Sunday, April 23, 2006

Notes from the La-Z-Boy

I apologize for not posting the last couple of days, but I felt the need to recharge my mental batteries in preperation for the constant barrage of playoff games and resulting coverage that is just now hitting full stride. Just look at today's schedule. It's a huge day for we Detroiters!

Red Wings at 1. Tigers at 4. Pistons at 7. Numerous NBA and NHL playoff games peppered thoughout the day. Is anyone in the area planning on doing anything other than planting their behind in the La-Z-Boy for about 10 hours? Anyone? Unless you are going to the Palace or the Joe, of course.

Even with all the excitement, a few things have been bothering me. For example...

Jim Leyland's absolute refusal to move Chris Shelton or Carlos Guillen up in the order, and plugging in the "Gimp of the day" into the 5 spot. It almost bit Leyland in the ass last night, as the designated gimp was Alexis Gomez. In the 7th, it's a 1 run game with RISP and 2 outs, you have your cleanup hitter, Magglio Ordonez, blatently pitched around. The Gimp Gomez is then totaly overwhelmed in his at bat and strikes out meekly. You then end up with the redheaded God of baseball, Chris Shelton, leading off an inning, rather than coming up with ducks on the pond. The Tigers did win, thanks to their suddenly lights out pitching, despite of the bizarre lineup. Why Leyland insists on Gomez (or Thames, or Infante) batting between 2 of your best hitters is mystifying to me. I blame the nicotine. Leyland needs to give up the Marlboro Reds and look into the Ultra Lights...

Otherwise, the Tigers have been fun as hell to watch. I don't think I'll be able to say that about the Wings-Oliers matchup. I admit that the 2 OT game on Friday was a prime expamle as to why playoff hockey turns hair gray and gives us all ulcers. It's wonderful, even with the side effects. But to get to that point, Edmonton had to muck up the game with their trap. I can't blame the Oilers for their strategy, it's a tried and true one, for both hockey and basketball. When playing a more talented team, slow the game down, sacrifice offense for defense, and wait for the better team to make a make a mistake or have an unlucky bounce, and capitalize. It damn near worked for Edmonton in game 1.

What have I liked so far this weekend? Manny Legacy standing on his head. Steve Yzerman playing like a 37 year old. Joel Zumaya, Joel Zumaya, and Joel Zumaya. Did I mention Joel Zumaya? The kid looks unhittable so far. The Tigers pitching staff in general has looked dominant for the past few games, despite the "Rollercoaster" and his adventurous save on Friday night. Magglio Ordonez beginning to show flashes at the plate. Pudge becoming excited about the Tigers and their chances, rather than sullen and pissed. The Miami Heat looking discombobulated against a Bulls team that shouldn't even be in the same arena with them. The Clippers winning. I hated the Clips tank job at the end of the season, but I dig watching Chris Kaman. 15 and 13 last night against Carmelo and the Nuggets, not bad for a big white stiff from CMU.

What haven't I liked? The Spurs finding the "On" switch. Lebron James chanelling his inner Jordan. He could steal a game or 2 from the Pistons (if it comes to that, as I'm still not sure the Cavs can contain Gilbert Arenas) on pure talent alone. The Wings tendency to take plenty of shots that aren't screened or are just plain easy saves. Sure, Dwayne Roloson had 257 saves Friday, but how many of those were on actual scoring chances? Just a handful. Pavel Datsuyk missing game 1. He's back today, but at what effectiveness? The Wings need him to play well.

I'd like to go on, but it's nearly time for the face off. I'll come back up for air in 12 hours or so. Now where's the remote?

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