The Low Down on D-Town (April 10, 2012)

It’s that time of the year again! April is upon us and that means the start of Red Wings playoff hockey and Tigers baseball. Unfortunately, for the past few years it has meant the end of the Pistons season, and not the playoffs, but there’s always a hopeful offseason ahead.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers just keep hitting. In the opening series against the Boston Red Sox, they swept them out of town, scoring a total of 26 runs in just three games. That is the most runs they have scored in an opening series in franchise history. Opening Day went off with a bang, and Verlander was the MVP and Cy Young winner he normally has been throughout the past year. Although he didn’t get the win, he did throw eight innings, only allowing two hits, one walk, all the while striking out seven batters.

Closer Jose Valverde blew his first save since 2010, but he did get the win with a walkoff single from Austin Jackson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Fans erupted with joy after the Opening Day win. Final score: Tigers 3, Red Sox 2.

Two days later, they faced the same team with a different pitcher. This time, Doug Fister started, but unfortunately, left in the fourth inning with a pulled muscle in his ribs. He was immediately placed on the 15-day DL (disabled list) after the game. The Tigers didn’t need Fister, though, as their bullpen held the Red Sox scoreless for all nine innings.

Michigan native and reliever Duane Below earned the win in the second game, throwing two and a third innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder each hit a pair of home runs, while Alex Avila hit his first of the year. It was Tigers offense from the start to the end, and it didn’t stop in the third game. Final score: Tigers 10. Red Sox 0.

Max Scherzer started game three, but he didn’t have the “stuff” that made him the second starter last year. On Sunday, Scherzer only lasted two and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out three. His ERA (earned run average) jumped all the way to a whopping 23.63 after that outing and will hopefully recover before his next start. It was a back and forth game between the Red Sox and Tigers, but in the end, some more late game heroics from Cabrera and Avila captured a sweep in the opening series.

The Tigers took an early lead, but soon gave it up, and were trailing from the third inning on before tying it the following inning. Then it seemed to go downhill. The pitching wasn’t on par and the offense seemed to stall. That all changed when Cabrera smoked a ball to deep left field with two men on, to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning at 10-10. Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn’t hold it after going into extras, when Joaquin Benoit allowed two runs in the top of the 11th inning.

The Tigers found a way to win, though. After getting an out, the Tigers got a few baserunners, and Cabrera scored on a sacrifice fly. Catcher Alex Avila came up to bat, and hit a bomb to right field, allowing the Tigers to have their second walk-off win in three games. The crowd erupted with joy, sending the Red Sox fans home with nothing but the experience of Opening Day and the opening series in The D. Final score: Tigers 13, Red Sox 12.

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons have a handful of games left in their season, out of the running for making the playoffs. Looking to the offseason, they have dropped two of their past three games. They won a close game, 99-94 against the Washington Wizards this past Thursday. Then, they didn’t seem to have enough gas left in the tank playing a back-to-back, as they lost to the Atlanta Hawks, 101-96. They had the lead for most of the game, but couldn’t hold it until the end. Finally, the Pistons played the Miami Heat, who (without Dwayne Wade) destroyed the Pistons, 98-75.

It wasn’t a good showing at all for the Pistons, who are just playing for pride right now, some for their jobs for next year. As the Pistons look to next year, (coming sooner than you think), they have nine games remaining, six of which are at home. Their next game is against the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13.

Detroit Red Wings: The NHL Playoffs are upon us, and the Red Wings have finished as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. That sets them up with a date with the Nashville Predators, the fourth seed. They split the season series 3-3, and it should set up as a very long, eventful first round.

The first game is tomorrow, Wednesday, April 11 at 8:00 p.m. in Nashville. Game 2 is also at Nashville, on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be on CNBC. Game 3 is at the Joe, on Sunday, April 15 at 12:00 p.m. on NBC, and Game 4 will also be at Joe Louis Arena, on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network. Game 5 will be at Nashville on Friday, April 20 at 8:00 p.m. on CNBC, Game 6 back in Detroit on Sunday, April 22 and Game 7 back in Nashville on Tuesday, April 24. The final two games have TBD start times and channels. Games 5-7 are also if necessary.

The Red Wings have gotten to the second round the past two seasons, so lets hope they can make it farther than that this year. As always, Go Wings!

To read the original article, go to The Michigan Journal.

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