September 7th, 2017
Small consolation? Good to see
ex-Tigers do well in other uniforms
By KEITH GAVE
Go ahead, admit it: You were thrilled when you heard the news that J.D. Martinez became the 18th player in major league history to smack four home runs in a game like he did Sunday for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Off four different Dodgers’ pitchers. In Los Angeles.
Awfully impressive, like the J.D. we knew and loved in a Tigers’ uniform.
You probably cringed when you saw replays of Justin Upton muffing a fly ball in his first game with the Los Angeles Angels. You check the box scores of Chicago games now and then to see how Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to see how they’re helping the resurgent Cubs. And if Justin Verlander throws his third career no-no in his debut for the Houston Astros tonight, you’ll be elated, won’t you?
And that’s OK.
That’s how we deal with the bitter disappoint in the dog days of this baseball season, by feeling good about the ones that got adopted out to good homes from the dog pound that is the Tigers clubhouse these days.
The team hasn’t won a game since Verlander threw his final pitch for Detroit in a 6-2 win last Wednesday at Colorado. He and Upton were traded the next day, and it’s been misery ever since for the Tigers and their fans.
In a four-game set with Cleveland – a series we’d hoped would have dramatic implications for the Central Division race – the Tigers lost all four by a combined score of 29-5. Without Miguel Cabrera, serving a six-game suspension for his role in the brawl with the Yankees a few weeks ago, and Victor Martinez, out for the season to undergo heart surgery, Detroit’s lineup routinely features 3-4 players who spent the bulk of the season in the minor leagues.
Bottom line: It’s going to be a long month for the Tigers. But then the playoffs begin and we can root for a lot of them now with other teams – hoping to win a World Series ring.
Too early to tell?
Michigan moved up to No. 8 in this week's Associated Press college football poll of Top-25 teams, but are the Wolverines really that good?
Despite some early hiccups in its passing game, they took care of business with a fairly workmanlike 33-17 win over Florida. But with 10 offensive players, including the Gators’ best running back and best receiver, out of the lineup due to suspensions, it would be dangerous to read too much into that outcome.
Neither of two touted Florida quarterbacks could get much going against that young Michigan defense. On the other side, quarterback Wilton Speight overcame two early pick-sixes to lead an offense that scored 33 points against a traditionally stingy Florida defense. . .
Michigan State had a relatively easy route to a 35-10 victory over Bowling Green. Quarterback Brian Lewerke finished with a 160.3 rating after connecting on 22 of 33 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns. And the Spartans’ defense limited BG to just 212 total yards.
We’ll know a lot more about after MAC power Western Michigan visits East Lansing on Saturday.
Ice, Ice Baby!
Hockey fans in these parts have endured their longest offseason in 26 years after the Red Wings failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring.
But the game is back in a big way this week at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City with the eight-team NHL Prospect Tournament starting Friday.
The brainchild of Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, this is the 19th season for the tournament, which includes the best and brightest young players from Detroit, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, the New York Rangers and St. Louis.
The tournament divides the participating teams into two, four-team divisions. The Gordie Howe division includes Carolina, Chicago, Detroit and New York. The Ted Lindsay Division has Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, and St. Louis. Teams play each of the opponents in their division in a round-robin format before a crossover on the final day of the tournament, capped off with the first-place finishers in each division meeting for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The trophy was renamed in 2015 in honor of Wuest, known for his work on the website CapGeek.com, as well as his coverage and statistical archiving of the NHL Prospect Tournament on RedWingsCentral.com. Wuest died in March 2015 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Highlighting Detroit’s roster are the team’s three most recent first-round picks: center Michael Rasmussen (ninth overall, 2017), a 6-foot-6 forward who scored 32 goals in 50 games for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League; defenseman Dennis Cholowski (20th overall, 2016), who turned professional following his freshman campaign at St. Cloud State University and finished as a reserve defenseman during the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Calder Cup championship run; and right wing Evgeny Svechnikov (19th overall, 2015), who won a Calder Cup as a rookie with Griffins after a 51-point regular season, capped off with a two-game NHL debut with the Red Wings in April.
Bottom line: This tournament is worth the price of admission and then some – by far more interesting and exciting to discerning hockey fans than the Red Wings training camp that will take place in the same arena the following week.
Programming note: Q100 will be broadcasting live from Centre Ice Arena on Friday evening, 4-6 pm, with special guests from the Red Wings.