This is a big day for Michigan sports as Michigan State defeated Purdue earlier 14-0, Michigan gets ready to kick off with Indiana, the Red Wings skate with the Coyotes in the desert and the main event of the Tigers taking on Boston in a do-or-die game.
Sparty continued to struggle on offense, this time to Purdue winning 14-0. Purdue might be one of the worst teams in the major conferences, and only getting 14 points is a shame. Even worse, one touchdown was by the defense and the other was a touchdown pass, from wide receiver Tony Lippett to tight end Andrew Gleichert on a trick play. Not a good look offense, but on the bright side the Spartan defense continues to be better than ever.
Michigan comes home to host the high-powered Indiana offense after the Wolverines first loss of the season at Happy Valley. Michigan needs a dominant performance to rebound from the loss last week and this could be the chance. Indiana likes to run a lot of plays quickly, and a large, loud Big House crowd could rattle some nerves and cause some mistakes. The Wolverines need to capitalize on every chance they get and take over this game quickly. I still think they will be able to pull it off, but how big the score will be is up in the air.
At 9 tonight the Red Wings look to win their fifth straight game while finishing up their two game western road trip against the Coyotes. Detroit will be without Niklas Kronwall as he was diagnosed with a mild concussion after a scary hit against the Avalanche on Thursday. But Detroit should be able to have Jimmy Howard back between the pipes tonight, after missing three straight games with a glove-hand injury. Backup Jonas Gustavsson has filled in very well, allowing five goals in three games to create some stability in the net if Jimmy were to miss an extended period of time or go into a slump. The Phoenix offense has been struggling so hopefully the Wings top-five scoring defense can continue that streak tonight as well.
Finally, the main event: Tigers vs. Red Sox. This game is an elimination game for the Tigers, but I don’t think that any team has ever been better suited for elimination games than this pitching lineup. Probably Cy Young winner Max Scherzer goes tonight against Clay Buchholz and 2011 MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander faces John Lackey in a potential game seven tomorrow. But first things first, Detroit has to get the offense going tonight if they want to even think about tomorrow.
Manager Jim Leyland still isn’t sure if Alex Avila will be available for the game tonight after a big collision in game five in Detroit. But regardless, the meat of this order needs to have a big game, Hunter-Cabrera-Fielder-Martinez-Peralta needs to be big if the Tigers are going to have a chance. It’s nice that Austin Jackson has gotten it going after moving down in the lineup, but anything the bottom of the order brings should be icing on the cake, not the deciding factor. I still think that Detroit can get it done and take this series, but it will be the bats, not the arms, that make the difference.