Anyone in Metro Detroit is familiar with the motto “April in the D.” It’s become not only a slogan, but an anthem in recent years. April in the D is an awesome time because April brings the start to our Tigers, and typically the start of playoffs for our Red Wings and Pistons. This year, as with last year, April is the end to Pistons misery, but for the 21st consecutive year, it’s the start of a Red Wings playoff run.
April, with warmth, sunshine, and flurries, has been only hot for our Tigers. Most people in baseball predicted the Tigers to win the Central Division and be a competing force for a championship. So, their start hasn’t been too shocking. But, nonetheless, the way they have ripped off such a start has been outstanding. The punch of Cabby and Fielder looks to be a double barreled force that could beam the baseball world for years to come.
That combination, coupled with hot starts of players like Austin Jackson and Alex Avila, has made the Tigers line-up steaming hot. Justin Verlander, as expected, came out throwing needled darts on Opening Day. The pitching has yet to round into form, with a potentially brutal blow of losing Doug Fister for a stint, Max Scherzer bringing his Bad Max impression to his first start, and Jose Valverde blowing his first save since 2010.
Even with a hurt Fister, a bad Max, and a blown potato cake, the Tigers started the season 4-0, until finally losing their first game today (they now sit at 4-1). Action Jackson is taking walks, and Cabby is more than holding his own at 3rd. And fans have yet to curse the name Gene Lamont. Not too shabby. Keep it up, April!
Even though the Red Wings skated through the meat of their season hotter than a steak on the grill, their last couple of months have included little sizzle. With a rash of injuries, and lately, a scoring drought of Global Warming proportions, the playoff run starts without much fanfare.
I will be honest in saying that this is probably the first time in over 20 years when I will sit and watch my Red Wings begin the postseason , and I won’t possess that annoying Hockeytown swagger. My confidence is shaken.
I’m not sure if the recent cold streak has left me frigid or frail. If their inability to score, like a hooker at morgue, has me frustrated or concerned. Or if the special teams discrepancy between Detroit and Nashville has me rattled like a Cowboy on Rodeo Drive.
I just don’t know what to expect.
I sadly say I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Wings lose this first round series. But on the flip side, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win the series, either.
That’s the funny thing with confidence; it takes awhile to build, and can often be quickly shaken. That’s the situation for me, as a fan. But I suspect that confidence, in reality, may be what the Red Wings actually have on their side. They are confident, even if I am not.
They have a dressing room full of experienced and calm players, and I have to suspect they feel they can win the series. And, with any sports, that is half the battle.
Normally I like to predict a series, but in this case, I’ll honestly say I can’t get a read. At times, in my gut, I fear that my feeling says “this isn’t the year for our Red Wings.” But, in another moment, I remember their resiliency, skill, and experience, and I say to myself “stop your fear based whining and just wait and see.” So, that is what I will do.
I’ll sit quietly next to my shaken confidence, and hope my Red Wings use their own confidence to light the lamp and heat things up!