Monday, May 11, 2009

Were The Tigers That Good Or The Indians That Bad?

This week in Minnesota will be an interesting one for the Tigers. It will telling whether their success in Cleveland over the weekend was really because their pitching is that good, or whether it was because the Indians are just that bad.
The Indians aren’t beating anybody, but they do lead the American League Central in runs scored. The Tigers three starting pitchers over the weekend didn’t just pitch well, they also threw well. In other words, it wasn’t like a fluke they won with, for the use of a better term, their "stuff."
Verlander was brilliant Friday. The complaints about Edwin Jackson’s inconsistency are being proven false. He couldn’t be more consistent. Porcello has been everything advertised from his pitch command to his poise. The Tigers did beat a couple really good starters in Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona, although Carmona has struggled to return to the form he displayed in 2007.
Curtis Granderson’s "for the ages" catch on Friday probably saved the weekend. The series have taken on an entirely different tone had Grady Sizemore’s drive cleared the wall.
But every year, there are certain turning points that either keep a team going or start to drop it out of contention. That was probably one of them - a sign the Tigers will contend this summer.
There were also contributions from players it is not expected. The Tigers are hurting offensively with Magglio Ordonez slumping and Carlos Guillen hurt. It helps the Tigers a great deal when a role player like Jeff Larish comes through. It’s another sign of a contending team - unlikely heroes.

Random Thoughts

- Chuck Daly’s passing has invoked many memories - all of them good. He was a great coach and a terrific motivator. People sometimes forget how much success he had at Penn and Boston College before becoming an NBA coach. Honestly, I have never met anybody who didn’t like Chuck Daly. That says a lot given his profession often involved saying "no" and cutting players. It’s been a sad past year for the Pistons’ family on a number of levels. William Davidson, Will Robinson and Chuck Daly were true giants - for all the right reasons. Hearts out to them.

- Count me as among those skeptical about Dontrelle Willis’ start on Wednesday. The Twins are as good as it gets at waiting out pitchers and forcing deep pitch counts. It will be a lot different than the minor leagues where the hitters tend to swing at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.

My column in Tuesday's Oakland Press on Chris Osgood:

My column in Monday's Oakland Press on the Red Wings-Ducks Game 5:



Anonymous Mike said...

Pat, love your blog, read it regularly. But I was listening to you on 97.1 today talking about Osgood's HOF credentials and I thought you did a poor job of arguing your point.

Basically all you did was talk about Osgood's wins and how he lead the league in GAA in a couple years. Wins, Cup wins, and goals against are TEAM stats (and this is coming from a former goalie). I'm not saying he doesn't deserve some credit, but to compare Osgood's wins and Cups to suggest that he was better than Belfour is ridiculous.

Belfour was an elite goalie for a long time, with multiple teams. He carried the Stars to the '99 Cup and the 2000 Finals. He won 2 Vezinas. Finished First team all-star twice and second once. Osgood, in comparison, has one 2nd team all star finish and no Vezinas. They don't compare at all.

And no ... Osgood was never considered by experts to be among the best 5 goalies in the league. He still isn't. (even though he lead the league in GAA before ... once again that's a team statistic) And Osgood is not the best goalie left in the playoffs ... Luongo is a MUCH more accomplished and talented goaltender, the only thing Osgood has on him is playoff experience (playing for the Wings instead of the Panthers, and being in the league for a lot longer, helps that)

If you want to see a good argument of whether or not Osgood is Hall of Fame worthy, check out this one:

This guy agrees with you. And I pretty much agree with him that if the Wings win the Cup this year Osgood will probably get in. I just don't agree with how you argued the point and compared Osgood favorably to much better goaltenders.

7:21 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, teams that try to hit there way to the pennant are very few and very far between that succeed. The easiest path to the pennant is through pitching and good defense. There is a correlation between the two. Tigers now can field a good defensive team with speed that gives you lots of range.
Jackson is a 3# guy and #3 guy looks like an Ace one day and a #5 the next. Jackson did have excellent control on Saturday with a nice breaking pitch. He needs this control because his fastball look flat but he can throw hard. I still excited that we got Jackson for an outfielder.

10:12 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Book,

I know these guys (our Tigers) are pros - and they have to adapt and accept change when it occurs - popular or not.

But my own (humble) experience as a fan has been that you can feel when a team is building up to steamroller status. And I have that feeling right now.

Great pitching, clutch hitting from all over the lineup, great defensive plays, and even a spark of the wiley old leyland is back - with the kahonas to play a little small ball when the moment calls for it.

So I don't like the way it feels with Willis coming back to start Wednesday.

Dontrelle Willis is like mud. Mud that stops momentum. Mud that needs a push to get out of if your not going fast enough when you hit it.

I know they're paying Willis a ka-trillion jillion dollars. But does that justify having a guy go out there and dampen your momentum?

Maybe the're going fast enough to plow through this patch of Willis mud.

But it sure feels like there's a good season blowing in.

12:50 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Hey Pat - I posted anonomously earlier by accident - sorry - thought I had my ID turned on.

I must be out of practice.

4:56 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

He did make second-team postseason all star one year and has played in the all star game. It wasn't like he was a bad goalie for St. Louis and the Islanders. But you're right: Ozzie has benefitted a great deal by playing for the Red Wings.

2:10 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree totally with you, but having said that, I do wonder if the Tigers have enough offensively. The way Ordonez is swinging the bat has to be a concern.

2:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think they just want to see what Willis has and won't stick with him for long if he doesn't prove to be effective.

2:12 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Sorry about that. Just saw that. I have to start getting back to you faster. Have a great day.

2:14 PM 

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