Different lineup this week: Tom and Lynn is Tom and Tony.
Tony Paul is subbing for Lynn Henning, who is fishing in Manitoba, Canada. He goes up there once in a while and catches the same pike he caught five years ago, says Gage — who admits he’s jealous. And who openly admits he’s never caught a fish north of Mullet Lake in northern Michigan — and caught very few there, too.
Anyway, that’s where Lynn is, but Tony has never been known not to have an opinion about the Tigers.
Just ask those he argues with — and those he tells they’re wrong.
As his Twitter bio used to say, his opinion is almost always right. Want to see if that’s true? Here goes:
Tom: Not to put you on the spot up front, Tony, but what’s the last thing you were dead wrong about?
When it comes to players, I can tell you mine. I thought Prince Fielder would play in Detroit for the entire length of his contract. Never thought he would wear out his welcome so soon.
Tony: That’s an easy one. I thought the Tigers had to have shortstop Stephen Drew — like, really had to. He’s a veteran, a good left-handed stick and above average defensively. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where they didn’t scoop him up after the MLB draft, after which he no longer would cost a draft pick.
Then, predictably, the Red Sox brought him back 10 hours after my column was published.
Tom: The Tigers could have as many as five All-Stars: Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler.
How many will they have? I say all five will make it. There’s no justification for any of them not to be there.
Tony: I actually think you left one out: Anibal Sanchez. Yes, he missed a couple starts with that blister — when was the last time you missed work with a blister? — but when he’s pitched, he’s usually pitched tremendously well. In fact, I’d argue he deserves the nod — and, amazingly, it’d be his first — over Scherzer.
Cabrera is going, as a starter. To me, Porcello is an easy call, too, and will get picked, if not Sunday, then after a pitcher or two drops out, as they tend to do every year.
Problem with Kinsler and Martinez is, the competition at their positions is deep. I bet only one gets picked, and it’s gotta be Martinez. Just no Home Run Derby, please.
Tom: I asked this of Lynn last week, and we agreed. Will the Tigers acquire only a relief pitcher at the July 31 trade deadline, or do you see something bigger than that in the works?
We went the boring route with relief.
Tony: Boring is acceptable, when it’s correct. In this case, it most certainly is. Eugenio Suarez is the shortstop, barring injury; Andy Dirks is the left-handed bat they need and want. That only leaves relief help, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a big name.
Joaquin Benoit wouldn’t mind coming back from San Diego. Can’t see him as much of a surfer anyway.
Tom: The Tigers disappeared for 29 games in the first half, losing to teams they should not have.
Looking at the schedule, Paul-stradamus (sorry, Wojo), where’s the red flag for the second half?
Tony: I actually think they’re in the clear for a while. Biggest roadblock could be September. If they enter the final month in any kind of American League Central race, it’ll be tense — with six games against the Royals and seven against the Indians, the two most likely contenders.
For good measure, there will be three games against the Giants.
Tom: Traveling on the way-back machine now. What do you remember most about the first Tigers game you ever saw?
Tony: That’s a peach of a question. And I remember it well, though not the exact date. It was back in the ‘80s when I was just 5 or 6. In town visiting relatives, Dad told me and my brother to grab our gloves; we were going to the “park.” Little did we realize that park was Tiger Stadium. The game was against the A’s, I’m almost positive. And Dad should’ve had a foul ball. Hit him right in the hands.
That, Dad wishes I’d forget.
Tom: The 80’s? Mine was in 19$%*#. Sorry for the garble. Can’t fix it
Now to the ever-popular non-baseball question: In honor of our angling colleague, what’s the most expensive bottle of wine you ever purchased?
Make it a white wine to go with the fish dinner he’ll invite us over for when he gets back from Manitoba with his minnows.
Tony: Sheesh. Never liked wine much. So I’m guessing it was something with a screwtop, in a box or “Two Buck Chuck,” which I’m told now might be “Three Buck Chuck.”
Lynn knows I’m a beer guy, yet he still orders enough sangria for the two of us on the road.
I don’t help. Nor does he need my help.