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:

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:

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:

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:" title="Fox 2 News Headlines">Fox 2 News Headlines

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mediocrity sure to ensue if the Lions continue Friday's comedy of blunder

My column.

Our FOX SportsWorks round table discussion on Lions:" title="Fox 2 News Headlines">Fox 2 News Headlines

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thoughts halftime Jaguars, Lions Friday

Ndamukong Suh: Bad penalty
- Unbelievably bad penalty taken by Ndamukong Suh in the second quarter. Right there is the type of thing that holds him back from the genuine greatness he is capable of achieving as an NFL player. So he lit up Jags' QB Chad Henne? What was the point?
- For an undrafted player, who has bounced around the league a little bit, Lions' defensive end candidate George Johnson does show considable promise. His sack tonight wasn't that unexpected. He does show a lot of explosion off the edge, especially for a player who didn't even come close to double digits sacks during any of his seasons at Rutgers.
- Way too many penalties tonight for the Lions. Not a good sign.
- Beautiful catch and run by Eric Ebron on the first play of the second quarter. His potential is unlimited, and he should show brilliance sooner instead of later.
- Boy, you can really see live just how much mustard Jacksonville rookie QB Blake Bortles has on his fastball. A rocket. He does seem to have some accuracy issues, though.
- Darius Slay is playing very well tonight. Heads up play at the end of the quarter when Bortles faked clocking the ball.

Thoughts after 1st quarter Jaguars, Lions Friday

- Reggie Bush is a 29-year-old running back, but still has outstanding speed. It was very impressive how he pulled away from the Jacksonville secondary on his 86-yard TD run. Equally as impressive was the hole the Lions' offensive line created on the play. There was a time, not long ago, when the Lions' offensive line's run blocking was decidedly mediocre. Not any more. It is actually very good.
- It didn't take long for the Lions to get Nick Fairley on the field. Considering he has taken his demotion the right way, working hard rather than pouting, it would be surprising if he isn't starting Week 1 vs. the Giants on Monday Night Football. Talent-wise, he obviously belongs on the field as much as possible.
- Matthew Stafford started slowly tonight, and it does mean something. His interception came off a disguised coverage (on a zone blitz). That's where his turnover issues have come in the past. He just has to be more consistent with his reads if the Lions are going to get the most out of their considerable talent offensively.
- I've never been much for the zone blitz (where defensive lineman drop in coverage, essentially switching places with linebackers and defensive backs), but you must give the Jags' Andre Branch credit. Those were very impressive ball skills for a player technically a defensive lineman.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My thoughts on Rick Porcello and the Tigers' 6-0 victory over Tampa Bay Wednesday

Thoughts after 7 1-2 innings Tigers, Rays Wednesday

- The Tigers lack of power has been alarming. That home run by Victor Martinez is the type of thing that can turn around offensive slumps. It was beyond clutch for a club that has been struggling so much to slug the baseball.
- This is Rick Porcello at his very best. The Rays can't help but hit on the top of the baseball. He's been brilliant so far.
- Ian Kinsler isn't pounding the ball, but he is putting it in play. Huge hit tonight after a couple key bloopers last night. The Tiger  can't say they aren't falling for them, because they are. The times when they really sting the ball are few and far between, however.

My column. Tigers should understand fan noise, avoid blame game:

My thoughts on the Tigers 8-6 victory over Tampa Bay Tuesday

My column. Why Brad Ausmus has been more a victim than the cause for the Tigers' struggles: