Remember when it seemed like the overwhelming majority of Tigers fans and the media were clamoring for 24-year-old Rick Porcello to get traded, so second-year lefty Drew Smyly could squeeze into the rotation? Can you imagine the added outrage over the Tigers' bullpen if future starter Smyly (2.09 ERA, 39K in 38.2 IP) wasn't in it?
Yeahhhhh, it never made any sense, and now Rick Porcello has been every bit of brilliant as the rest of the Tigers rotation. Thanks to seven shutout innings on Friday night, Porcello's ERA is now 2.84 over his last nine starts (down to 4.37 overall). His last four starts have been much like his dominant spring training, actually even better, striking out 30 in 27 innings with a 1.33 ERA.
This rotation is outrageously contagious:
Over the last 20GS - 4 times thru the rotation - #Tigers starters have allowed more than 3ER once, starters have 2.28ERA, and avg'd 7IP/GS
New rule: If Rod Allen says a team can't stop Don Kelly, drink a keg.
But Don Kelly really is en fuego. He's hitting 7-for-15 with runners in scoring position (2-for-6 in those situations with two outs), according to Jason Beck. He's 5-for-7 in his last 9 plate appearances with five RBI, including that game winning three-run dinger on Sunday. That's almost quite literally unstoppable at the plate. Start chugging.
Game 7 was Wednesday night; it's Friday morning and I think I'm 100-percent over the loss now. (I'll retract that statement when the puck drops Saturday afternoon.)
That's all I really have to say.
Okay, it's not.
The Red Wings were fantastic, in my opinion - outplaying their talent threshold all playoffs and creating some really exciting playoff hockey in the process. In the third period of Game 7, I tweeted that the sequence of non-stop action was like the best scenes from Top Gun. (And then it felt like Goose died in OT.) It's the most fun I remember having while watching playoff hockey since the '09 Cup.
Not that the 7-game series against Phoenix the following year or the 7-game series loss to the Sharks the following yearweren't full of fun moments; I just expected more then and much less this year, and I got pleasurably surprised.
Thank you, Red Wings, for proving my pre-lockout-shortened-season prediction wrong and playing the unlikely underdog role so beautifully. Now, go get better and make it 23 straight playoff appearances next year, when the expectations will undoubtedly be risen once again.
I did not post this Sunday night, because it deserves to be re-lived on (late) Monday night.
ESPN was doing a lot of slobbering over Cabrera throughout the night, but it was much deserved. Cabrera is now hitting .387 this season with 11 HR and 47 RBI. SCHWING. In his last 162 games, he has a .351 average with 122 runs, 47 HR, and 152 RBI. That's pretty good. SCHWING. SCHWING.
Cabrera became just the fourth Tiger ever to hit three homers in multiple games, joining Bobby Higginson, Cecil Fielder and Rocky Colavito. More impressive than hitting three dingers, was the fact that one was a mammoth oppo bomb, another was a line drive to center that made the pitcher legitimately flinch, and the third was a jam-job wall scraper. Sheer power and strength.
Yes, I know the Tigers lost, but I would rather focus on history here. The Tigers will be fine. Miguel Cabera meanwhile is the best, most enjoyable hitter I've ever had the pleasure of watching, and he should not be shrugged off because the Tigers lost a game on May 19. Must C for Cherish.
There were hockey pundits who thought the Red Wings would get swept by the No. 1 Blackhawks, arguably the best Blackhawks team ever. After a tough seven-game series against the mighty mighty Ducks, I will admit that a let down against the Blackhawks from a team that had, really, already exceeded expectations didn't seem completely unreasonable.
Well, following a 3-1 win on Monday night, the Red Wings have a 2-1 series lead and us Wings fans are feeling preeeeeeeeeeeeeeetty good. It's fun.
Shortly after Justin Abdelkader nearly scored after he made a nifty pass off the boards to himself, the chicken king Gustav Nyquist put on the burners, a jock-removing move on Brent Seabrook, and held back the B button until he had a wide open net to flick the puck into. 1-0 Wings. You watch:
A mere 31 seconds later, just as they were finishing up announcing the first goal with the arena still buzzing and us still horripilating, Drew Miller crashed the net and tapped in a Cory Emmerton rebound to make it 2-0, just like those fluke goals in mid 90s video games. Feelings were good at this point and going into the third.
Less than five minutes into the third, though, Patrick Kane got the Blackhawks on the board. 2-1. Also on the board was Johan Franzen, but that didn't wind up in the books for some reason.
A moment later the Hawks nearly tied the score at 2-2, but the goal was waved off due to interference with Howard, much to the chagrin (Chicago-in?) of the Blackhawks. But according to Rule No. 35.93, you don't interfere with Jimmy Howard after boarding a mule. That's a real rule I just made up. Here's the controversial video:
A moment later, Datsyuk got magical again, putting the game all but out of reach with another wrister gatorade rattler. Now you have a chance, now you don't - the magic man:
Yep, that's Pav. And that's the Red Wings winning Game 3. I haven't had this much fun watching the Red Wings since 1997. Seriously. I'm pretty sure that was the last time I didn't absolutely expect them to win each and every playoff game.
Game 4 is on Thursday night at 8pm ET. I expect the Red Wings to win. Duh.
Mike Babcock said the Red Wings sat back and watched Game 1, doing about as much skating as I did in the 4-1 loss. In Game 2, they skated and they dominated the No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks, flipping (Filppula'ing?) the script and evening the series for Game 3 on Monday in Hockeytown.
The Blackhawks lit the lamp first in the first period after a Wings defensive breakdown, allowing Patrick Kane to score his first playoff goal since he started growing his beard back in the 2011 playoffs. The Wings had three great scoring chances in the period and outshot the Blackhawks 12-8, but couldn't cash in.
It didn't take long for the Wings to even things up in the second period, though, as Damien Brunner deflected a Jakub Kindl shot past Corey Crawford a little over two minutes in. They celebrated. 14 minutes later, Henrik Zetterberg made an amazing play to fend off a diving Blackhawk and showed even better patience with the puck as defenseman Brendan Smith crashed the net for an easy one-timer goal from the stick of Captain Z. They celebrated again.
In the third, Johan Franzen wristed one by Crawford to make it 3-1 and Valtteri Filppula went flying and, during his ride, he put the game completely out of reach. We all celebrated.