The Wings elevated the words ‘meaningless games in the standings' to an art form in getting completely obliterated by IL League Champ Scranton yesterday and today. Saturday night they left their bats and their intensity in the locker room in getting no-hit by Jeremy Cummings. Today they basically left everything home in an 8-1 pasting by the Red Barons. If this is the Red Wings idea of getting tuned up for the playoffs, they may have another thing coming. Outhit 29-6, and outscored 13-1 by Scranton, the Wings have one day to figure it all out.
Yes, publically they will all tell you that they aren't worried; that these games meant nothing; that we'll ‘be ready' come Wednesday. But privately, these guys wouldn't be human if they all weren't thinking, ‘man how are we going to beat these guys..every aspect of their game is better than ours'.
Scranton went right to work against Red Wing pitching both games. There wasn't a single Wing pitcher who looked comfortable or who pitched effectively. The only ball the Wings hit hard over the past 18 innings was Garrett Jones' 21st HR, accounting for ‘all' the Wings offense this weekend.
Red Barons were paced by recent call-up Gary Burnham who went 8-10 in the series. He drove in 6 of Scranton's 8 runs today. Rookie J.A. Happ pitched 6 innings in his AAA debut and the Red Wings made him look like Roger Clemens. He fanned 4, and got the Wings to hit into countless infield pop-ups and weak ground balls.
Red Wings used 6 pitchers and only Beau Kemp managed to escape without giving up a run. Everyone else just looked overmatched today.
So it comes down to this: The Wings will be making their first post season appearance since 1997. The team is relatively healthy but full of holes left by recent key call-ups of Heintz, Rabe, and Baker. Shawn Wooten has some sore knees and may not be able to go Wednesday. Mike Smith will be the Wings starter for game one. A whole different team had better show up Wednesday night because the one I just saw couldn't beat the little league champions.
Perhaps Scranton has ‘used up' all their hits. Law of averages says when you are outhit 29-6 over two games, you're due for a good game. However Scranton is on a roll right now. They are hitting and pitching well. Wings have basically treaded water over the past 2 weeks. On paper, this series is a mismatch. The Wings will clearly be the underdog. This is where Stan Cliburn has to work his genius and get his club back out of the sewer. Because right now, plain and simple, they stink.