Archive for September, 2004

Tiger Shut Out Brewers, Clinch AL East Division

September 18, 1984 Tigers 3, Brewers 0 (97-54)

It was time to celebrate as the Tigers won the chance to play in the playoffs for the first time since 1972. Randy O’Neal and Willie Hernandez combined for a six hit shutout, and Lance Parrish drove in two runs.

The Royals held a razor thin margin over the Twins and the Angels, so who the Tigers would face in the first round still wasn’t clear. All Tiger fans knew was, WE’RE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!

Lions Vs. Texans

This is a pivotal week for the Lions as an organization. Overcoming adversity, or a big win for that matter have never been tendered among it’s strong suits. The Texans are a slowly developing expansion franchise who have accumulated some talented young skill players in their short history.

The Lions rush defense must be stout and contain Domanick Davis and his backup Tony Hollings. Davis fumbled twice last week so expect the Lions to be attempting to strip the ball whenever he gets carries. After a season where the Texans allowed the most sacks ever in the history of the game (2 yrs ago) they have gradually improved their O-Line so that David Carr has more time to make decisions in the passing game. The Lions will need to put some pressure on Carr and the Texans vertical passing game to compensate for their lack of depth in the secondary. In the Lions home opener, Kalimba Edwards must become a factor in the pass rush. I don’t believe the Lions will have the luxury of using many blitzes with the injuries to their linebackers and secondary. Andre Johnson and Corey Bradford are serious downfield threats to get big gains in this game.

On offense, the Lions will need to establish the run against Houston’s 3-4 defense. The 3-4 scheme features a lot of blitzing by the linebackers and the D-linemen must be fire hydrants in the trenches in order for the linebackers to flow to the ball carrier. This a week where the Lions experienced O-line must really step up, they have to get to the linebackers with their blocks. If Kevin Jones is capable of establishing the run the Lions will be more effective in the passing game. Harrington will have to be efficient and be prepared to make the right “Hot” reads to throw to their injury depleted receiving corps. This a big week in the development of receiver Roy Williams. With all of the blitzing the Lions should be able to stretch the secondary who were burnt more than once by the Drew Brees lead Chargers. Antonio Gates was particularly successful, so expect for Harrington to look to Casey FitzSimmons and Stephen Alexander to have some big catches. it will also be important that Artose Pinner and Kevin Jones do a good job in their blitz pick-ups. We are now familiar with the fact that Harrington rarely gets sacked, but when pressured he tends to throw the ball away taking the Lions out of their offense.

In the home opener coming of their first road victory in a long time I believe the Lions will win a close game 27-21.

Tigers Drop Brewers, Have to Wait One More Day to Clinch AL East

September 17, 1984 Tigers 7, Brewers 3 (96-54)

The Tigers would have to wait one more day to celebrate, as they easily handled the Brewers, but the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox. As it stood, the Tiger’s magic number was now down to one.

Roger Mason pitched six quality innings. The rookie gave up six hits and two runs, striking out four.

Lance Parrish hit his thirtieth homerun. He’d end the season with 33, and it would be final time he’d eclipse that mark in his career. Lou Whitaker hit his eleventh homer, and drove in four runs.

Tigers Pound Jays, Magic Number Now Two

September 16, 1984 Tigers 8, Blue Jays 3 (95-54)

This one was over relatively quickly as the Tigers rallied for seven runs in the first three innings. Six different Tigers drove in runs, and seven different Tigers scored. Marty Castillo, Tom Brookens and Larry Herndon all hit homers for the Tigers.

Four Tiger pitchers combined to hold the Jays to six hits and three runs (two earned). Juan Berenguer pitched five solid innings to earn his ninth win.

The Tigers took the series and basically won the division with two nice performances. They drew over 135,000 fans for the three game series, as Tigers fans everywhere were celebrating.

Wilcox Shuts Down Jays to Pull Tigers Closer to Division Title

September 15, 1984 Tigers 2, Blue Jays 1 (94-54)

What a performance by Milt Wilcox to pick up his seventeenth and final win of the season. Seven innings, one hit, one walk and eight strikeouts. The only blemish was a solo shot in the top of the second by George Bell. Willie Hernandez finished off the game by pitching the eighth and ninth to earn his twenty ninth save of the season.

Ruppert Jones was the batting hero. With the game tied in the fourth, he hit a solo shot to put the Tigers up for good. With the win, the Tigers cut their magic number to four.

Blue Jays Top Tigers, Stay in Contention

September 14, 1984 Blue Jays 7, Tigers 2 (93-54)

At this point in the season, the Blue Jays pretty much needed to sweep the Tigers in their final head to head series, and they got off to a good start behind a nice outing by starter Jim Clancy. He held the Tigers to four hits through five innings, and the Jays capitalized on more Jack Morris struggles, as he got hit for five runs in six innings.

Lou Whitaker was the only real offensive star. He went two for four, scored a run, and drove in the other Tiger run.

With the loss, the Tiger’s magic number was stuck at six. So regardless of what happened the rest of the weekend, the Tigers couldn’t finish off the division this week against their arch rivals.

Free Falling

No, I won’t be singing Tom Petty. I couldn’t do him justice. But nothing better states how the Tigers have done so far in September. With the Twins sweep, the Tigers September record is now 3-7. Rondell White and Carlos Guillen, two of the Tiger’s bigger bats, are out, possibly for the rest of the two weeks left in the season.

The highlight of yesterday’s game was “The Collision.” Just one more reason why you don’t mess with Pudge. He even got in a little boot to the head near the end (completely unintentional, of course). The rookie looked like he wanted to make a name for himself (The Tigers were up 4-0, and looked pretty pathetic at that point) by trying to take down a future hall of famer. Well, he made a name for himself….on the disabled list. Terry Tiffee looks like he’s done for the year with a seperated shoulder.

My son’s waking up, so I’m going to have to cut this short, and will edit it later.


With the injuries to “Pudge” Rodriguez and Carlos Guillen over the weekend coupled with the team’s performance while facing Minnesota one has to wonder if this season will prove to be one month too long. Until this point, the team was riding a crest of newfound hope and remained solidly competitive even if they were no longer a contender in the playoff picture.

It is important I think, for the Tigers to be able to end on a high note and continue to build from this season successes. If they begin to regress they could quite easily suffer from a similar fall to that Kansas City had to face this season.

An interesting component to the end of their season will be that Tiger fans will get a preview of some more players who figure into the teams’ future plans. Now that Erie’s been ousted from the playoffs, we will see more of Roberto Novoa (who looked plain awesome at times in particular versus Boston at home), Curtis Granderson and Ryan Raburn.

Bittersweet Victory

The Lions won the battle on Saturday, but it will be questionable as the season progresses whether or not they can win the war. Sunday’s victory, was a huge moral victory. Not winning a road game in over three seasons is nearly unfathomable.

Yet, heading into this season, if there were 5 players who needed to remain healthy and perform well in order to ensure Lions success. That list would include three who have already suffered serious injury(Dre Bly,Charles Rogers, Boss Bailey). Even more disappointingly, these players have major impact on any possible future successes the organization may hope to enjoy.

Charles Rogers loss in particular will hurt the team. He worked hard in the offseason to rehabilitate and prepare himself for a break-out season. He was very sensitive to being tagged as injury-proned and often walked out of interviews when questioned about his durability. Now, in what appears to be a season ending injury many questions have arisen about his future in the NFL.

In the meantime, this may represent the final chance for David Kirkus to become an NFL player. He has shown flashes, but will have to perform consistently when given the opportunity to play. The Lions success for the rest of the year will hinge upon keeping valuable players like Joey Harrington and Shaun “Big Baby” Rogers healthy. Otherwise, their interminable “rebuilding” process may have to start yet again.

Orioles, Dennis Martinez, Shut Down Detroit Tigers

September 12, 1984 Orioles 3, Tigers 1 (93-53)

Orioles starter Dennis Martinez shut down the Tigers, as he gave up only six hits and one run, while going the distance. The Tigers scored their only run when Chet Lemon scored on a wild pitch.

Roger Mason made his first career start, going four innings and giving up three runs. The rookie would be traded the following year to the San Fransisco Giants for Alejandro Sanchez. Randy O’Neal made his major league debut in relief of Roger Mason, pitching three solid innings of one hit ball. O’Neal’s career would run through the 1990 season, and he played for five different teams, mostly as a long reliever/spot starter.

Just a quick note on Alejandro Sanchez. He played six seasons, and racked up 214 at bats, mostly as an outfielder. Most notable about his stats are the fact that he walked only one time in his entire career, and it wasn’t until next to last season with the Twins.

Tigers Ride Strong Outing by Petry, Herndon’s Bat

September 11, 1984 Tigers 9, Orioles 2 (93-52)

This game was scoreless through four before the Tigers exploded for five runs in the fifth. Larry Herndon had the big day, going three for three and driving in three runs. Gibson went three for five, and Darrell Evans went four for four and hit his sixteenth homer of the season.

Dan Petry went 6 2/3, giving up only five hits, two runs, and he struck out six. Doug Bair and Willie Hernandez finished the game up, and with the win, the Tigers now had cut their magic number down to seven.

Season and Weekend Preview.

Five Things that will need to happen in order for the Lions to have a successful season.

1.Joey Harrington must reduce his interceptions, be even more accurate and effecient as a passer, and assume his role as a team leader.

2. Kevin Jones and Artose Pinner need to combine for at least 1400 yards rushing or the Lions will again be in deep trouble offensively.

3. A pass rusher has to emerge from their defensive line. Kalimba Edwards where the Lions hopes lie, must remain healthy and begin to fulfill his potential as a pass rusher. Hopefully Robert Porcher in less plays will be able to concentrate his efforts and be overall more effective. In a defense that will not blitz often under new defensive coordinator, Dick Jauron, it is imperative that Jared Devries, James Hall and Corey Redding step up the pressure.

4.The Linebacking corps that is thin to begin with must remain healthy. Dirty Davis and Teddy Lehman have a lot to learn. Their continued development will make or break this defense.

5. The Lions offensive line will have to be effective enough so that Harrington will not rush to throw the ball away, provide the type of blocking that will lead to rushing success and pass block well enough so that the Lions will have the occasional luxury of having the time necessary to stretch the field with the deep ball. Otherwise NFL Corners will jam the younger Lions receivers constantly at the line of scrimmage and prevent them from running their routes.

The matchup with Chicago is an intriguing one. The Lions have a wonderful opportunity to get a monkey off of their backs by getting an early road win. The Chicago offense and defense will be quite different under the watch of 1st year head coach Lovie Smith. To be truthful, I have a hard time seeing where Chicago will get their points from. Rex Grossman is a very young Quarterback, who is learning a new system. In order to beef up their defense, Chicago traded it’s best receiver, Marty Booker for Defensive End, Adewale Ogunleye. They will now rely on David Terrell, Justin Gage and Bobby Wade. Terrell is in a do or die situation. Thus far he has been a major bust. The bears are also taking a risk by going to the still unproven first rounder, Thomas Jones, who has rarely lived up to expectations. They do have some depth here with an unhappy Anthony Thomas, riding the pine.

Their defense is also questionable with their lack of depth in the secondary. They are forced to use RW McQuarters, who is normally a a nickle back. They have invested a lot in their defensive line with high draft picks used on Michael Haynes and Tommie Harris in recent years. It also remains to be seen if Ogunleye will be effective with all the attention he will draw. (In recent years he would be one on one on the outside while Jason Taylor, the best DE in football drew all of the attention)

The Lions will have to play a very solid football game in order to win in Chicago. Paul Edinger always seem to get a lot of crucial field goals versus the Lions. I think that this will be a low scoring affair, even with all of the question marks on both defenses. Their always seems to be an unknown contributor who causes the Lions troubles ala Brock Forsey or Jerry Azumah or Marty Mornihnweg when the Lions face the Bears. The Lions can outmatch the Bears if they control the time of posession and don’t turn the ball over. I predict a 23-13 Lions victory.

Lions Blog


Lionsblog can now be found at


With Brian’s encouragement I will have the great fortune of expanding the constellation of weblogs that orbit around this one in the upcoming weeks. I will be starting a Detroit Lions blog, with an extreme amount excitement on my part. I have been a lifelong Lions fan who has been drinking Honolulu Blue Kool Aid for my entire life. In the meantime, I will make some preliminary contributions here hopefully to everyone’s delight. I am open for any constructive suggestions on what you might like from a weblog of this nature.

I think that this weblog will be very fun, this might be the most exciting time in Detroit Lions franchise history. The Lions have remained one of the more inept teams in NFL history. What Lion’s fan doesn’t remember Eddie Murray’s missed field goal, Dave Williams 100 yd kickoff return and the playoff blowout by a Rodney Peete quarterbacked Eagles. Who will ever forget Billy Sims going ballistic on a table full of Gatorade, the Coin Flip in Chicago or Barry Sanders silently riding off into the sunset.

All of the Lion’s past disappointments have entered a newfound era of hope. The organization feels it has a credible coach in Mariucci. It still believes it has a franchise quarterback in Joey Harrington. The last two drafts have given the Lions even more hope because it’s recent lack of success has provided it’s roster with such potential stars as Roy Williams, Charles Rogers, Kevin Jones and Teddy Lehman. It is also a very critical year because the Lions have to make steps forward. The road losing streak MUST end this season and hopefully it will. Mooch must prove he is something more than Wayne Fontes with movie star looks. Joey Harrington must establish his role as team leader and become a more complete player. A franchise and city that will be hosting an upcoming Super Bowl must prove that it is truly first class.

Craig Monroe

Craig Monroe’s recent performance tells me he deserves a chance next year at being an everyday outfielder. Early in the year, many people wanted to write him off because he had become so ineffective against left-handed pitchers (a strength last season) and his power numbers had dropped so markedly. His recent tear gives him a decent opportunity to approach or match last years output and he now appears to be a more complete hitter overall.

I am also glad that the Tigers were unable to pull off the proposed Cliff Floyd for Bobby Higginson trade before the deadline. In essence, the Tigers would have 3 or 4 of the same player had they pulled the trigger on that trade. (Dmitri Young, Rondell White and Cliff Floyd are quite similar as players and you could argue that Monroe is very similar to them except for the fact that is he younger and more versatile)

By refraining from that trade, I think Monroe has a better shot at playing outfield next year full time while the Tigers will have to evaluate what they are going to do at 1st base, the entire outfield and 3rd base. I hate to suggest it, but they can’t exactly be pleased with this season’s offensive production by Dmitri Young, even considering his injury. He is a large man and we have seen many players who are big begin to break down more frequently from injury as the rigors of the sport and betrayal by their own body cause their careers to tail off. Do the Tigers at this point need an every day DH, when they have so many players they can use their? I really love Dmitri as a team leader and he had an excellent season last year. In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of professional sports the Tigers will be faced with some tough decisions this offseason.

Bobby Higginson has admittedly been an albatross in recent years. The fans have been quite merciless at games I have attended this season. In years past, when he was still in good favor with the local media these same fans would have supported him as the only recognizeable “Star” the Tigers possessed in their everyday line-up. I often grouseded at how overpaid he is (and still is). I have reverted to coming to his defense this year. Even with the low batting average and power numbers, I think he has been as valuable this year as in any previous just by understanding his role with the team, playing good defense (he leads the league in outfield assists), and by not striking out so much. That being said, I think the Tigers will officially be able to move on from the Randy Smith debacle when he is no longer brandishing the Old English “D”. They have already released Danny Patterson and in weeks Matt Anderson will be gone. It is time to make whatever trade possible to end his career in Motown. If there are no prospective trades, it may be advisable to eat that remaining year and use that roster spot next year for a developing player or an even more productive player.


I went to yesterday’s doubleheader. Did you ever wonder what it might be like to sit through a 26-5 Tiger loss. I had in recent years been present while the Tigers got shellacked by Anaheim (end of last year) and watched Oakland buzzsaw (during their 20+ game win streak) through Jose Lima in short work, but yet yesterday was a low point.

Jason Johnson, who recently complained about being pulled too early from a start because he was supposed to be the Tiger number one starter, had absolutely no command. Any pitch he threw near the strike zone Kansas City was able to hit. Jason Johnson’s recent performance may be opening the door for a return by Gary Knotts to the rotation before the year is out. I certainly do not have great confidence in the Tigers ability to win ballgames with the removal of Wil Ledezma from the rotation coupled with more appearances by Johnson. Jason had a nice stretch near the middle of the season but he seems to have proved what many experts have said that he is missing something that would allow him to be a more succesful pitcher through a complete season.

Yesterday gave me opportunity to think more about the Jeff Weaver trade. Hindsight is clearly 20/20 but is interesting to ponder that trade while watching Franklyn German struggle so mightily and Jeremy Bonderman pitch so well. Weav, who was very immature, has become a staff ace in Los Angeles. It appears that the Tigers have gained a very capable starter in Bonderman-who with any luck will peak as an ace starter to coincide with a more completely constructed Tiger line-up that will be able to benefit from his development. Franklyn German is an enigma. Even yesterday, there were moments where you could see how he could become a dominant reliever. He often was ahead in the count. Batters seemed to have trouble with his splitter. It will be a matter of just how much patience the Tigers can exhibit with him. I believe that the Tigers will ultimately have the better end of this deal, because Weaver is in his peak as a player and at this time the Tigers are just not quite good enough for him to be able to succeed in Detroit.

This offseason will be critical in Bonderman’s continued development and for Dave Dombrowski to make the tough personnel decisions necessary for this team to push closer to being a contender in their division. Yesterday I finally caught a foul ball at a Tiger game for the first time in my life. I was elated and very surprised when someone offered me $10 for it.

Flanagan Tops Tigers Again

September 10, 1984 Orioles 3, Tigers 1 (92-52)

For the second time in a week, Mike Flanagan shut down the Tiger’s bats. Kirk Gibson hit his 26th homer and had two of the Tiger’s five hits, and he was the only Tiger to cross the plate.

A good outing by Juan Berenguer went to waste, as he pitched seven solid innings.

The Blue Jays matched the Tigers by losing, so the magic number was now eight. The Tigers could split half of their remaining eighteen games and it wouldn’t matter if the Jays won every one of theirs, it was that close to being over.

Tigers Sweep Blue Jays, Cut Magic Number to Nine

September 9, 1984 Tigers 7, Blue Jays 2 (92-51)

Another late inning surge pushed the Tigers past the Blue Jays. With the Tigers up 3-2, Kirk Gibson hit a three run homer in the top of the seventh to give the Tigers a nice cushion. Milt Wilcox gave the Tigers a solid six inning before letting the pen take over and close out the game.

What a weekend series. The Tiger’s were struggling before coming into Toronto, but they really came through when it counted. With a magic number of nine, they had a realistic chance of clinching the division by the following weekend.

Late Inning Surge Helps Tigers Top Jays

September 8, 1984 Tigers 10, Blue Jays 4 (91-51)

This game was cruising along, and was tied 2-2 going into the seventh, when the Tigers exploded for two runs in the seventh, and six runs in the eighth. Jack Morris left the game in the fifth, and Bill Scherrer took over and pitched an inning and a third. Aurelio Lopez finished the game out, going three innings and giving up two useless runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Alan Trammell went three for five with three RBIs, and John Grubb hit two solo shots, and scored three times. The win cut the Tiger’s magic number down to 11.

Winning the Easy Ones

I know on any given day, even the worst team in baseball can beat the best. It happens. But with the Tigers loss last night, the season series with KC now sits at 7-10, so regardless of the outcome of the next two games, Detroit will have a losing record against the Royals. And this is one of the big reasons why the Tigers stand on the outside looking in, and are not in contention in the AL West.

To put it in even better perspective, the Royals have a winning record against only one team this year, and that team is the Tigers. Winning the games you should win is imperative for a winning franchise. Now I don’t expect them to go 19-0, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t expect something like 12-7 against the worst team in the American League. Three to five more wins (depending on how these last two fall out) would go a long way and mean we’d be at .500, or at least a whole lot closer.

The Tigers face Zack Greinke tonight, who simply manhanded the Tigers last week. Hopefully they’ve been watching the tape. He’ll be going up against Jason Johnson.

Oakland’s three straight losses have made the AL West a lot more interesting, and with Houston’s big run, there’s now five teams within 2 1/2 games of the NL Wild Card. Every game counts.

Tigers Take Round One in Extra Innings Over Jays

September 7, 1984 Tigers 7, Blue Jays 4 (90-51)

Wow, what a game. Up 4-0, future Tiger Doyle Alexander was cruising along until the top half of the eighth inning. Dave Bergman doubled to lead things off before John Grubb ground out to short. Lou Whitaker drew a walk, and then Alan Trammell flew out to right. Then Mr. Clutch, Kirk Gibson, hit a three run shot to cut the lead to one.

Lance Parrish drew a walk before Alexander was relieved by Jimmy Key. Barbero Garbey singled, and then Larry Herdon walked to load the bases. Then Chet Lemon drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game up at four a piece.

Willie Hernandez then came in to slam the door shut. Neither team scored until the tenth when Dave Bergman hit a three run shot off of Blue Jays reliever Ron Musselman. Willie Hernandez walked one in the bottom half of the tenth, but that was all they could do against him as he earned his ninth win.

With the win, the Tiger’s magic number was now 13. They definitely controlled their own destiny, they just had to fulfill it.

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