The Tigers have lost seven of eight, Papa Grande is a free agent again and a look at the NBA and NHL playoffs
Still no Pitching
If you had something better to do than watching the Tigers, well they continue to give us a reason to do those things. In fact, they are nice enough to tell us early on to stop watching. It has become a nightly trend of this team not pitching at all. Perhaps it’s no mystery the only game they won in the last eight games was a well-pitched game by Anibal Sanchez. Other than that, they have gotten no pitching from their starters, and are beaten soundly every night. They are making the Astros pitching staff look stout right now. The really bad news is they have lost seven out of eight. The good news is that the rest of the division has literally done nothing during that stretch either. No one else in the central division has a record over .500 and the Tigers still lead by 5 games over their closest competition, the White Sox. That means that over this entire stretch the division has gained only one game. So perhaps I can say rest easy because the rest of the division still looks horrible.
It really is a mystery and one that I can’t explain. I think they are taking any and all ideas on what is wrong. Some are blaming Verlander. Some are blaming Ausmus. Others are blaming Jeff Jones. I personally think it might be the curse of the Zubaz, because ever since they were seen wearing those things everything has gone downhill. This starting rotation is no doubt one of the best in baseball, but they are pitching like one of the worst. Perhaps it is just a funk. Perhaps they are going through the worst stretch we will see all season. I have a hard time believing this will keep up this way. Still, it doesn’t make sense. Watching them, it almost appears that other teams know what is coming before it happens. Maybe they’ve become very predictable, and they need to look more at the game plan, but I would think they would be smart enough to already look into that. In the end I don’t think there are any easy solutions, except to say they are going through a rough spell. We’ve seen the entire line-up go cold at times in the past so I guess the same could happen to the pitching staff too. This much is true. This is the first time Ausmus has trouble on his hands so it will be interesting to see how he handles it. This stretch doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I guess we just sit and wait and hope tonight is the night they turn it around.
Papa back on the open market
In news from yesterday one former Tiger is a free agent again. Jose Valverde was cut loose by the Mets yesterday. The breaking point came yesterday when he allowed four runs in just 2/3 of an inning. The Mets went from up 2-1 to down 5-2 thanks to him yesterday. The Mets are also mired in a slump right now, and Valverde wasn’t the only one shown the door yesterday. Hitting coach Dave Hudgens will also be packing his bags. Papa Grande made news early in the season when he was named the interim closer for New York, but that lasted all of about a week before they realized he isn’t any good any more. He still served a role as a middle reliever, but was still horribly up and down. He ended his time in New York with a 1-1 record, 2 saves, a 5.66 ERA and a career worst 1.65 WHIP. So if you are looking for a replacement in the bull pen for Phil Coke…
Following the long weekend, the NBA and NHL playoffs have different looks, and out of the four series going on between the two leagues, only one looks like it has a chance to being decent now. Miami cruised past the Pacers last night 102-90 and now lead that series 3-1 going back to Indiana. That doesn’t surprise me that much. Indiana has a tendency to play very up and down and in both games in Miami they were mostly down. If Indiana wants to come back in that series they better figure out how to take care of the ball. Miami wants to get turnovers and run, and the Pacers are turning the ball over way too much and not getting it to their big men where they have the huge advantage. The only series that could turn into a decent one is the one that looked horrible going into the weekend. Oklahoma City welcomed back Serge Ibaka to their line-up and then beat the Spurs on Sunday to make that series 2-1. It’s strange how one game can change so much of the feel in the series. Before that game it felt like it was going to be a short series. It still could be, but a win tonight and Oklahoma City will have all the momentum.
In the NHL, the series between LA and Chicago was expected to be a long tough series, but since game one the Kings have dominated the Blackhawks and now lead 3-1. Since game one the Kings have won 6-2, 4-3 and 5-2. They have Chicago on the ropes, and I know Chicago came back from this last year against Detroit, but I don’t see them winning three in a row against LA. Also, the Rangers are close to closing out Montreal and could do it tonight. The Canadians looked like they were going to get right back in that series but a Martin St. Louis OT goal in game three made sure they didn’t and the Rangers lead now 3-1.
On Tap for Tonight
Tigers @ Oakland. Scherzer (6-1, 2.59) vs. Sonny Gray (5-1, 1.99). It will be a night game in Oakland so perhaps that will prevent rockets off the bats of the A’s. If there’s a night that Scherzer can really prove he’s an ace of a staff, this is it.
NBA Playoffs. Western Conference Finals Game 4. San Antonio @ Oklahoma City. SA leads 2-1.
NHL Playoffs. Eastern Conference Finals Game 5. New York Rangers @ Montreal. NYR leads 3-1.
Contact Dutch: email@example.com
On Twitter: @DutchOvenSports