Friday, April 20, 2007

Has The Other Shoe Dropped On The Red Wings?

Honestly, the Red Wings and the playoffs have become an unbearable combination. Like drinking and driving. Water and oil. Hate and marriage. Kids and matches. Losing two games in Calgary has taken away the luster from winning the first two games, and has led to a feeling of, "Here we go again." Having a 2-1 lead during the third period of Game Three and not holding it changed the complexion of the series. In the process, the Flames went from being the nail to the hammer. The Red Wings did not play that poorly Thursday. Todd Bertuzzi played very well after struggling on Tuesday. Dominik Hasek made several key saves. Pavel Datsyuk had pretty good jump. Even strength it isn’t even. The Red Wings have been far better than the Flames. But it is always something with the Red Wings in the playoffs. This year it is the special teams. Their penalty killing stinks. Their power play has been even worse. The Flames defense is depleted and not playing well. The Flames are barely surviving without Robyn Regehr. Yet, the Red Wings haven’t taken advantage of the situation. Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff has been typically outstanding, but the Red Wings just can’t maintain prosperity. They play on the road in the playoffs as if they are overwhelmed by the atmosphere. Another thing: Calgary’s fans care. I mean they really care. It is way more hectic for the opposing team there than it is at relatively docile Joe Louis Arena. Saturday’s game is obviously huge. If the Red Wings lose it, the series is in serious jeopardy. The truth is, the Red Wings had the series essentially won in the third period Tuesday. They let it get away. Can’t help but wonder if they let the season get away that night, too. Sure looked like it Thursday. Thing is, you want to give the Red Wings the benefit of the doubt. They have won three Stanley Cup titles the past decade. They are solid year after year. But since 2002, they have been Frustrated Incorporated in the playoffs. That loss Thursday was as frustrating as it gets. I am tired of making excuses for the Red Wings, and hearing them from others. There aren’t any.

Random Thoughts

- A-Rod has 15 extra base hits and 26 RBI in his first 57 at bats this season. That’s sick.

- Hate to say I told you so, but the Indians bullpen is beyond bad.

- Anybody else see Greg Oden as Sam Bowie and Kevin Durant as Michael Jordan?

- I don’t get the growing sentiment for Joel Zumaya to replace Todd Jones as Tigers closer. Seems like no matter how well Jones performs, if he has one bad outing, a large element of fans turn their back on him. It’s reality, but it isn’t fair.

- Michigan is better off without Alex Legion. The kid is an unabashed gunner who played for himself, not the team, when he was at Country Day.


Anonymous Nick P said...

Yo Yo Yo Book.
Vintage Wings baby, vintage wings.

Arod - I dont know if my opinions of anyone have ever changed so much. Mike & Mike were talking about it this morning, and A-Rod has the chance to save baseball. He needs a 74 HR season. Get Bonds out of the books. A-Rod may have his flaws, but at least there were no steroid allegations.

Quick Tigers note: Don't get me wrong, I love watching Zumaya, Verlander and Bonderman, but there is something about watching Nate go out there and just pitch his ass off. I don't think there could be a better compliment to our power arms than throwing nate out there.

9:18 AM 
Blogger John said...

Durant and Oden are Jordan and Akeem.

9:27 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
Unfortunately, you're right about the vintage Wings. This is just too typical. The perception of A-Rod is amazing. Here is somebody who is truly a great player, and nobody seems to like him. And he isn't that bad a guy. At the start of last season, I didn't think Nate Robertson was very good. Shows you how smart I am.

11:40 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Could be. Bowie wasn't that bad, but he just couldn't stay healthy.

11:41 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat, Babcock broke the cardinal rule, if it ain't broke don't fix it. True, Big Head Todd played like a monster on Thursday. Yet if the coach doesn't get Hudler back in the line up for Saturday's game, then the hockey gods will show Calgary the way to win on the road.

Every spring it seems to be the same question. Will the dock and pontoon boat be in the water before the Red Wings are out of the playoffs. One of these springs I'd like to cast a line on the water while the sun is going down and listening to Ken Kal and Woodsy on the radio. Someday, hopefully this year, and the Wings will meet the Rangers for the Cup.

I heard your interview with Paul Carey last night. That was truly a treat for this long time Tiger fan. I didn't realize that he started his broadcast career in '49 and he had done so much football and basketball play-by-play. Good to hear yourself on the air again.

11:59 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I know there are no such things as hockey gods, but if there were, they wouldn't accept the move. It just didn't make sense at the time. Lang, despite the assist on the Bertuzzi's goal, was awful in the third period. Maybe he sits and Hudler plays Saturday. It was great to talk to Paul. I didn't realize he started that long ago, either. It meant he broadcast for 42 years. What a good guy. Glad you enjoyed it. I know I did.

1:34 PM 
Anonymous Brian said...


I'm with you on Todd Jones. The guy was lights out pretty much the entire second half last year and he finally gives up a run. Plus I like the way the bullpen is structured anyway. Jones can come in, give up a hit or two, and it usually won't hurt us since he's coming in with nobody on. Let's use Zumaya when we need a strikeout.

This is off subject, but do you know anything about Burke Badenhop? He's almost outpitched Andrew Miller down in Lakeland and he's a fifteenth round pick (2005) with a 13/1 strikeout to walk ratio in 17 2/3 innings. I know it's early, but do we have another sleeper sitting down in the minors?

6:35 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Badenhop is considered a typical older pitcher very productive at low levels of the minor leagues who is expected to struggle when he moves up because he doesn't have great stuff. He is the same age as Jeremy Bonderman. If continues to dominate at Double-A, that perception could change.

8:39 PM 
Anonymous Brian said...

So wait and see because he could get eaten up at Erie?

And I'm sorry Pat. Badenhop was picked up the nineteenth round, not the fifteenth.

8:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, If A-Rod's stats are sick, how would you describe Sheffield's? Dave

2:37 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Sometimes guys like that make it, but most times they don't. It's because at the major league level, hitters recognize pitches so well and don't get themselves out against mediocre stuff. They don't fall behind in the count on their own. At some point, a major league pitcher has to pierce the heart of the plate and needs to have enough stuff to get away with it. They need an outpitch - because they throw hard or have a nasty other pitch. That is what is what Chad Durbin is lacking. It usually become obvious at Double-A because that is where the pure talent level is at its best in the minor leagues.

10:04 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That wasn't good Friday and he needs to get going. Can you imagine how they'd be all over the guy if he started out in New York like this? One of the advantages of playing in Detroit.

10:06 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Guys, Todd and Zumaya are not the problem with the bullpen. Everyone expects a closer to never give up a run. Not reasonable.

Unless the Tigers start hitting, the middle relief if going to get worn out. Grilli looks good enough, Zumaya and Jones are great. After that, hold your breath.

If/when Sheffield starts hitting it should relieve a lot of the pressure.

Going this afternoon to white Sox. Finally a nice day for baseball.

Pat, GREAT to hear you on the radio for a change!! Seems like baseball then! :-)


10:54 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book, great baseball game last night even if the wrong team won. Day baseball this weekend with temps in the 70's and Nate "Gum Time" Robertson on the bump. Does life get much better?

Well, personally, I thinlk Durbin pitched well enough to merit another start. Sheffield is starting to worry me. If he is still struggling at the plate like this on May 1 fans will be yelling "May Day". Polanco is such a gem. I'd love to see him make the roster for the mid-summer classic.

10:57 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Hey book it has been a while since I posted. I am with you all the way on the Tigers. I like this team. I don't get people. I think Jones is fine where he is. He isn't Rivera. Yes I still get nervous everytime he takes the hill. But 4 blown saves out of how many isn't all that bad. It is jsut too bad it came against the Royals.

I have to say that Rodney is killing the tigers early on in the season. I feel even more so then Durbin. The guy in my mind would be better served in garbage time relief when the game is not on the line. That or he needs to be sent down to work on his machanics cause he does not have it.

At the same time yeah it is a two game skid, but the I think Leyland needs to step in here and tell these guys yeah you are a good team now it is time to start acting like one.Get them back to that humble point. I think they will be all right. Its these games against the White Sox, Indians and Twins they can't keep blowing. Because if they are going to make it back to October then these are the games they have to win. this offense needs to pick up.

If you are a Pistons fan you have to love their road. I think the Bulls and Heat will beat each other up as will Toronto and NJ. The West is so good I think they will beat each other up. Like Billups said if they come out and play there game they will be on the money.

4:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I thought Friday they did OK considering they were using their bottom end of the pitching staff. I thought it was disappointing they scored four runs in the first and lost Saturday given how rested their staff is. This thing with Sheffield is a problem. I still think he will hit, though.

12:18 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
Agree with you about Polanco, although it would have been nice if he came through Saturday. Love the weather, too. Great for baseball.

12:19 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Good to hear from you again, my friend. Rodney is a key for them. He has to be better and more consistent than he has been so far or the Tigers will have a lot of problems.

12:21 AM 

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