Five Things for April 14th: Miggy’s 9th Inning Bomb Gives Tigers Win
1. The Tigers offense did not get much going for 8 innings last night, but they exploded for 4 runs in the ninth to get a come-from behind victory over the Orioles.
First it was Alex Avila, who beat a shift for an opposite-field single. Torii Hunter then had a great at-bat which led to a walk. Following him, Miguel Cabrera came up to the plate:
Miggy is back to being his healthy, incredible self who has delivered so many majestic moments over the last few seasons. This is another one that you can put on his highlight reel.
Victor Martinez then tuned on a 96 MPH fastball that he was so far in front of that he barley hooked it inside the foul pole. Joe Nathan came out in the 9th inning and closed out the win for the Tigers.
They will play a day game against Baltimore today. Highly touted prospect Kevin Gausman will take the hill for the O's, and he faces Justin Verlander.
2. The Pistons made quite the splash yesterday, filling two open positions with one announcement. Stan Van Gundy will be the new head coach and head of basketball operations, signing a 5-year $35 million deal according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Van Gundy is very highly thought of in NBA circles, and fits from a coaching perspective. He did some excellent work with Dwight Howard in Orlando, and might be able to aid the development of Andre Drummond in a similar manner. He also has a no-nonsense demeanor that this roster needs. However, I am skeptical about giving one person full control of a roster, in most cases it does not end well.
3. Also in the NBA, there was a wild finish in Oklahoma City that involved multiple controversial calls. First, there was a ball tipped out of Reggie Jackson's hands by Matt Barnes. The ball appeared to be off Oklahoma City last, but the refs gave the Thunder the ball. Then, Russell Westbrook was fouled by Chris Paul on a three-point attempt. Westbrook drilled all three free throws, and OKC escaped with a 105-104 win. The Thunder lead the series 3-2.
After appearing to be back on the right track, it appears that the Indiana Pacers have taken a step back again. They were blown out by the Wizards 102-79 last night. Indiana still leads the series 3-2.
4. Two of the last four Stanley Cup champions were in action last night, and one of them was eliminated. The Pittsburgh Penguins saw their season come to an end at the hands of Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. Lundqvist was phenomenal last night. He has won his last five game seven's, only giving up four goals in that stretch.
For the Penguins, there will be some tough decisions this off-season. The first one will be with head coach Dan Bylsma. Since winning the Cup in '08-'09, the Pittsburgh has made it past the second round only once in five seasons, and they got swept in the conference finals that one season. For a team with one of the most talented cores in hockey, that is not good enough for many people. You wonder if ownership would want to shake things up and get a different voice behind the bench. Rob Rossi of the Pittsbugh Tribune-Review is reporting that GM Ray Shero could also be in trouble. I can see why. The Pens just do not have nearly as much physicality or offensive depth as other contenders, and have not drafted and developed anyone to push Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Blackhawks advanced to the conference finals for third time in five seasons with an overtime win over Minnesota. Patrick Kane netted the game winner after the puck took a weird bounce off of the glass. They will play the winner of Anaheim and Los Angeles.
5. Michigan State added another football team to their 2018 and 2019 schedules. They will have a home-and-home with Arizona State, according to multiple media outlets.
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.