Monday, April 30, 2007

That Third Period Was A Real Stinker

Sometimes a team gets just what they deserve. Certainly that was the case Monday night when the Red Wings lost to San Jose in Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinal series. The Red Wings played very well for half the game. But it was disappointing the way they performed after San Jose tied it. That was especially true of the way San Jose dominated the third period. Goaltending is not a problem. The only reason the Red Wings were reasonably in the game was because of Dominik Hasek. The big concern in this series is the way Joe Thornton kind of just took over Monday. He is the best forward in the series and he does every thing well. Once he gets it cranked up, the Sharks feed off him. That was the case Monday. On the road, the Red Wings have trouble matching up with him because they don’t get the last line change. Kris Draper had been doing a good job of shadowing Thornton. Wednesday's game is obviously key. The Red Wings must get the home ice advantage back. But in order to do so, they must finish what they start. That obviously wasn’t the case Monday.

Random Thoughts

- There is a lot to like about Brandon Inge. He is an extraordinary athlete. He is a product of the Tigers minor league system. He has rare versatility. He is a genuinely good guy who does well when speaking to the media. He definitely gives back to the community. He has a lot of power for a little guy. There are times when he makes spectacular plays at third base. The downside to Inge is his inconsistency. It makes it very difficult, ultimately, to gauge just how effective he really is.
Sunday he was great. He went 3-for-3. He hit a game-winning home run against the Twins when the Tigers really needed it. Yet, he was one of the major reasons factors the Tigers were reeling in the first place. He entered Sunday with a .122 batting average. In the previous two games, both losses, Inge was 0-for-7 with four strikeouts. He has just 12 hits in 77 at bats this season, but has won the Tigers two games - the one Sunday and one earlier in Toronto - with his power. It’s the same defensively. Inge will make a brilliant play one moment - and then mess up a routine throw to second base to start a double play the next. Because he is signed long-term and is a homegrown product, Inge is a very important piece of the Tigers’ puzzle. They need him to be less of an up-and-down entity if they are going to get to where they want to go.

- I didn’t like the Lions draft after the first round. I would have liked it a lot more if they had taken Michigan middle linebacker David Harris with their second round pick. Not that I don’t like Drew Stanton, but he just didn’t seem to fit there. Time will tell. Who knows? Maybe Stanton to Calvin Johnson will be the next great pitch-and-catch tandem in the NFL. It just doesn’t seem like it at this point.

- Reason No. 2,345 the Red Wings front office knows what they are doing: Daniel Cleary. What a great acquistion that was, eh?

- I just have this picture in my mind of Ben Wallace shooting free throws against the Pistons in the playoffs. It must be a comforting thought to Piston fans, who based on the way they booed Big Ben at the line during the regular season, seem to relishing the thought of being on the other side of that fence.


Anonymous Nick P said...

Yo Yo Yo Book,
Great sports weekend. I was downtown Saturday and Sunday, great weather, all the bars were packed, good sports, just overall great time.
As far as inge goes, I've been up and down on him since he became a tiger. Like you said, maddeningly inconsistent. I think we definately need to upgrade 3rd and 1st also, but I'd put the 1B upgrade as the higher priority.

Lions draft. Eh, nothing special. One thing I was wondering. If the Browns could move up and get Quinn, why couldn't the Lions have made the same moves? Lions originally had the 34th pick and Cleve 36th, why not make the same offer to Dallas? How good would this draft have looked if we came away with Quinn & Johnson? Shows a reall lack of imagination from millen.
You said it yourself, very unimpressed after the first round. Anyone who has watched a down of football knows millen had to take Johnson, it was the easiest pick in the world. But after the gimme, Millen did nothing. Stanton, eh, ok, maybe, maybe not.

9:19 AM 
Anonymous Joe E said...

-Inge's offense is unacceptable. How many games would the Tiger's have won if their third baseman could hit a steady .250? Sometimes all you need is a flyball or a grounder to the rightside to contribute. The high strikeout total is just unacceptable.

-The Lions were forced into drafting a QB so high this year by their mistake in last years draft(Mike Williams). If they had taken Leinart or Cutler last year, they could have went with a LB in round two this year. It takes at least two years (if you're lucky) to develop a QB. So Kitna starts this year and hopefully Stanton can start in 2008.

10:23 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
It was a great weekend. Now if the NBA and NHL can just figure out the Red Wings and Pistons don't have to play on the same day...They wouldn't say this, but I get the feeling the Lions thought more of Stanton than of Quinn. They just like him. And Millen and creativity just don't go together.

10:35 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Joe e,
Inge hit .253 last season with decent power numbers. I think that's acceptable. But not what he has done so far this season. And it would be better for the Tigers if his production were less streaky and more steady. I have said this before, Ernie Sims is a good player, but the Lions may have passed on a great QB to take him.

10:38 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inge is going to win the Gold Glove someday.

11:34 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

He may, but he will have to stop making as many errors on simple plays. His inexperience at third base sometimes shows up on his footwork when he makes throws.

11:36 AM 
Anonymous jpleezy said...

Hey Pat,

I think Cleveland definitely had the best draft of any team yesterday. They take two of the top five best players in the draft. It may have been a little bit of a blow for Quinn waiting so long, losing money, and having Cleveland pass over him earlier, but ultimately their decision to draft Thomas first will benefit him quite a bit in the long run.

Assuming Eric Wright can stay out of trouble, which Cleveland must be thinking, they got 3 of the top 15 best players in the draft talent wise. Some may think Cleveland "reached" for Brady by trading away a future first to get him, but c'mon I'd rather have him with a year in the system under his belt than Brian Brohm next year. I wish the Lions would've done something similar, I don't think Stanton has the same "it" quality that Quinn does. I really think Quinn's experience under an NFL-caliber head coach will benefit him much more than Stanton's five years in that joke of a program under John L. in East Lansing.

12:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree about the Browns. Their offense has been horrible and they got some great key parts in the draft. Quinn may be more determined because of what happened on draft day, he does have some good receivers to throw to and the line will be better with Thomas. Why wait a year on a QB? Quinn will be developing this year in the NFL. Again, the Browns have to start winning at some point. They have spent too much time fooling around. It's almost like the Lions brass was trying to buy more time with the Stanton pick.

12:30 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

I don't understand the love for Brady Quinn. Maybe you all saw a different player than I did the last two years. He looked like a good quarterback, but he never looked special, and was awful when he was playing from behind, or needed to make a play. He played his worst when the pressure was on, or at least it seemed that way to me. I can say that the best college quarterback that I saw last year was Troy Smith. He just was so natural at the position, and always seemed to make the right reads and hit the right guys. Of course he goes as the last pick in the 5th round, and Brady Quinn is considered a better value at the bottom of the first round. I just don't get why so many people are enamored with Mr. Quinn, but so few people are enamored with Mr. Smith.

2:17 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Book where to begin.

ON the Lions Draft. I don't think anybody is disappointed about Calvin Johnson. If you took him great if you took someone else great. When I got back from the Tiger Game Saturday it was right before they drafted Stanton I saw Harris still available and I was like wow. The lions are getting it right. Lets be honest They could of drafted Harris where they drafted Stanton, Then when they moved up to get the Hawaii kid They could of easily gotten stanton, troy smith and or edwards. Parris Lennon or David Harris? The whole Josh Mccown thing was a Big Joke. What a waste of time that was and a slap in the face to us fans. They say the defense is better. I think Millen is still suffering from post career head drama. he should see a doctor immediatley. I really think that Millen is starting to make Randy Smith seem like a Genious. You had all the right ideas for this draft just made all the wrong decissions.

I thought the best two teams in the draft were Carolina and I really like the 49ers moves. They got an absolute stud in Willis. Throw in staley. They are quietly building back up to playoff contention.

I tell you what when I was at the game Saturday. I think it was Inge's first or second at bat. I said to my buddy. Here is a quick out. Takes one - two pitches down the middle. Then whiffs on the third pitch. Yes he has a moment, but they are way to far and in between. I like I Inge I want him to do well. I and a few others at the game all agree that it would of been best to give him a 1 year deal and see what he does. If he duplicates last years numbers then you sign a number 9 hitter like that, but he has shown no consistency and i hope the contract doesn't come back to bite us.

I tell you what I enjoyed this weekend. I normally wouldn't stay up for Warriors vs Mavs. but those were some pretty darn good games and it was a joy to watch the pitty on Cuban's face. Now what money bags.

I think the wings are in trouble. If they don't get one game on the road it is over in 5 6 max.

I think the stones have their hands full that is for sure. But experience takes over and the they will take care of the bulls in 6.

2:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's all about Notre Dame. He played there and put up good statistics. I saw him play twice last year live - against Michigan and at Michigan State. He was horrible against Michigan. He was rushed, sure, but he didn't do much, either. Against MSU, he was brutal until the end when he led the comeback. But it seemed to me more like MSU self-destructed than what he did. I wasn't surprised he dropped like that. He has a chance to be very good, but so do five other QBs in this draft. None are sure things, in my opinion, including Jamarcus Russell.

2:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It was a great weekend. So much going on that the Warriors-Mavericks series is a little under the radar. That's quite a story. And it will only make it easier for the Pistons should they get to the NBA Finals. You mentioned Troy Smith. I like him a lot more than the NFL scouts evidently do. I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a good pro.

2:52 PM 
Anonymous jpleezy said...

I definitely have to disagree with what Marty said. I think the criticisms of Brady Quinn are driven more by anti-Notre Dame cynicism more so than sound football analysis. Yes, he certainly benefits in the long run more than a Kevin Kolb from Houston or John Beck from BYU by all the coverage and attention that Notre Dame receives. But go back and watch the film and make your own conclusions.

Look at the game this past year against Michigan. Michigan had four defensive players taken among the top 47 picks. That was a very talented defense. Notre Dame had Brady Quinn, a pretty good tight end, and a pretty good receiver in Jeff Samardzija (whose not better than second round pick Dwayne Jarrett by the way). His other options including Rhema McKnight and Darius Walker who both went undrafted. His offensive line was thoroughly dominated, they had -3 yards rushing and Brady was on his back or was scrambling for his life all day. Sure he could have played better but even if he had the best game of his life he would have had a hard time beating Michigan that day.

While Michigan State surely self-destructed, I still think Quinn should get a lot of credit for putting the team on his back in the middle of what Valenti described as "Hurricane Katrina" and throwing five touchdowns. He also led a masterful two minute drill this past year to beat UCLA against a very good defense that beat USC. I wonder if anyone watched that game who criticizes Quinn.

Also, compared to Troy Smith, everyone jumped off the Brady bandwagon after the Michigan game and declared Troy Smith the greatest quarterback we'd ever seen. Well he did have two first round receivers to throw to, and a couple of talented running backs, and a much better offensive line. But when that team faced superior talent against Florida like Brady did against Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and LSU he put up an awful game. It seems no quarterback is very good when they're running for their lives with receivers double covered and no runnning game.

People also forget that against USC in '05 that if Reggie Bush didn't push Leinart into the end zone, Quinn would have been remembered for leading one of the greatest drives in college football history to take the lead at the end of the fourth quarter.

Give Brady some protection in the NFL, a running game, and some targets to throw to and he'll pick you apart. It's hard to win "big games" when there's a vast talent differential and you have to put up 45 points to beat some of the best defenses in the country to overcome the ND defense getting torched.


4:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You could very well be right about Quinn. And there is an anti-ND thing out there. My thought is, Quinn is not as much a sure thing as some other QBs of the past. Like last year, to me Young, Leinert and Cutler were all better. To me, Quinn was equal to the other top four or five QBs in the draft. To me, I am not so sure he is that much better than Troy Smith, who dropped all the way down. Obviously, NFL people don't agree with that.

5:10 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

Hack a Ben.

6:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
It will be huge factor in the Pistons series against the Bulls.

1:24 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

I have to say that how teams do in bowl games means little to nothing to me, because it is so far from the regular season. The teams that actually value academics generally do poorly in bowls, because they don't put the emphasis on preparing for them as they are really just an attaboy extra game that doesn't fit into the rest of the season. That is why I take what Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan did in their bowl games worth a grain of salt. I don't feel that they lost to vastly superior teams, just teams that put more emphasis into that game and are better at preparing to play a game with a cold start.

10:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That, I suppose is true, but it does mean a lot to players, especially those in the draft. JaMarcus Russell rose to the No 1. overall pick because of what he did in the bowl. Conversely, Troy Smith dropped way down based on what he did in the bowl.

8:24 AM 

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