Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Athletics or Yankees?

The Tigers odds of making the playoffs are high, but it is still very much in question whether they will get in as the American League Central champs or as a wild card entry. To me, it is imperative the Tigers win the division. If they do, they will likely open the playoffs at home against Oakland. If they are the wild card entry, they will likely open the playoffs on the road in New York. I can see a scenario developing where the Tigers beat Oakland in the opening round, with the Twins beating the Yankees. I like the Tigers chances in a series with Minnesota. They have had some success against the Twins this season, but seemed totally outclassed by the Yankees. Facing Oakland and Minnesota and avoiding the Yankees would definitely provide the Tigers best chance of getting to the World Series. Oakland is formidable, but the Athletics do not bring nearly the same type of thunder in their lineup as the Yankees. I think the Tigers pitchers have a chance to shutdown Oakland's lineup . I think they would struggle with the Yankees' hitters. Also, if the Tigers win the division, it would mean they are not backing into the playoffs. They would have a little momentum their side. Lets face it, the fact their wild card situation is solid has more to do with the apparent demise of the White Sox than their own success.

Random Thoughts

- When the Lions took Mike Williams in the first round of the draft, they made a big public spectacle of it, raising hopes for their ticket buying fans. They are paying him a boatload of money. In his brief appearances during the preseason, he actually played well. The fans deserve an explanation why the Lions are not playing Mike Williams. Rod Marinelli's refusal to answer questions about Williams causes more attention to be focused on the situation than deflecting it away. And it is typical of how the Lions continue to be poorly managed.

- If the Lions cannot beat Green Bay Sunday, who can they beat?

- The college football game I do not want to see: Indiana at Illinois on Oct. 7. I am not sure if either one of those sorry teams could win the MIAA. They are truly an embarrassment to the Big Ten.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Nick P said...

hey Book
first off the tigers MUST win their division. This has abosolutely nothing to do with matchups and everything to do with all i could get tickets to was home game 1 and home game 3. Gotta have that homefield to have a chance at that 3rd game!

Lions
Well Book, you dont have to worry about me any more, the effects of the seattle game koolaid are pretty much gone. Leave it to the Lions to create a situation where a first year, first time head coach could have a fan revolt after 3 games. In all seriousness, if this team loses to GB at home, where do they go from there? I dread to think. On the other hand, do we really want to see the lions win this game and march on to another 5-11 season?
Ug, lions, no joy, no hope. Quick Mike Williams question as he is the hot topic, do you think the decision to not play williams is going from martz, marinelli, or millen? i doubt its marinelli, but i can see reasons for either martz or millen. If it is millen and he's sabotaging his own draft pick, yet another reason to let this buffoon go.

One more Tigs thing item. We are shaping up for an amazing week and a half. After tonight we'll maybe up a half game, maybe down a half game, with the tigers having just an ever so slightly softer schedule than Min. Can't wait, gonna be fun to watch.

11:05 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
LOL on the tickets. Hope it works out for you one way or another and you see a lot of playoff baseball. You couldn't be more correct about next week. It seems most fans are a little disappointed the Tigers haven't played better lately - and its understandable - but next week is what we have waited for around here for a long time. Every game and every pitch will mean something. It could go right down to the last day with something on the line. On Mike Williams, I'm pretty sure it's not Millen, but probably Martz. He has control of the offense and you have to assume the personnel used in that offense.
Caputo

11:50 AM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

I have a new marketing campaign for Minnesota ...."We are Borg, resistance is futile." What is it with those guys, anyway? Do they ever lose?

I like the Tigers chances against Oakland in the playoffs, too. But I don't see us beating the Twins or Yankees. If our bats would come around, I think we could take Minnesota. But I'm skeptical that we're going to get back to the level we were at earlier in the season.

As for the Lions, I think it's shaping up to be a 3 or 4-win season. If the Packers get up on them early Sunday, it's over. They'll roll over and play dead. I have absolutely zero faith in the team or the organization as a whole. That performance against the Bears was beyond pitiful.

12:00 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
The Twins are relentless. They have to face Schilling and Beckett the next two nights, but it wouldn't surprise me if they beat them. They seem to have captured the momentum the Tigers had earlier. The Twins schedule down the stretch is easy, too. The Orioles aren't very good, they have the Royals at home for four games and the White Sox will probably be cooked by the time that last series rolls around. I have said I think the Tigers will win the division, but am wavering on that one. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd probably put my moola on the Twins about now. The thing with the Lions is they don't seem to have any plan. It's like "we're going to change the attitude." OK, but what about building a solid roster.
Caputo

12:58 PM 
Blogger garold said...

Pat,

I thought you liked these tight races?!! *LOL* Relax, the way I see it, the Tigers should be taking batting practice at The Copa on Oct, 3rd, before hosting the Athletics... the schedules still favor Detroit! I think the White Sox will provide some needed help, and win the series at the Homer Dome; possibly taking the Wildcat.

I also think that Schilling will beat the Twins tonight, although they have been crippled with Manny out of action. The Twins rotation is more screwed up than the Tigers for these remaining games, and they have no off days for any adjustments, other than pitching on 4 days rest, while the Chisox have next Thursday off, to have more adjustment space.

It looks like the Tigers will miss both Halladay and Burnett, and they really need to take advantage, with winning both of those games at home. They'll need to continue their mastery over K.C., and take both series -- 5 games to 2. I think you have to reserve either Bonderman or Verlander for the last game, just in case they need it; both have had the Royals number.

Bonderman's playoff spot in the rotation just might hinge of tonight's game in Chicago. He hasn't pitched there this year, and we still don't know if he's developed the kahoonies to step up in a big game. I'm not sure how this one will go, but I think it will have to do more with the success of the hitters, and Leyland getting Bondo out of the game, and relying on all those rested arms in the bullpen; just save Rodney for tommorrow! Thames needs to be DHing tonight over Stairs.

The Tigers need to win today or tomorrow to avoid a meltdown; better today than tomorrow. It's just too bad that Bonderman won't pitch in K.C.! With this game, Detroit might have been better off throwing Robertson out there for 3-4 innings, followed by Maroth/Miller, but....

I'm not sure if Leyland deserves manager of the year, but maybe if Detroit can finish strong. Some of his decisions down the stretched may have caused an uneasiness and doubt, and I do believe the team is afraid of him. Hopefully, they can focus on winning one for Leyland tonight, and boost their confidence level. Do you ever wonder if the players get discouraged when Neifi is on the lineup card AGAIN, with Omar on the bench, and a pitcher coming back out to the mound, after being POUNDED the inning before, only to have it continue? I don't know; I agree they aren't in this position without him, and he does know how to manage this to the end, RIGHT?

3:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Garold,
You might be right about the Twins. I have thought the same way about that team, and the schedules, but am starting to change because the Twins just don't seem to lose. I thought Leyland was a lock for Manager of the Year, but if I had a vote (I don't, but am voting in Rookie of the Year), I would probably vote for Gardenhire at this point. I still believe Leyland is a great manager, but Gardenhire has been at least as impressive this season. It's amazing how bad that team was at the start of the year and how good it is now.
Caputo

7:57 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Indiana is as big of an embarrasment to the big ten football as the lions are to the NFL. Illinois has had some ok teams. I hate to say this, but I wouldnt be surprised if MSU beats notre dame. I mean I think Notre dame was way overly hyped this year. I just don't think they are that good. YEah they will probably get on a run against Navy and Stanford but who cares.

We shouldn't even be talking Mike Williams. We should be talking about Shawn Merriman or Ware and how they are just blowing up the opponents. Last year we should have went out and got some O-line help and corners as we needed them. Instead all millen does is bring in garbage after garbage. He brought hakim back where is shroeder. You drafted mike williams I like him for a guy up the middle and a great end zone target. Shades of herman moore days. he is bag and strong, plus when given the opportunity he has shown the ability to catch the ball. Millen is just a jackass and should be shipped right out of here on the same raft as Randy Smith and heck take stinking nefi perez with you haha.

As for them tigers. very impressive. Way to go Bonderman. This is the guy that we need. if he can some how get it right and be consistent. If the tigers when the division and play oakland. I personally gurantee them to be in the ALCS. you heard it right here on the BLOG.

2:49 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sept. 21st A Baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings. Earl Wilson I wish i had said this as it fits me well. Vinny

9:20 AM 
Anonymous garold said...

Pat,

Wasn't it great seeing the Tigers step up and TAKE that game last night?! That was a total team effort. These guys really don't want to let Jim Leyland down; they really care about winning the Central, and finishing with the best record in the AL. Top to bottom -- Leyland's decisions, the hitting of Granderson, Pudge, Mags, Inge, and Thames, the stellar defense of the infield and Ordonez, the pitching of Bondo, Zoom-bya, and Jonesie... an AWESOME GAME, that was a lot of fun scoring! Book, you have been vindated on your support guys who have sometimes struggled, but are showing their stripes when it matters. Before this season ends, Omar Infante will be a big hero too!

Sooner or later, the Twins will go through a 2-3 game slide, as the remaining sands pass through the hour glass. They are due, and hopefully, Chicago will close the gap to make an exciting finish to the season in Minnesota. We're still on top though, and Detroit has gotten pretty relentless itself all year, when the danger of slipping out of 1st presents itself. Today is another huge game, and I'm glad Nate will be on the hill. We ARE winning the Central; make no mistake about it, and I'll bet we finish better than the Yankees, as well, for that important home field advantage.

Looks Roy Halladay might be done for the season, so the series with Toronto gets easier. Rogers needs to start the playoffs, so perhaps he and Ledezma will get flip-flopped next week. That would allow the Tigers to set their 1-2 punch, with Robertson on the backside, while having either Verlander or Bonderman for the last game of the season, depending on who they want to be the 3rd starter for the first game at Oakland.

I might be getting ahead of things here, but what did Gibby always say..."you have to visualize it first." I'm both happy and proud about our Tigers' return to competitive baseball, but I still can taste the whole enchilada. Pass the hot sauce, please.

10:24 AM 
Blogger I rule said...

Book - good call on the Pirhannas getting the best of Schilling and Boston. Watching the Tigers game I didn't see anything but the occasional updates, but the box score tells the story. Boston's bullpen ahead of Papelbon is abysmal. Minnesota made Schilling throw 104 pitches in 5 innings work, and the writing was on the wall. They're relentless.

The Tigers had a beautiful game last night -- the way it's supposed to be played. They had very few wasted at-bats, hit to the opposite field, advanced runners, crushed bad pitches, and played some great defense (including Ordonez who I've been quick to criticize). It was a clinic. What I liked most about the game, however, was Leyland and Pudge settling down Bonderman when it appeared he was headed for another meltdown. The skipper was worth his weight in gold last night.

10:30 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
Bonderman was terrific. He got out of jams in the first and sixth innings, including getting Thome and Konerko at key times. That was definitely a step in the right direction for him. I have no idea, honestly, how the Notre Dame-MSU game is going to play out. Notre Dame will be motivated on a couple fronts, including last week's loss to Michigan and their loss to MSU last season - and the flag planting. State played great at Pitt. Seems like the Spartans defense is better, but they haven't handled success well in the past.
Caputo

11:02 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Vinny,
Ah, Earl Wilson - maybe the greatest hitting pitcher of all time. Won 22 games for the Tigers in '67. Was a great guy who is missed.
Caputo

11:03 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Garold,
I am not always sure the Tigers are that good, but they don't flinch. They give you all they have all the time. That's a reflection on Leyland. It's also a reflection on their players. Guys like Ordonez and Granderson have played hard through some bad slumps. It is paying off.
Caputo

11:06 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I Rule,
That was a wonderful game by the Tigers. They put together hits. Bonderman and Zumaya pitched very well. Infante and Inge make excellent plays defensively. It reminded me of how the Tigers played early in the season when they built their big lead. Perhaps it is sign they are snapping out of it just in time.
Caputo

11:09 AM 
Blogger I rule said...

The big concern throughout their slump was hitting. They seemed to be swinging at anything and everything. Opposing pitchers weren't having to work that hard, and we stop grinding out wins.

Lately they have been a lot more patient and gotten better pitches to hit. Ordonez looks like he's seeing the ball much better. Even Granderson has been a factor of late. I'd like to see them put Guillen in the 3 spot. The only reason that I can rationalize why they haven't is that he helps Mags get some better pitches to hit. Using Stairs (vs. righties) and Monroe (vs. lefties) in the 5 spot makes more sense to me. The guys who've delivered the biggest hits and consistently driven in runs have been Ordonez and Monroe, so why wouldn't you give them more opportunities by slotting your best hitter in front of them?

3:20 PM 
Blogger Scubbaman said...

Scubbaman is #1. I know my sports give me a chance and respect me.

I respect you.

2:12 AM 

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