By: Matt Dery
1. Justin Verlander is an absolute beast. His complete game performance last night and ending the game on a strikeout was fantastic viewing. The Tigers’ ace took care of the Royals, allowing just 2 earned runs in the 3-2 win. But 131 pitches in a Mid-April game? That is dangerous. Jim Leyland heard what the fans had to say after the opening day debacle and you cannot tell me that did not have an effect on his decision to leave Justin in last night. But, facts are facts. Verlander’s ERA in the playoffs last year was over 5. I hope his arm is okay this October. If not, many fans will circle April 16th.
2. Jose Valverde’s ERA is 5.79. That is another reason why Verlander stayed in last night’s game. I wanted to bring that up, because I did not hear it on the TV broadcast last night during the ninth inning.
3. We had a very good discussion yesterday on “Valenti and Foster” about Jimmy Howard. I know the NHL is a different animal than it used to be, and the Red Wings cannot spend the kind of money that we are accustomed to… but, Howard has to be better. Maybe he does not have the kind of help in front of him that Chris Osgood had, but he needs to take this team deep in to the playoffs. Three straight years without a trip to the conference finals around here, in my opinion, is unacceptable. This is the Red Wings. It is not all on Howard, I get that. It is time for him to step up, though.
4. The Pistons will give Charlie Villanueva some opportunities to play these final six games. They might as well take a look at him, but I don’t see any way that he is back next season.
5. Lions President Tom Lewand tweeted today that he sees a lot of prime time games for the team this year. The schedule is going to be released tonight and rumors are flying around that the Lions could be hosting the Packers on a Monday night in 2012.