a win over Baltimore tomorrow. Jeremy Bonderman faces Daniel Cabrera.

Tuesday: 04.17.2007

Tragedy Strikes


The Washington Nationals (including former Tiger Dmitri Young) wore Virginia Tech caps to honor the lives lost in Monday’s massacre in Blacksburg, VA.

By now, everyone knows the horrific events that went down yesterday in Blacksburg, VA at the Virginia Tech campus. The effect of 32 deaths resonates into the lives of hundreds, the online Tigers nation being no exception. Brian Bluhm, a frequent contributor to both the Detroit Tigers Weblog and the Motown Sports forum, was one of the victims of yesterday’s massacre. I never personally interacted with Bluhm, at least not to my knowledge, but it still to awful and has definitely affected the Tigers online community as a whole. My thoughts and prayers with family and friends of Mr. Bluhm.

For more:
Detroit Tigers Weblog
Detroit Tiger Tales
The Wayne Fontes Experience
Mack Avenue Tigers
Danny Knobler
Motown Sports Thread

Tuesday: 04.17.2007

The Best Way to Fix An Offense?

Just have Kansas City visit! The Tigers are have put up 17 runs in 14 innings so far against the Royals with game 2 still underway. And today’s damage comes against Jorge De La Rosa who had his way with the Tigers back on April 6th. Despite the offensive surge, Gary Sheffield and Craig Monroe are still hitting below the Mendoza Line meaning things could get even better when they start to ramp it up.

The Tigers have quietly amassed an American League-high eight wins through 13 games with a 5-2 lead in game 14. You might suspect that total to be even a bit higher if Kenny Rogers was available. Even still, I’m quite happy with the early part of the season.

Friday: 04.13.2007

Game 9: Binging on Tomo Ohka

See? There was nothing to worry about with Brandon Inge. I don’t know that anyone was legitimately worried and thinking his season was toast, but I do feel that some unnecessary hoopla surrounded his sluggish start. He is now 3 for his last 8 with a home run (his first of the season) and three runs batted in. The Tigers are now on a 3-game winning streak, an AL best and second only to, who else, the St. Louis Cardinals and their 4-game winning streak.

My least favorite thing of game nine was Curtis Granderson back to his old ways with three strikeouts. That is five strikeouts in his last nine at-bats for a total of 12 in 36 at-bats for the season. He is striking out 33% of the time already this year! One of my biggest hopes coming into the 2007 season was that Granderson would significantly cut back on a disgustingly high 174 strikeouts from 2006. In the early going, it does not look like he will make any significant cutbacks on his alarmingly high totals.

I was working during the game, so I only saw bits and pieces, but Mike Maroth‘s final line looks solid. If he gets back on track to where he was headed a year ago, that will definitely ease the loss of Kenny Rogers and the necessary usage of Chad Durbin. I’m not trying to throw Durbin under the bus after one start, but I’m also going to make sure I have tempered expectations about what he can do in Rogers’ absence.

Opening Day redux tomorrow with Jeremy Bonderman facing Roy Halladay again. Gametime is 6:07 because Canadians are weird! 😀

Friday: 04.13.2007

Games 7 & 8: Grinding Out Some Wins

It wasn’t pretty two nights ago, but it was last evening and the Tigers leave Baltimore with the series win. Brian Roberts threw away the game last night and the Tigers pounced (pun intended) on the opportunity. Tonight, Adam Loewen matched Justin Verlander nearly pitch for pitch allowing eight hits between the two of them in 12 innings of work. The regulation nine innings ended at 0-0 as the game went into 12 innings before Craig Monroe cracked a game-winning grand slam!

My Brandon Inge prediction failed last night because he didn’t play, but he did come through tonight with his first hit of the season! He’s now 1-for-25 for a .040 batting average. Inge’s struggles are only a part of the team-wide struggles at the plate as they still weren’t able to get right in Baltimore. The team was 26-for-109 (.239) scoring just nine runs in the three games. That said, it was enough to get the job done and they leave with a series victory and the AL Central lead.

Listening to ESPN’s podcast called Baseball Today with Alan Schwarz and a bevy of guests from the ESPN landscape, a few of the guys are looking for the Blue Jays to pick up the series victory (meaning they will take three of the four, no ties) this weekend. I see them as having one legitimate starter in Roy Halladay and then a bunch of mush. If the bats finally wake up, then we should grab the series despite being away from Comerica.

Tuesday: 04.10.2007

Predictions Are Stupid Anyway!

Jim Leyland went ahead and smoked my prediction before game 7 even started as Neifi Perez gets the starting nod over Brandon Inge. There’s always a pinch-hit opportunity, I guess.

Tuesday: 04.10.2007

Stolen Thunder

Well, I had been absent for a few days and so I guess that’s what I get for dropping the ball. I was going to talk a bit about Brandon Inge and his early season woes, but Billfer beat me to the punch yesterday! While Inge isn’t concerned and thinks he’s really close, Billfer is a tad less optimistic. I tend fall somewhere in between the two. Billfer points to Inge’s contact rate being 6% off of his career rate as a negative whereas I see that as reason to easy up on the panic button. Inge thinks he is taking perfect swings, but dealing with a bit of bad luck. Could it be that perhaps, as Billfer says, Inge’s newfound level of patience has been a detriment? I would say no. Frankly, it is just too early to make sweeping judgments one way or the other. I am impressed with the effort by Billfer as always, though. I’ll go ahead with my first in-season prediction and say that Inge gets his first hit tonight against Jaret Wright, who enters the game with a 15.43 ERA.

Friday: 04.6.2007

2007 Season Picks

With an off-day for the team yesterday, I figure now is as good a time as any to roll out my 2007 Predictions. Actually, before the season would’ve been better, but I didn’t get to posting them here in time. Here are my division and award winners:

American League East – New York Yankees
American League Central – Detroit Tigers
American League West – Los Angeles Angels
American League Wildcard – Boston Red Sox

It is tough to leave the Minnesota Twins on the outside looking in, but I’m not a fan of their rotation after Johan Santana. In fact, I’m not sure that they are fans of their rotation after Santana.

American League MVP – Grady Sizemore
American League Cy Young – Johan Santana

With three homers already, it looks like I’m merely joining the Grady Sizemore bandwagon. Au contraire. In fact, anyone that knows me, knows full well that I’ve been driving the bandwagon for some time. I had Sizemore pegged for a monstrous season and he’s jumped out of the gate quite nicely. As for Cy Young, you’d have to be a fool to bet against Santana. He is so damn good.

National League East – Philadelphia Phillies
National League Central – Milwaukee Brewers
National League West – Arizona Diamondbacks
National League Wildcard – New York Mets

I love the baby snakes in the West. It’ll be tough for them to come away victorious, but that division is wide open.

National League MVP – Carlos Beltran
National League Cy Young – Ben Sheets

Again, Ben Sheets looks like a pick made after seeing his Opening Day start. It wasn’t, but that only helped. Frankly, if anyone made a season long prediction based on one game of the season, they’d be be foolish.

Playoffs:
LAA over NYY
DET over BOS
LAA over DET

NYM over MIL
PHI over ARZ
PHI over NYM

LAA over PHI

I want to pick the Tigers to win it all, and I have the utmost confidence that they can, but I’m too superstitious and think that my picking them would jinx it.