The Tigers return home from a seven-game West coast trip with a 3-4 record. They took two of three from the lowly snakes (Arizona Diamondbacks). They then traveled to the Big A and lost three of four from the Los Angeles Angels. The Tigers’ bats were stone silent against the Angels. Heck, the Angels only scored eight runs in the fourgame series and managed three victories. The way the American League playoff race is shaping up scares me a little for our Tigs.
Come October — assuming we get in the playoffs — Detroit will draw either the Oakland A’s or the Angels. Both ball clubs have tremendous pitching staffs. It seems to me whenever the Tigers play a good pitching ball club their bats become silent. This trend has to be a little of a concern, doesn’t it?
I will applaud Dave Dombrowski for going out and getting some bullpen help. Detroit now has Joakim Soria in the pen. Soria was the Texas Rangers closer who actually took over for Joe Nathan in Texas. How is that for a twist of irony? Is this a wake-up call for Joe Nathan? I think it is. I will not be shocked if Soria is the closer come late September if Nathan struggles. That is a nice luxury the Tigers have. Soria was a two-time All-Star pitcher with the Kansas City Royals just a few seasons ago.
Over the weekend baseball inducted three managers and three players into the Hall of Fame. The managers, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa. The pitchers from those great Atlanta Braves teams, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, are in. The Big Hurt Frank Thomas from the White Sox is also in. What makes Thomas so special is the fact he is the first player who spent more time as a DH than a player who played in the field. Thomas’ numbers he put up puts him in the Hall of Fame in my eyes. The three managers all deserve it.
The Great Unknown
The “Wait Till Next Year” Detroit Lions camp opened up on Monday. Will this be a special season here in Motown with the “Kitty Cats?” Who knows! What I do know is the sidelines has a new leader in Jim Caldwell and new position coaches. The offense will have a New Orleans flavor to it. Why? It’s simple; the offensive coordinator comes from New Orleans in one Joe Lombardi. If the Lions’ offense runs as smooth as the Saints’ offense does, the scoreboard will be fun to watch in 2014.
This is also a very critical year for Matthew Stafford. He needs to produce points and eliminate bad decisions and critical mistakes at the wrong times. He should not be coddled by Caldwell like he was by Jim Schwartz. Matty needs to step up and lead this team offensively. Mr. Stafford has so many weapons at his disposal there should be zero excuses. We don’t need to see the sidearm-throwing garbage and other mechanically unsound things he does. Stafford needs Pro Bowl play under center if the Lions are to make a playoff push.
It’s nice to see Golden Tate not going on the physically unable to perform list. That would have been a buzz kill if he did. The Lions have also suspended talks with Ndamukong Suh’s agent. Suh is at the end of his rookie deal and is a huge $22.4 million hit against the cap. This will be an interesting watch all season. Suh says he wants to remain a Lion? I am not so sure he really does.
Nick Fairley is another one who needs to play well if he wants a new deal at the end of the season. The Lions choose not to re-up the option on his rookie deal. The Lions have talent and it’s enough to at least let them compete for a playoff spot. I hope last year’s epic collapse is a driving force behind this season actually. They better be ready because the Green Bay Packers are a better team and so are the Chicago Bears. This is one tough division for sure. firstname.lastname@example.org