Friday, March 18, 2011

Worst Blogger Ever

That is me.

I just haven't had time, nor have I had anything to write about. I am so mad about the stupid NFL labor strike that I don't want to think about sports.

March Madness is exciting, but it seems like both teams just dink around until there's 30 seconds left, and then shoot buzzer-beaters. Why don't teams ever just get a lead and stay ahead? If a team is down by 8 with 1:20 left, it doesn't matter - you know it's coming down to a buzzer-beater. Some people think that's what makes the NCAA fun. I think it's sloppy and lame.

Also, I miss the NFL and it's not even cancelled yet. But I've lost faith. I truly do not expect to watch any pro football in 2011. I barely even care about the Draft anymore. To culminate the problem, the Lions draft pick is the perfect storm of unexcitement. The first 8-10 picks are going to be enthralling. Franchise QBs, elite prospects, difficult decisions. By the time Detroit's on the clock, it simply comes down to one thing - do we want an OLB or a LT?

Akeem Ayers or Gabe Carimi? Tyron Smith or JJ Watt? Nate Solder or Ryan Kerrigan?

I have honestly no idea; no inclination in either direction. I was leaning towards OLB, which is a bigger need, but I think Detroit might take the franchise LT and then grab an OLB in the next round. Wisconsin's left tackle Gabe Carimi seems to be a better prospect than anyone else who will be available, but I'm afraid they'll buy into the Tyron Smith hype and take him instead. I don't trust an USC offensive player, especially an offensive tackle named Tyron. Maybe we'll lean towards Anthony Castonzo or Nate Solder. Neither would surprise me. But if Detroit is going to take a left tackle with the 13th pick, I hope it's Carimi.

But like I said, left tackle is a bigger need. We have none of the current roster who warrant a starting job. With free agency being nonexistent this year, perhaps we don't have a choice but to use the draft to find a starter. This CBA crap is nauseating.

In other news, it's almost NBA playoffs time, and the East is going to be amazing to watch. Three teams are within a game of the #1 seed (Chicago, Boston, Miami), and whoever gets the #3 seed of those teams has the unenviable task of playing New York, who let me tell you, is going to be a tough out. Not because of Amare and Carmelo putting up 30 points each, but because of Chauncey Billups, a leader who knows how to win in the playoffs.

My dream is seeing Miami lose in the first round, and if they get the 3 seed it's a distinct possibility. Also, don't sleep on Orlando, who will be the best 4 seed the East has seen in probably 20 years.

Out West, the first round will be chalk, but the WCFs should be fascinating. San Antonio will have homecourt throughout, and the Thunder are playing their best ball of the season, and of course don't forget the Lakers. I don't think Dallas has the firepower to make a run at the Finals, but 3 teams in each conference with legitimate title hopes makes for a great postseason.

Then there is Tigers season, which begins in 13 days, against the Yankees, with Justin Verlander against CC Sabathia. As I said to a friend last night, the Tigers could easily win their division, and they could easily finish last. They simply need to stay healthy.

This team has the arms and the bats to win consistently and avoid long losing-streaks. Verlander is a 20-win ace, and Scherzer is a solid #2 guy. The season really hinges on Rick Porcello, who just needs to be a consistent 4.50 ERA guy. The #4 pitcher is a weakness, either Brad Penny or Phil Coke. Not excited either way.

The lineup has the potential to be lethal, with improved hitting at the center and shortstop positions. Austin Jackson will be one of the AL's best leadoff hitters, provided he fixes the terrible K/BB ratio. Hitting in front of Cabrera will likely be Raburn and Ordonez, with former Red Sox Victor Martinez hitting in the 5th position, followed by powerful new shortstop Jhonny Peralta. This gives us an improved top 6, and then Inge, Avila and lastly Santiago/Kelly.

Taking Gerald Laird (.207) and Adam Everett (.185) - two of the worst overall hitters in the entire MLB - out of the lineup will do wonders for the Tigers' offense. Leyland's love affair with "defensive players" was overpowered by Dave Dombrowski's desire to win baseball games. You can't do that without scoring runs, and you can't score runs when Gerald Laird gets an average of 2 hits a month.

It's going to be a juggling act for Leyland, as Brennan Boesch platoons with Raburn in the outfield, and the DH spot rotates between Martinez and Ordonez. When Victor is at catcher and Maggs is the DH, that takes Avila's bat away and replaces him with either Boesch, Wells, or Kelly. Leyland's going to have to identify the hot hand and use it, rather than his typical strategy of stubborn scowling. If Leyland is stubborn, we'll suck. He's got to be flexible, and let the best players play.

If this team has a glaring weakness, it's the bullpen. Valverde is a great closer, but there is no clear set-up man. Joel Zumaya has a chance, but he's still fighting serious injuries and won't be ready for April. (The same goes for second-basemen Carlos Guillen, who will hit in the 6 spot and give the offense a boost whenever he's healthy, which might be never). Detroit will be leaning heavily on newly-acquired Joaquin Benoit, who pitched a sparkling season last year in Tampa with a 1.34 ERA in 63 games. But prior to last season, his career ERA was upwards of 5.00 in 8 seasons with Texas. I don't love him, but he's certainly an improvement over Perry and Thomas and Seay and Weinhardt, who will all be in the mix.

The bullpen isn't atrocious, but it's definitely below average. Benoit is going to have to find a consistent ryhthym in the 7th and 8th innings and keep Detroit from blowing leads, which they did so often last season.

The good news is that there is no clear favorite in the Al Central. Minnesota and the White Sox will contend, as will Cleveland, but Kansas City is worthless. Detroit might be able to win the division with only 90 wins.

It all hinges on Porcello.


  1. Clevland isn't much better than Kansas city. A bad finish for Detroit would be 3rd.

  2. You're probably right ... although they had some injuries last year and I think they underachieved.