Tigers have first big series, Pistons GM search deliberate, Derby weekend is here

By Rob Parker, ClickOnDetroit.com Sports Columnist, @RobParkerLocal4
Published On: May 02 2014 10:31:11 AM EDT

In honor of the late, great Joe Falls, it's a Fish Fry Friday...

The Tigers have their first big series of the season, a three-game match-up with the Royals in Kansas City starting Friday night. The Game 1 pitching matchup pits Rick Porcello up against James Shields.

These two teams opened the season in Detroit with a brief two-game set. The Tigers won both games.

Nonetheless, a lot has happened in the past month since the two teams met at Comerica Park. The Royals (14-13) are in second place in the American League Central. They have been able to keep pace win-wise thus far and are only two games behind the Tigers (14-9).

Granted, there's a long way to go in the season. Still, many, before the season, looked at the Royals as the lone team that could beat the Tigers in 2014 and win the division. The Tigers have won the Central crown the last three seasons.

The Royals are considered dangerous this season because they do the things that normally winning teams do - pitch well and play defense.

The Royals have the lowest team ERA in the AL. That's impressive when you realized that Bruce Chen's bloated 7.45 ERA (four starts) is included.

The Tigers have also had super starting pitching this year, especially from Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Still, there were some warts revealed in this first month of Tiger baseball.

Still, on the surface, Tigers fans should be thrilled. First place always feels good no matter what time of the year it is.

After all, the team has a new manager in Brad Ausmus, a rookie at running a team.
Plus, there were many changes to the roster in the offseason. The Tigers lost three big everyday players - Prince Fielder, Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante. And they don't have starter Doug Fister anymore.

Nonetheless, they have continued to win between the rain drops and all the scheduled off days.

But, it's hard to ignore their terrible bullpen. Detroit currently has the 29th-ranked pen in the majors. Plus, the Tigers are only 24th overall in runs. The team's overall ERA is 3.79, 17th in majors.

Let’s not forget the bullpen was the reason the Tigers lost in the ALCS a year ago.
The Red Sox hit two late grand slams off the pen, which enabled them, not the Tigers, to get to the World Series.

The pen must be fixed sooner than later, especially if the Tigers want to beat out Kansas City and hold onto the division.

No Need for Noise

Some fans aren't happy that the Pistons haven't made much noise in their search for a new GM and coach.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are out front screaming about how they want to make a splash with hiring a new coach. Mike D'Antoni resigned the other day.

Everybody and their uncle has been mentioned as a potential coach in LA.

Meanwhile, it's quiet at The Palace. No one knows who the front runner is for either gig.

Loud doesn't mean right or better. Plus, it's not the Pistons' way.

Relax. This is a big hire, especially the GM spot. The Pistons need to get someone that has a real shot at working out.

A name not really out there, but worth considering, is Allan Houston. He's currently the assistant GM with the New York Knicks. The former Pistons guard might be a good fit, given the chance to put together a new roster.

Plus, do the Pistons really want to land a recycled GM who has already failed in a few previous stops?

Kentucky Derby

Most people could care less about horse racing. But there is something that makes you stop on Derby Day and watch those exiting two minutes.

The Derby is Saturday and you will be able to watch it on Local 4 at 4pm. Experts have California Chrome as the favorite.

Some horses have great names, and often times people bet strictly on name appeal instead of the horse's track time. Count me among them this time.

My pick - because of the name, not any information I know about the horse - is Wicked Strong.

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