Hello Gabbers, and welcome to another weekly installment of Storminnorman's Sports Blog. Let me start by saying it was a crazy week in both College Football and Major League Baseball, with heavy favorites such as Alabama, Texas A & M, Tigers and Angels all falling in their respective games and series.
Seriously folks outside of Baltimore and Kansas City, who would have thought these two teams would be meeting for the to face the National League in the World Series? Honestly, the Tigers didn't deserve to win their series, their bully basically choked and was pitching batting practice to the Orioles hitters. Dombrowski made a pretty good move by acquiring Soria, but for some reason it just didn't work in this series.
I made the comment to a few of my friends at work after the series was over, and I mentioned to one of them how poorly Brad Ausmus managed Game 1 and 2. His moves during those two games reminded me of Jim Leyland, he pulled Scherzer after 98 pitches and the bully proceeded to give up 8. Verlander being pulled in the 6th was okay, because he was getting his ass rocked that day and didn't seem like himself. Ausmus went to the well once to often with Soria, Chamberlain and Choke-Zero, and he got burned. Maybe Dombrowski will get the hint this offseason, and sign a few free agent relief pitchers.....
But let's give the Royals and Orioles their dues, they outplayed and outpitched the Tigers and Angels during their series, and deserve to be playing each other in the ALCS. Good luck to both teams, it should be an interesting series.
In the National League, I really thought the Dodgers and Nationals had a legitimate chance of facing each other in the NLCS. Great pitching, great hitters and poof just like that the Cardinals and Giants disposed of them like we do our trash on a weekly basis. Hell if hadn't been of ex-Tiger Doug Fister and Ryu, both teams would have been swept. Who would have thought Kershaw would have blown up twice in the same series? Bet you Dombrowski is kicking himself for trading Fister, the Tigers sure could have used him this year....
Thursday night begins another season for the Detroit Red Wings, as they face off against Sully's Bruins. With the apparent youth movement in Detroit (mostly because Mr. I is spending it on the Tigers), this year could be the year the streak finally ends. I would like to see it continue, but they will be leaning on a Sheehan, Tatar, Nyquist and others to move the streak to 24. With Datsuyk starting out injured, even though he should be back really soon. The first few weeks will be rather interesting to say the least.....
I would have loved to have said something good about the Lions this week, but after Henery looking like Nate Freese last week missing 3 field goals which cost them the game, and the Lions playing to the Bills level, loving that Lions defense still. I have been considering playing Teddy Bridgewater this week......
How can a team look like Super Bowl contenders one week, and then revert back to themselves the next? Oh wait, I am talking about the Lions. Couldn't score another touchdown, and looked like a really bad high school team offensively. Oh wait, I am talking about the Lions. I guess you get were I am going with this........
Well that's all I have for the week, don't forget to turn left and give a shout out to Hal....
Hey Gabbers, welcome to another Friday edition of Storminnorman's Sports Blog. I am sitting here at home watching the Tigers and Orioles, not a really bad game so far, with the Oriole's ahead 3-2 in the 6th inning as I type. Nelson Cruz, for which I probably am in the minority with this probably should be the American League MVP, as many of his teammates have mentioned without Nelson Cruz, they would not be where they are today...
By now you all know that V-Mart and J.D. went back to back, and Cruz hit a 2 run bomb, but the story of this game and series, might actually be the pitching by the time the series concludes. The Tigers starters vs. the Baltimore bullpen. Let's face it guys, the Tiger's starters when right are one of the best staffs in baseball, which should give them an edge in the series. However, with the addition of Porcello and Sanchez in the bully, along with Soria, Chamberlain and yes, Joe Nathan 35/42 save opportunities, may even the score a bit during the series.
I really like the Orioles bully better than the Tigers, wish Andrew Miller would have pitched like this in Detroit, looks like a great addition to their staff. As this game continues, we are nearing the likes of O'Day and Britton, should get kind of interesting.
I like each teams starting lineups, they seem to be equal and may cancel each other out as the series goes along.
The starting staffs for each team seem to be where the Tigers have strength over the Orioles, Scherzer, Verlander, Price, compared to the likes of Chen, Norris and their starter tonight (name escapes me at the moment), do not compare......
Does anyone actually care about the Packers-Vikings game tonight? I am going to be watching the Royals-Angels game after this one is over. I am intrigued by the Royals, and want to see if they are for real. Vargas against Weaver, should make for an interesting game. Hey Jeff, did Blake get drafted by the Royals out of High School?
I like the National's chances of winning the National League and making the World Series, because outside of the Dodgers their pitching staff is one of the best in the National League. Sorry Cardinal and Giants fans, not going to be your year....
Oh before I forget I am not a Mike Trout hater, I just believe that he is over-hyped by Major League Baaseball, and should not be named AL MVP.
I chose not to respond to "The Beezer's" QOTD earlier this week concerning Brady Hoke, but I will now. First thing, Hoke may as well consider himself fired after the season is over, no matter how the season turns out at Michigan. The loss to Minny last week, and Utah the week before proves that he doesn't have a clue about coaching. I was listening to Sports Center this morning, and he mentioned that he would not put on a headset, that he had someone right behind him with one on communicating and passing information along to him during the game. Maybe if he put a damn headset on Shane Morris would not have went back out after the hit he took. You may have one of the best training staffs and doctors in the U.S., but you totally blew that one by not following up as Morris stumbled around on the field. Hope you enjoy the unemployment line, because if you lose at Rutgers this weekend you may be there on Monday......
Stanford-Notre Dame, Nebraska-Michigan State, should be some good football Saturday. Did ESPN fall out of their chairs when they chose to go to Mississippi instead of South Bend or East Lansing? Geesh, talk about a lack of respect for these schools.....
The Lions face the Bills on Sunday, and Kyle Orton actually scares me a little bit. I would have really liked to seen E.J. Manuel start, because it gives the Lions a better chance of a win. With Orton at the helm, there is just enough veteran leadership to lead the Bills to a win at Ford Field on Sunday........
Well Folks have a great weekend, and don't forget to turn left and visit Hal.....
Welcome to another installment of Monday Moaning...You will read nothing about Soccer here...Sorry folks, but I can admit what so few people seem to be able to lately...I'm American...I don't give a fuck about soccer...Don't watch it, don't act like I have a clue about it...don't waste my time, money or energy bothering to pretend to give a shit...It's soccer...Let's be honest, in a couple weeks 90% of you will be back to not giving a shit...
So what should be the big topic this week...Is it the rumors that LeBron James kids have been enrolled in a Northeast Ohio school...No...DON'T FUCKING CARE!
How about this...Friday night I attended what will be my last Major League Baseball game...Unless by some freak way I become rich....My wife's company got tickets for the staff and their families for the Indians and Tigers game...And good seats...The Club seats...You know a "higher class of fans" until they put us there! Supposedly the food is better...There's a full blown bar and dinning room...With the seats food and soda (pop for Ohioans) were free...Well thank you, because if I paid for that crap, I would have puked it back up into their faces...
Yes, I cook for a living, and I know quality food...But I love a good burger...I like greasy fries, and all kinds of unhealthy regular Joe shit...That's what I eat, because cooking in a fine dinning restaurant doesn't make you rich!
Seriously, I had a burger and fries that were nauseating...Then some one pointed out a buffet line with "the good food"..."pesto alfredo with fettuccini"...except there was no pesto in it...Hell, there was no alfredo in it...It was buttered noodles with a splash of cream and parsley...Au Gratin potatoes, that were disgusting...One bite and you could taste the powdered cheese and milk mixture on the under cooked potatoes..."Braised Beef"....NOPE...barely boiled meat is what it was...I bet I've taken shits that would taste better!
I was physically ill...And I hardly ate...Later my wife got an old school pretzel...Best thing she ate all night...And beers...Beers at a ballgame are as American as a teenage loser fucking an apple pie...Ummm, or something like that....Beer prices ranged from $7.50 to $9.00... I stuck to free Dr. Pepper...Hell, this was the wife's outing, I was driving, she handled the drinking duties...She had a couple beers then her and her friend went to the bar for cocktails...Which were around $10...So we dropped about $50 on just getting her primed up for postgame fun...
Oh, I mentioned I was driving...We live 10 minutes from downtown Cleveland...We left a hour before the game...We sat in traffic for at least 40 minutes because there's so much road construction not getting done, that half the city is shutdown...BLOW ME!
Then after parking, which I went budget and found a $10 lot, which means a little more walking, but fuck paying $35 to park...We get to the Stadium...The game has started, and we stand in line for 10 minutes, waiting to get through the metal detectors...I remember a time when this didn't happen at stadiums...And yes, we are a more scared, and frightened nation these days, mainly because there are just so many worthless, fucking, nut-case assholes out there...
So here is the choice...Should I be inconvenienced by waiting in a long ass line and missing an inning or two because there is a chance some fuck-tard wants to shoot up a stadium? Or should save the $67 per ticket, stay in the safety of my own home, watch the game on my HD-TV, drink my 6-pack that cost as much as one beer at the stadium, and eat fucking awesome food that I made myself?
I think that's an easy question...MLB, and the Cleveland Indians, you won't be getting anymore of my money...
As for the game...The Tribe lost 6-4, but my fantasy team scored HR's from Victor Martinez, JD Martinez, Carlos Santana, and Asdrubal Cabrera, plus hits from Kinsler and Brantley, so I felt like a winner...
Busy one for me today...on the road for training at work so a couple quick hits. Besides, for someone who can accused of being emotionally distant, I sure dug deep the past two weeks for my Don Zimmer tribute and my Father’s Day and sports. Heck, I’m spent.
My (Twitter) buddy Steve Palazzolo at ProFootballFocus.com (OK, I doubt he knows who I am, but I enjoy his analytical articles) but he had a great piece this week examining where quarterbacks in the NFL throw the ball as far as distribution to receivers, backs, and tight ends (Link is here: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/06/18/qbs-in-focus-pass-distribution/ - not sure if it is free content or subscription only).
Anyway, a couple of key points:
First while discussing throwing the ball to wide receivers:
“Tom Brady led the league with 473 passes to receivers detached from the formation”
“Ryan Tannehill with the highest percentage of his attempts in this area at 81.9%”.
Surprising considering how maligned the New England wide receivers were last season. That said, with tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiving running back Shane Vereen injured the ball had to go somewhere.
Also, is this an indication of how underrated Tannehill is leading the Dolphins attack or an indictment of Tannehill in recognition he throws short passes and has no help out of the backfield and at tight end?
When throwing to outside the numbers/sideline wide receivers:
“Tannehill led the way with 274 attempts to outside receivers.”
“Peyton Manning’s...29 touchdowns to outside receivers led the league.”
With age increasing and no Eric Decker in Denver, is Manning going to replicate those numbers? I doubt it, but Denver does need to save some money for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Remember, it was former head coach Josh McDaniels who wisely picked Thomas over Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft. Denver is still reaping the rewards of that decision.
When it came to throwing to slot receivers, Palazzolo wrote:
“Most would probably expect Brady to lead the way in attempts to the slot, but it was Drew Brees’ 214 attempts that paced the league while Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck led with 37.3% of their passes targeting the slot (includes all players lined up in slot).”
I think this is more about having limited production out of Danny Amendola and having to move wide receiver Julian Edelman all over the field to get favorable match-ups with such limited options after injuries wracked the squad in the second half of the season. Ditto for Andrew Luck in Indianapolis with Reggie Wayne injured and T.Y. Hilton moved all over the formation.
With throwing passes to running backs, obviously having Darren Sproles helped this and the Saints will have a hard time replacing Sproles this season:
“Brees leads this group as well with a league-high 197 attempts and 1243 yards on throws to running backs.”
“16 of Matthew Stafford’s league-leading 58 drops came from running backs.”
“Cam Newton benefitted from a league-high 11.3 YAC per completion on passes to running backs out of the backfield.”
“Tannehill threw to running backs out of the backfield on only 10.4% of his passes, the lowest percentage in the league.”
For Tannehill, the running backs were terrible runners and worse receivers, so he cannot be blamed there. For Stafford, Reggie Bush was supposed to be the remedy to the passing game, so seeing the backs averaging a drop per game is hideous. Cam Newton had better find his running backs in 2014 in the passing game, because he has no receivers to throw the ball to in the passing game.
Is there a more fun team to watch in 2014 than the Kansas City Royals? (OK, not for the gabbers with much love for the Detroit ballclub). Kansas City has streaked to first place on a winning streak and seem balanced and consistent on offense and in the rotation.
Kansas City took two games against the Yankees, two more against Terry Francona and the Indians, and then three more against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. For a team that was four games below .500 (26-30) on June 1, the Royals are are hot while the Tigers got cold. Detroit enjoyed a season-high seven-game lead on May 18, then dropped seven of eight to allow its American League Central challengers—the Royals included—to tread water or catch up.
A huge key to the Royals’ rise has been the apparent return of Eric Hosmer’s power. Hosmer slugged 17 homers in 159 games last year, pretty bad for a “power-hitting” first baseman. At the end of the day on June 6, Hosmer was hitting .260 BA/.300 OBP/.352 SLUGGING. Hosmer began to turn his season around on June 7, when he slugged a homer in an 8-4 win over the Yankees. He went deep again two days later and again on Sunday.
The Royals won the first two games of their four-game tilt with the Tigers by shelling Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. On Wednesday, left-hander Drew Smyly limited the visitors to two runs in seven innings of work. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Jeremy Guthrie outpitched him.
Kansas City gave its starter a quick 1-0 edge in the top of the first, when Eric Hosmer continued his hot hitting and picked up a one-out single, stole second, and scored on an infield hit from second base on an errant throw.
Smyly settled in after that, but Guthrie was in a groove. By the time the Tigers figured Guthrie out in the seventh, the Royals were up by two. The win was the Royals’ 10th in a row. That’s a sentence no one’s been able to type in two decades!
* * *
When play began on Wednesday, the Dodgers—thanks to Red Sox Beer and Chicken washout Josh Beckett—were the only major-league team that could boast about a no-hitter this year. That’s still true. Only now they have two of them, after the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, ripped through the Rockies in L.A..
The left-hander was perfect through the first six innings, retiring all 18 batters he faced. Ten of those 18 went down via the strikeout. And Kershaw had accomplished all of that on less than 80 pitches. With the Dodgers ahead 8-0 Kershaw took the mound in the seventh poised to keep on rolling. Moments later, two ground balls to the left side of the infield would define the game’s place in baseball history.
Corey Dickerson led off the top of the seventh with a slow chopper to short, soft enough that Hanley Ramirez needed to hurry, but hard enough to give him ample time to make the play. Ramirez fielded the ball cleanly, but his off-balance throw bounced wide of first base, beyond the reach of Adrian Gonzalez. The game was no longer perfect, but the no-hitter remained intact.
Two batters later, Troy Tulowitzki put it in jeopardy. Tulo hit a rocket down the third-base line where rookie Miguel Rojas was up to the task. Rojas preserved the no-no, and Kershaw took it the rest of the way. He struck out the next three batters he faced and did the same to Dickerson with two away in the last of the ninth. His final strikeout out was Kershaw’s 15th of the evening—a new career high—and it came on his 107th pitch.
Per BaseballProspectus.com, the slider that ended the game striking out Dickerson was the 31st throw by Kershaw, the 27th that went for a strike, and the 12th at which the Rockies swung and missed. Yes, the curve is his best pitch and his fastball is nasty. When he has all three working, Kershaw is...well, unhittable!
Most important from that win is that the Dodgers, now just four games behind the scuffling Giants, may still have ample time to repeat as National League West champs.
* * *
I will have “my” Father’s Day this weekend after a busy weekend last week that saw us visiting the parental units and my wife busy, busy with work. I figured I already had my Father’s Day with our trip to Pawtucket, RI for the PawSox on Sunday June 8th when we got to see Joey Votto on rehab, former Yankees starter Chien Ming Wang, and former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for the Louisville Bats (Reds minor league team). Great game. Saw prospect Mookie Betts, ate a hot dog (reasonably priced), had a few beers, and four box seats behind first base cost less than $50. God bless minor league baseball!
Carlos Marmol, wild as ever!:
Mookie Betts, soon to be starting in centerfield in Boston:
Justin Henry, 2007 9th round pick by the Tigers now at Pawtucket. At 29 years old, the second baseman/outfielder/utility fielder is not likely to see the show, but these are the kind of players I root for the most: he is playing on pure love of the game at this point and a dream to one day make it--even for a cup of coffee--in the show. Not much power, some speed, versatility, and over 800 minor league games and counting without an MLB at bat...but I'm rooting hard for him. Good luck, Justin.
OK, that’s all I have this week so thanks as always for stopping by to read--yes, I still miss DVT over here too on Fridays -------> but glad for his update last month and hope he stops by again soon. Glad he’s doing well. Stormin’Norman and Sully have been killing it next door at 2.0 so be sure to swing over and visit them as well today.
Happy Father's Day to everyone, as we near our so-called holiday. I apologize for the lateness of this blog, but I wasn't sure if Sully was doing the blog for this spot this week. or if it was myself.
With the exception of the 3 game hiccup that has been rather disturbing, the Tigers are being their normal selves, allowing the others within their division to remain in the race and give me and IHM something to bitch about all summer outside of the ignorance of our Lions.....
Speaking of the Lions, one of my favorite moments outside of bat day in Detroit with my dad, was watching the Lions splatter Brett Favre all over the Silverdome, along with Barry (I blew out more ACL's with my Moves) Sanders in 1996. Sure we have had some great sports moments together, but that was the best. We loaded up the motor home, drank some beer and tailgated with some Packer fans outside the Silverdome.
Another of my favorite dad moments was 1970, my first Tiger game, Mickey Lolich was the pitcher and Al Kaline was there. We were sitting along the first base line in the upper deck, and watched Mr. Kaline hit his home run to right. Can you imagine getting to watch greats like Kaline, Killebrew, Horton, Carew and Oliva? That day we went home happy, as Mickey pitched a shutout.
Is it me or should Max Scherzer face Chris Sale at least once a week? This matchup seemed to bring out the best in Max last night as he battled Sale pitch for pitch, until Victor hit his 15th home run of the season to break the scoreless tie. By the way, Max's first complete game. Max was Max last night.Which made that night special because he finally step up like aces should and earn his paycheck..
I believe it was Sully who called this run by the Kings, what the hell happened to the Rangers? I believe it was round 1 against the Sharks, that Sully said to look out for the Kings and he was right, as they near their second Cup in 3 years.
My dad as seen above, his health not as great (soon to be 73) his back went bad enough last year to where he had to have surgery just before Christmas, doesn't slow him down to much, mostly because mom won't allow him to. He just does his chores which keeps mom happy, I always wondered, but I am not quite ready for life without dad, because he is what keeps our family sane.Probably through his wisdom, kept my marriage going during the rough times. Happy Father's Day dad.
To answer the question of the day, I believed from the beginning that the Spurs were going to end Miami's run, and now with a 3-1 lead, maybe the series will be over this weekend when they head to San Antonio for game 5.
Racing heads to Michigan, as the Sprint Cup heads to the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, known as one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR>
That's all I got, I apologize for the shortness of the blog and please stop by and visiti Hal.