Joe Nathan has a 5.20 earned-run average, 1.58 WHIP and six blown saves -- not the credentials of a shutdown closer. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Let me weigh in on the Tigers fans who are booing their team. They have every right to, and I understand their frustration.
What closer Joe Nathan does not understand is the fans want a World Series championship, and they’ve been chasing it longer in this town than he has. They are more vested and their frustrations came out when Nathan once again showed he is not the closer the Tigers need at this moment.
He has become Sloppy Joe instead of Steady Joe.
Tigers fans see their window of opportunity to win a title closing, and Nathan represents a pretty significant reason why the Tigers are not World Series contenders at this point.
We learned the bullpen is very important during the loss to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series last season. The Tigers were the better team for seven innings, but they could not close out the Red Sox.
When you see Nathan flipping around with a 5.20 earned-run average, 1.58 WHIP and six blown saves, that lets you know the Tigers do not have a shutdown closer.
That is why they booed Nathan. He in turn gave the crowd a not-so-nice salute, and now the firestorm begins.
This is where the Tigers need Jim Leyland. He would have put out this fire a long time ago. Now you have players from Victor Martinez to Ian Krol talking about the fans.
We forget pro sports is a people business. It is something rookie manager Brad Ausmus is learning. He is only looking at the mess on the field and needs to look more at the mess off the field that has his team distracted at a critical time.
Right to yank York
It was a punch that not only knocked out a young University of Michigan student but hit us all in the gut.
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke did the right thing in announcing Monday sophomore wide receiver Csont’e York is off the team after he allegedly sucker-punched a man and broke his jaw last month.
The banishment did not come soon enough for many fans, who wanted him kicked off immediately. However, everybody is entitled to due process, even if the crime is evident and posted on every sports site around the nation. You still must gather all evidence and let the process play out.
So York was kicked off the team Monday and not last week, when Ann Arbor police released video of the incident and filed assault charges. What’s the harm in waiting?
Now the legal process takes over. York faces two counts of assault or assault and battery and also a charge of aggravated assault.
“Representing the University of Michigan is a privilege, and while second chances are certainly deserved, sometimes it’s better for everyone if it happens somewhere else,” Hoke said in a statement.
Here is the sticky part, however: If a prominent player does the same thing in the future, then the punishment must be the same.
Barrett can still lead OSU to top
Michigan State now appears to be favorites to win the Big Ten football title after reports Tuesday that Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller will be out for the remainder of the season with a dislocated right shoulder.
Not so fast, my friends. Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett is good enough to keep this team moving forward. He won’t make big plays like Miller but is the type of quarterback who moves the chains. He lacks a cannon arm, but in Ohio State’s offense that is not necessary. He is a very accurate passer, and that is all the Buckeyes need to remain dangerous.