Monday, May 05, 2008

Can Ozzie Match Turco?

I have a theory about Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood. It’s that he’s like the football quarterback, who isn’t expected to make the big play, but complete the routine throws, not fumble the snap and make sure the handoffs are clean. In other words, do not lose the game. But he isn’t necessarily expected to win it.
Just don’t let in soft goals. That’s Ozzie’s job. The Red Wings otherwise - because they are so solid - will take care of business.
But having watched - mesmerized - all of Dallas’ four-overtime victory over San Jose Sunday night deep into Monday morning, I’m not so sure my theory will apply during the Western Conference finals against the Stars.
I have never seen better goaltending - ever. Marty Turco was beyond brilliant. He WON that game, and the series for the Stars. He literally refused to be beaten.
San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov was nearly as great (how about that glove save on Brad Richards?).
Sixty-one saves. Fifty-three saves. Are you kidding me? And so many of them were testy it was mind boggling.
Ozzie is going to have to be better than good in this series. This is a much different scenario than Colorado’s Jose Theodore, the sieve, presented the previous series.
Throw Turco’s spotty performance against the Red Wings in the past out the window. He seems like a goalie possessed right now.

Random Thoughts

- Look, nobody is willing to defend Carlos Guillen more than I am, but he has been awful defensively at first base and third this season. He is killing the Tigers with his glove. And it’s puzzling because he has played well both at first and third in the past. The Tigers need all the thunder they can get in their lineup. They don’t need Brandon Inge force-fed back to third base. But that may be necessary if Guillen doesn’t pick it up in the field. He has been that bad.

- I’m starting to feel about Zach Miner the same way I did about Jason Grilli. He has an ERA over eight. Haven’t the Tigers seen enough?

- Everybody, it seems, has been clamoring for a Celtics-Pistons Eastern Conference final, but I think the Cavaliers and Pistons would be more interesting. The last couple series between the two teams have been closely contested. The Ben Wallace factor is there. And LeBron James always make things interesting. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Cavs knock off the Celtics.

15 Comments:

Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

I predict the Stars to be in that mode of “We gave it all we had and we got by San Jose!!” thinking – an it’s a small window of a single game for the Wings to just stomp on the Stars heads – they have to come out play heads down focused tough knock-em-down style Hockey to show the Stars their dominance.

If they lose game one – the series is a coin flip.

I’ve always liked Ozzie – before he came to the Wings. I have thought him under-rated in the “Hasek” era – and then to be stuck behind Hasek on the Wings bench was the ultimate Ozzie irony. Ozzie will play good for you.

One can track the winning 6 lottery numbers for 15 years, until one thinks the odds of certain numbers repeating numbers will add up to winning tickets. And when one plays those numbers – they often find not one of the expected numbers shows up on the ticket.

Same with baseball stats. I know you’re gonna hate this – sorry in advance – but the Tigers have been playing the defensive Cabrera – Guillen numbers and they are coming up duds. On paper it looks like it’s brilliant – but watching it play out is hard to swallow. So when most-likely doesn’t pan out – you have play the least likely.

I don’t want to sit Sheff – I know he will get strong in June and the HoF guy will show up.

I don’t want to sit Guillen, but I don’t want him playing defense until he loses this fielding funk he is in.

And if we paid those kind of dollars for a young phenom who is already designated to play first – but yes, his bat is great. Not exactly clutch though.

I think for a short term – we need to try: Sheffield in outfield – sit Jones. Cabrera stays at first but gets a little more instruction on playing first. Guillen DHs – again for short term. And you-know-who goes to third and bats ninth.

Inge is a better third baseman – and he hits better than Jones.

I know .. I know … I know …

I love ya Book, but Inge plays third on my Tigers.

PS – do you think this all-star roster is intimidating Leyland from doing his usual approach? Just a thought I wondered after Saturdays game.

9:52 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The Stars momentum after winning such a thrilling game could carry them. Or they could be worn out. It's to the Red Wings disadvantate the series doesn't start until Thursday. The Stars will have plenty of time to regroup. I don't disagree with you about the Tigers defensively. What I can't figure out is how Carlos Guillen got so defensively. He's gone from somebody who should star at the corner infield positions to somebody who is playing like who can on DH. Putting Inge every day has its drawbacks offensively. Check out his batting average lately? Notice how it is near his lifetime mark?
Caputo

11:39 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book, I hear you on Brandon’s Batting Average.

My favorite baseball movie of all time is Bull Durham. There is the scene in the pool hall where Crash is telling Meat about the pool hall owners lifetime average – how great it was – and how slight the difference is between average and great “ one in five at bats you get broken bat single .. an extra ground ball with eyes … “ – And I guess it’s that mentality I approach Inge with. He’s just that extra ground ball with eyes away from being a real name.

My other favorite line is Crash and Meat on the mound – and he tells Meat ..

“Hit the Moose”

1:03 PM 
Anonymous Tim said...

Pat,

Both the Wings and the Stars will have a chance to rest a little bit before the series begins on Thursday. I think the Stars will have a perfect amount of rest and the Wings may be a little bit rusty.

The Stars have managed to walk into opponents arenas and win the first two games of the series against both Anaheim and San Jose. My fear is they will walk into the JLA and do the same.

Turco stood on his head in Game 6 but I still don't think Ozzie has to match his save percentage. From what I saw, San Jose didn't often attempt to screen Turco like Holmstrom and the Mule like to do. They didn't get in Turco's face that much either. Maybe that's what the Wings have to do - the Sean Avery stick screen.

2:43 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: Guillen looked a little out of place at 3B but you need his left handed bat in the line-up. If he doesn't improve as the season goes on he might be Tigers LF next year. He got speed to do the job. I guess we would have to wait and see if any AAA players outfielder or infielder are ready yet or if any stars at these positions available in next year free agent market. Then you are giving up Thames and Jones in LF. Willing to stick with Jones a little longer to see if he can get uncorked. If anything, I am little disappointed with JJ defense as he came up short on a few ball hit to left. He did play CF last year? I wonder if he is a streaky hitter?
I games I have seen which is not too many, Miner if anything is getting hurt by over using his soft stuff. Glad to see he develop a breaking ball but I thought his fastball is his best pitch. I glad he still has an option left because his pitching stuff is hard to give up on.

4:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, when is enough? Time to treat these guys like they're acting, like a bunch of pouty five year olds. They all need a "time out". Start benching some of these guys. Bring up some of that young stuff. Magg's looks horrible, Guillen looks like he wishes he were somewhere else and Sheffield is the walking wounded. How many times are we going to leave guys on base? It was pathetic to see the crowd get excited last night when we got a hit with two outs. You knew nothing would become of it. Rod & Mario made a comment about how it took the Red Socks mgr so long to come out and say something about the walks. Why say anything, it's not like we capitalized on any of them. Could there be any truth to the "juice rumor" , funny since all this came down last year, our guys can't do squat! ch

1:15 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Really, I'm sure that Brandon Inge is not the second coming of Mike Schmidt. However, having seen the Tigers win with Tom Brookens, Aurelio Roderiguez and Don Wert, third sackers who all started because of their gloves and not their bats, I would gladly see Inge start at the hot corner. As long as that translates into Tiger victories.

I like Fred Brill's rationale. I was surprised to learn that the Tigers are going to part ways with Jacque Jones. That left-handed bat is a needed commodity. Sheffield playing in left field may help him get going at the plate.

Sunday's loss in the Twin Cities still sticks in my craw. If the Tigers were in the East or West divisions, I'd say their post season chances are done before Mother's Day. Luckily, no team is the Central seems dominant, until they play the Tigers.

Still, we better take the division flag because the wild card option seems an unlikely possibility.

7:58 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Walk into a baseball clubhouse and say, "Hey, meat," and half the team turns to you. It is a classic baseball term.
Caputo

10:43 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tim,
The Stars have done a lot to quell the notion they aren't a good playoff team. They have already knocked out two heavyweights. The Red Wings will get traffic in front of Turco. He'll be facing his toughest test. The first two games will be interesting. I anticipate a split and a six- or seven-game series. I do think the Red Wings will win it.
Caputo

10:46 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
Honestly, I thought they had the perfect platoon in left field with Jones and Thames and it didn't work out that way at all. Given Guillen leg injuries and lack of experience in the outfield, I don't them putting him in left.
Caputo

10:49 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

ch,
What you see is what you get. They have signed this team to so many big, long term contracts, the Tigers are locked in. And that might be part of the problem. This team seems almost too comfortable despite playing sluggish baseball.
Caputo

10:51 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
Jones just didn't get it done - period. The losses in Minnesota were disappointing and could be devastating. They were playing so well in New York. What happened?
Caputo

10:53 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Book,

The way the Tigers have played since they left the Big Apple is perplexing to say the least. They are mediocre in hitting, pitching and fielding. No wonder their record is below .500.

Still, I've got to believe that they will have a winning record at the end of September. When will the cross the water line? Memorial Day? At the earliest it seems. Father's Day? I'm realistically hopeful. Independence Day? That might just be fitting.

12:32 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
All they need to do is go on a semi-hot streak and they'll be fine. They are only 3.5 games behind the division leader, Minnesota, which the Tigers put there with a horrible series over the weekend.
Caputo

1:01 PM 
Anonymous Kevaxe2k7 said...

Pat, I am gonna say NO. Ozzie can't match Turco. Now, if you'll excuse me, I just got off work and hope to catch the last few minutes of Game 1. ;)

9:52 PM 

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