Friday, March 26, 2010

Jon Horford Commits to Michigan

I guess one of Horford's closest friends/relatives is a sellout. He told his mother and 3 other people that he decided to commit to Michigan and within an hour it was all over the place faster than a motorcycle accident lawyer when he sees a man flying through the air on the street.

Among those who found out from someone else was his brother, Al, currently a forward for the Atlanta Hawks.

Jon wanted to call Al later in the day to tell him.

“It’s crazy,” Jon Horford said by phone Friday afternoon. “Twenty minutes after I did it, I told my coach, a teacher at my school and, of course, Coach (John) Beilein, those are the only three people I told. And Al texted me 20 minutes after I did and was like, ‘Is this true?'

“I don’t know how he found out. Maybe my AAU coach called him, but I’m not sure.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Willis Has Rocky Start, but Only Gives Up 1 ER in 4 Innings

Dontrelle Willis still fighting for the #5 spot in the Tigers rotation walked the first two batters he faced today en route to 1ER in the first inning. He went 4 innings, and stayed at 1 ER, but didn't look sharp at all. He was very hittable, and this is coming against a very weak Toronto Blue Jays line up.

He did hit 94 MPH on the radar gun, and hit 92 MPH several times, and had 3 strikeouts to go with 3 BBs. Two Ks in the 4th inning. While the numbers aren't bad, he hit the backstop a couple times, and his delivery was very slow. He even gave up a double steal at one point.

He had trouble finding the zone all day, and he didn't appear to really challenge hitters, or look as if he could challenge a legit line up. The only swings and misses he got were bad pitches against inexperienced hitters.

HE still has a shot to make the team as the #5 starter, but at this point you probably don't want to take a Dontrelle Willis jersey through a barcode scanner anytime soon as he may not make it either.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Singing Valverde Looking Good For Tigers?

Last week I heard and interview with Alex Avila where he was asked about the pitchers in spring that have impressed him the most so far. He mentioned most of the new guys like Scherzer, but it seemed like he was most impressed, and quite surprised at just how good Jose Valverde, the Tigers' new closer actually is.

MLive has a story posted in the last couple hours that seems to continue Avila's surprise.

While not entirely based on his pitching, although they do mention that he hasn't allowed a run in his 6 IP so far this spring, it has more to do with the standard annual problem. Guys like Zumaya aren't ready, and continue to be a burden.

According to the article some of these guys are probably better off learning how to use the best seo software than to try pitching:

Joel Zumaya has been too sick to pitch. And, when he was in there, opposing batters were teeing off on his straight-as-a-ruler fastball. Perry has allowed eight runs -- six earned -- and four home runs in eight innings. Fien was released, had sips of coffee with the Red Sox and Blue Jays, but is now back with Detroit. Zach Miner is fighting an elbow injury. And, Bobby Seay is visiting Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. to have his shoulder examined. That's rarely a good sign for a pitcher.

What a surprise. Zoom is sick/injured again, and pitching like crap. Welcome to year 4 of this circus.

Lions Going to Sign Pacman Jones?

It looks like they are doing a lot of looking, and kicking the tires on Pacman the last week, or so. The Lions were among a handful of teams that observed a workout of Pacman last week in New Orleans, and have been rumored to be interested ever since. GM Martin Mayhew even came out and discussed Pacman publicly this week and said that they could use his "skill set" on the team. Duh, our CBs suck hard.

Before you can figure out what glucosamine sulphate is, the Lions will probably pay Pacman more than twice as much as any other team is willing to do. Nobody wants to touch the troubled CB, but he is on his last chance. There are many reasons to think that you are going to get the best he has to offer next season. If you don't, you better have a contract that makes it so it doesn't hurt to kick him off the team.

I am all for the signing. I honestly don't care about his troubles. I don't know him. Neither do you. If he plays well, great. If not...we still suck anyways so what's the big deal?

Rams Trading For McNabb?

A lot of rumors today that the St. Louis Rams, who hold the #1 overall pick int he draft may be seeking a trade with Philadelphia to acquire Donavon McNabb. The rumor is that they will give him a new contract, and send the Eagles their 2nd round pick (#33 overall).

Most have theorized that the Rams were gong to take Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford #1 overall. This would leave the Lions free to take virtually anyone they wanted in the draft, and not have to worry at all about what the Rams do. If they make this trade things change dramatically.

Of course we have to wonder WHY the Rams would even make this trade. They aren't going to be any good anytime soon. McNabb probably doesn't have more than 2-3 years left in him so he isn't a future QB. They have taken linemen for about the last decade and probably aren't all that high on taking another one in this draft either. So...are they considering taking Bradford STILL even if they get McNabb and let him mentor the kid, or let his injury heal more? Who knows, if the kid is ready, or not. He certainly seems to be injury prone, and could use some help how to build muscle fast. I just know that this trade makes little sense for a team that is so far away from a winning team.

It may help the Lions in the trade down aspect, but highly unlikely. The Tampa Bay Bucs don't need a QB either so no reason for anyone seeking one to trade up to #2. Only reason to trade up is to get Suh, or McCoy.

Contradictory News On Dontrelle Willis

I suppose I made the mistake of actually taking what Lynn Henning said as plausible the other day since he is like Killer Kowalski in being wrong constantly. Recent news has shown that he is probably way off on the matter:

Tigers | Willis gains velocity
Tue, 23 Mar 2010 06:09:18 -0700
The Detroit News' Tom Gage reports Detroit Tigers SP Dontrelle Willis threw every pitch at least 90 mph in his one-inning relief stint Monday, March 22. After the bridge outing, his ERA sits at 0.82. He'll start Thursday, March 25.

After reading that Willis had back spasms in his last start I gave Henning some credit, but it appears he may not be on the mark at all. Considering that Willis has improved velocity (this is common as ST progresses so not a huge deal), and that he is going to pitch tomorrow as a starter it appears he was a little premature.

I guess he is still fighting for his job as they are still trying to lock down the last 2 spots in the rotation. Bonderman seems to be a lock, but it appears that Willis has just as good a chance at it as Robertson does. Basically, the chance I have at teaching you how to treat acne.

We shall see. With what Willis is getting paid, and his ERA still being below 1.00 it is hard to imagine that they don't at least start the season with him getting some starts. Then go from there.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Henning: Willis Appears Headed For Release

After a few weeks of praise from writers, fans of box scores, and coaches, it appeared that Dontrelle Willis was a shoe in for the #5 starter spot in the Tigers rotation. Of course if you have watched the games, or listened to local sports radio you may come away with a bit of a different impression. Henning of the Detroit News makes the claim this weekend that Willis is probably going to be released.

A lot of us have been reluctant to put much stock in Willis' numbers so far this spring. We all know it is still spring, but a few things stick out when reading/hearing about how Willis has actually pitched. First and foremost, even with only giving up 1 ER in 10 IP, we are immediately drawn to the 5 BBs in the line. This was on of the biggest reasons that he has been knocked around of late. Another that has been brought up a lot based on stat guys scanning software, is that his fastball seems to top out at around 88-89 MPH. While not terrible, for someone that lacks control, and really doesn't have much of an arsenal anymore, the loss of velocity is worrisome.

His last outing he hit a batter. Many also noted that he had at least 3 line shots straight back at him during that game, which tells you right there that he isn't fooling anyone, and they are dead on his pitches.

It seems the dream is fading for us having Willis earn a penny of his money in Detroit. The consensus if he is cut, is that Bonderman and Nate Robinson will take the 4/5 slots in the rotation after Armando Galaraga was sent to Toledo earlier in the week. Nate hasn't looked bad either, but we can't be all that optimistic about him either. Bonderman hasn't pitched for over a year either so the back end of the rotation is still a huge question mark.