Tuesday, July 29, 2014
On Joakim Soria's home debut with Tigers tonight vs. White Sox
|Soria: Not a good night|
Thoughts after five innings White Sox, Tigers Tuesday night
|Quintana: Been tough|
- Home plate umpire Clint Fagan's strike zone is all over the place. His call for a strike on Adam Eaton on Anibal Sanchez's change up in the fifth inning was brutal. Oh, and by the way, that FOX track box is off center tonight. Gosh, it's inaccurate.
- Yeah, the Tigers need J.D. Martinez's bat to wake up. It did with a triple. He has great power. He is one of those rare hitters who drives extra base hits, even if he doesn't center it perfectly. I think his recent slump was an aberration, not a trend.
- We'll see about Anibal Sanchez. He's been OK tonight, but the sixth and seventh innings have been his Waterloo recently. Will it be different tonight?
- I don't know what's more amazing, the Tigers have nine hits off a tough lefty, Jose Quintana, tonight in just five innings, or they only two runs to show for it.
On Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions and the concept of "we" vs. "me"
They have tabled their contract negotiations with Suh simply because the process isn't there.
The distraction reasoning given by the Lions' brass? Yeah, like it isn't still a factor.
It doesn't matter what the Lions offer Suh short of the ridiculous, it's clear he isn't going to sign it. It has always been the case.
The Lions kicked the can down the road by restructuring Suh's contract to free salary cap money to sign free agents such as Reggie Bush and Glover Quinn. It was a good plan except:
A) After getting to 6-3 and appearing ready to make a playoff push in 2013, the Lions collapsed and missed the playoffs.
B) When it became time for the Lions to sign Suh to an extension this off season and be in really good shape for the future, Suh not only didn't sign, he didn't negotiate.
Suh is about attention, from the talk about being "a once-in-a-generation talent" from his past representative, and the marketing of him as a brand name. It's tied at 3-3 for Suh's reality TV show and Pro Bowl appearances.
|Ndamukong Suh: About "me" not "we"|
Can you blame him? Well, it depends. It is turning his back on the Lions and subsequently their fans. It held back the team greatly in free agency this off season. It leaves the franchise holding the bag with nearly $10 million in "dead" salary cap money in the future, if Suh, as expected, leaves.
It shows the importance of this season for the Lions. They will have Suh, Stafford and Calvin Johnson in their prime likely for the last time. They have plenty of good parts around them.
You have to admire Suh in a way. People talk about the NFL like its a "team" game, but ultimately it's a "me" game. There is enormous risk for players. We've heard a lot lately from past players about that, and how they feel duped. It is the most brutal of all team sports by its very nature.
On the other hand, Suh is vastly overrated and overhyped. He is an excellent defensive tackle, arguably the best in the game since Atkins, who has been far more productive, was hurt. But he hasn't transcended the limitations of his position and been a truly impactful player since his rookie season.
The idea of him as a marketing icon and receiving QB money at this point is laughable - unless he plays this season like he did as a rookie.
The Lions desperately need that from Suh in '14. The NFL is the ultimate "live in the moment" league.
At this point, who cares about '15?
Especially for the Lions, it's all about now.
This is my 3-part series "Baseball Scouting, Past and Present: How it has changed, how it has remained the same:
Part 1 - http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140723/the-story-of-lou-dannunzio-and-how-a-scout-shaped-detroit-tigers-history
Part 2 - http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140724/even-greatly-enhanced-by-math-and-science-baseball-scouting-remains-an-art-form
Part 3 - http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140725/process-of-baseball-talent-evaluation-changed-but-remains-about-the-decision
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
On the Tigers trading for Rangers closer Joakim Soria
|Joakim Soria: Should be worth|
But Soria, even though he has never closed for a contender, should help the Tigers immensely. He is missing a lot more bats this season. If he's not the Tigers' closer, eventually replacing struggling veteran Joe Nathan, he definitely will help the late-inning match up game in the postseason, which is so important. His contract his reasonable. There is a club option for $7 million next season with a $500,000 buyout.
As for the planning part, the window of opportunity will never be wider for the Tigers. There is no dominant team in MLB this season. Max Scherzer is about to become a free agent, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander aren't getting any younger, Certainly Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter aren't, either.
Sure, ultimately this trade could come back to haunt the Tigers. We all the John Smoltz deal in this town, right? Chances are it won't, though. The idea for teams is to get in a position to be able to go for it. I can't blame the Tigers for doing so under the circumstances. Actually, I commend them for the deal. No risk, no reward.
My column. The story of Lou D'Annunzio and how a scout changed the course of Detroit Tigers' history: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140723/the-story-of-lou-dannunzio-and-how-a-scout-shaped-detroit-tigers-history
My Column. Matthew Stafford, the Detroit Lions and why there are no more excuses: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140721/matthew-stafford-detroit-lions-and-why-there-are-no-more-excuses-pat-caputo-says?source=most_viewed
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The predicament the Detroit Tigers must face with Joe Nathan
|No "certainty" for this scene in postseason|
But, honestly, do you envision that bullpen holding up that way in the postseason against the A's or the Angels or the Orioles or the Blue Jays or the Yankees or the best of the National League? I don't.I think this weekend at the Angels will be telling, especially in regard to their bullpen with Huston Street compared to that of the Tigers. In my opinion, the Tigers definitely need an insurance policy for Nathan.
He's a "maybe" and a "perhaps" at this stage. He might get it done. Then again, he might not. It's kind of like a game of chance.
The Tigers shouldn't be fooled by one night, or a couple. They need to add as much "certainty" to the equation as possible.
My column. Matthew Stafford, the Lions and why there are no more excuses: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140721/matthew-stafford-detroit-lions-and-why-there-are-no-more-excuses-pat-caputo-says
My column. Why the Tigers can't win the World Series without making significant moves at the trade deadline: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140720/detroit-tigers-cant-win-world-series-without-significant-trade-deadline-moves-pat-caputo-says
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Thoughts after 5 1-2 innings Indians, Tigers Sunday
|Drew Smyly: Sharp so far|
- When runners are on second and third with two outs, the Tigers need Miguel Cabrera to produce. His strike out to end the fifth might prove to be costly. the Tigers could used the extra runs, again, given the current state of their bullpen.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Hey, great for Derek Jeter, but what about Tram and Lou?
|Lou and Tram: Still no justice|
It does make you wonder if Tram and Lou played in New York, how different the perception of their careers would have been. Jeter is going to get a monument at Yankee Stadium. Tram and Lou can't even get a statue at Comerica Park.
Whitaker didn't even get named on the necessary five percent of ballots to remain in consideration after his first year. Trammell doesn't even close each year. Sure seems like an injustice to me, especially when juxtaposed to the iconic status Jeter has, justifiably, been given.
My column. Six reasons the Tigers are sitting pretty at the All Star break: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140713/six-reasons-the-detroit-tigers-are-sitting-pretty-at-all-star-break-pat-caputo-says?source=most_viewed
Monday, July 14, 2014
Justin Verlander, velocity (or lack of it) and what it means
Justin Verlander's velocity is significantly down.
And mot of his pitching statistics, across the board, are up. Verlander is 31. He has thrown so many pitches down through the years as kind of the lone "workhorse" remaining among MLB starting pitchers of his era.
Does it mean his career overall is on a downward track. I'm not so sure.
|Justin Verlander: It's puzzling|
I don't know if the core surgery Verlander had this off season is a culprit for his drop this season in comparison to the 2014 postseason when he was incredibly effective.
It does seem like every thing about the way he pitches these days is out of whack. His location with his fastball is way off. There is little snap with his breaking ball. His changeup doesn't look like the same pitch. It's more than lack of velocity, which seems to be more of a case of aiming the ball for accuracy because of lack of command.
If there is no arm- or shoulder related injury, I do think Verlander will bounce back. But there is no denying his lack of effectiveness. A 4.88 ERA? Yeah, Verlander struggled last season with a 6.48 ERA in May, but his ERA at All-Star break was 3.50. Verlander didn't rack up high strikeout totals last season, either, although he reached double digits twice in his final two regular season appearance, in only six innings, each for the first time since May. Maybe we'll see a repeat of last season, but it's certainly no given.
It would be naïve to believe this is a repeat of last season. It's clearly worse.
My column. Six reasons the Tigers are sitting pretty at the All Star break: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140713/six-reasons-the-detroit-tigers-are-sitting-pretty-at-all-star-break-pat-caputo-says
My column. What it would take to save Brady Hoke's job as football coach at Michigan: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140712/what-would-be-enough-to-save-brady-hoke-as-head-football-coach-of-michigan-wolverines-writes-pat-caputo?source=most_viewed
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Thoughts after 7 innings Dodgers, Tigers Wednesday
|Max Scherzer vs. Dodgers|
- The days of Matt Kemp being a truly great player appear to be over. Max Scherzer retired him remarkably easily to end the sixth inning with a runner on third. His OPS is under .800 and his WAR is minus 0.9. He has looked slow and lumbering in the field. Thing is, Kemp isn't even 30.
- It's been awhile since the Tigers' bullpen has been tested in a really close game. It will be today. Will it pass? I have to be honest, I'm not so sure. Scherzer threw 101 pitches through 7.
Why Don Kelly's RBI single in the first Wednesday off Zack Greinke wasn't a fluke
It wasn't. Kelly had actually had some success in the past against Greinke, going 3-for-8 entering the game. Oddly, he has similar success against a tough right-hander with the Indians, Justin Masterson. He has a career OPS of 1.230 against Masterson. Why? Because the one pitch Kelly can hit is a low inside fastball, especially a hard two-seamer. For most hitters, it's a difficult pitch, actually an outpitch for right-handers against left-handers. Yet, for forever reason, it's the one pitch Kelly can rake consistently.
It's similar repertoire to what other pitchers Kelly has had success against like Edwin Jackson.