5 Things for April 5th: Tigers Prepare to Take on White Sox
1. After missing another game Sunday due to a rainout, the Tigers have played a league-low 21 games this season. They start a two-game set with the White Sox tonight. Justin Verlander is on the hill for Detroit, and he faces Jose Quintana.
Chicago has won three of their last four games. The biggest story has been Jose Abreu. The 27 year-old rookie from Cuba leads the majors with 10 home runs, and is fifth in the league with a .626 slugging percentage. They have also gotten better-than-expected production from Alexi Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, and Adam Dunn.
2. There are at least two game 7's looming in the NHL.
There will not be one in Pittsburgh. Dan Bylsma made an adjustment by putting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line, and it paid off immediately. Malkin scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of the game, and finished the hat trick in the second period. Columbus mounted a furious comeback, cutting a 4-0 lead to 4-3 late in the third period. They did not end up getting the job done, and their season ended in the first round.
Patrick Roy has a habit of pulling the goalie earlier than expected. It has worked out for him twice already in this playoffs, but it did not last night. With the Wild clinging to a 3-2 lead over the Avalanche, Roy got Semyon Varlamov out of the goal with 2:44 left. The Wild scored two empty-netters to clinch a 5-2 win. Zach Parise was awesome, scoring two goals and two assists. These two teams will meet on Wednesday night.
San Jose was once in the drivers' seat against the Kings, leading the series 3-0. Things have really turned around since then.
The Sharks changed goalies, pulling former cup-winner Antti Niemi in favor of Alex Stalock. The two teams were locked in a tight 1-1 game, then the Kings took the lead on a controversial call:
The Kings won the game 4-1 and this series is headed to a game seven in San Jose.
3. The Pacers had extremely high expectations coming in to this season, and they appear to be collapsing right in front of our eyes. They were down 30 to the eighth-seeded Hawks in their own building last night before suffering a 107-97 loss. They now trail 3-2 heading back to Atlanta.
The Heat made quick work of the Bobcats as expected. Miami completed a sweep of the Charlotte last night.
The top-seeded Spurs were in danger of getting into a 3-1 hole against the Mavs, but were able to pull out a tough 93-89 victory. Manu Ginobili led all Spurs with 23 points.
4. A few baseball injury notes: Bryce Harper has to have thumb surgery and will miss at least two months. Clayton Kershaw will make his second rehab start this week. There is still not timetable on Chris Sale's return, and Aramis Ramirez left last night's game after getting hit on the elbow with a pitch.
Steve Miller is on-air from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. producing ‘Mad Dog in the Morning’ on The Game 730 AM. Follow him on Twitter @SteveMilllerWVFN.