Detroit Lions have to take winning on the road

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
Headline Goes Here

In honor of the late, great Joe Falls, it's a Fish Fry Friday.

The Lions won their home opener against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field, giving many fans hope for the 2013 season.

Most NFL experts, however, have the Lions winning six or seven games and not making the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Most of the reason why is because the Lions have the second-toughest schedule in the league.

The second reason, the elephant in the room, is that the Lions are and have been a bad road team for a long time.

And four of their next five games are on the road, starting this Sunday in Arizona when they face the Cardinals.

Most would say, the Lions can beat the Cards. It sounds easier than it is. The Lions have lost their last six games out West. The Cards can be playing well or bad and somehow, they always beat the Lions.

From there, it's off to DC to play the Washington Redskins. Forget that the Redskins won their division last season. They, too, have the Lions' number. In fact, the Lions have never, ever won in the Nation's Capital. It's 24 games and counting.

That almost seems impossible, especially since Washington has had plenty of down years recently.

After a home game against the Bears, the Lions hit the road again.

First, it's off to Green Bay. The Lions haven't beaten the Packers in Wisconsin since 1991. Another incredible streak when you think that the Packers are a division rival.

The fourth road game in this starting stretch is in Cleveland. Again, the Brown are bad and the Lions should be able to beat them. Given their road woes, it's almost a must-win against the Browns.

But if the Lions are really ready to make a move up in the NFL rankings, they need to end some of these losing streak and start winning consistently on the road.

Peralta Coming back?

It appears as if Jhonny Peralta will be welcome back to the Tigers and be on the playoff roster.

Good for the Tigers. Peralta has been a big part of the Tigers' success over the years. Yes, he is serving his 50-game suspension for PED use.

But after serving his punishment, he should be allowed to play again. Peralta being on the team doesn't taint anything.

The Rangers will have Nelson Cruz's starting spot for him when his suspension is up later this month.

And like it or not, Alex Rodriguez is playing well and helping the Yankees claim a wild card spot. He is appealing his PED suspension. Rules allow him to play until his case is heard.

Still, some weren't sure if Peralta would return after the Tigers traded for his replacement, Jose Iglesias.

And while it's clear, Iglesias is the Tigers' starting shortstop, Peralta can help with his bat. The Tigers will have him workout in leftfield in hopes of getting him some at-bats out there.

Despite the Tigers' potent lineup, they know hits get harder to come by in the postseason. Last year in the World Series against the Giants, the Tigers scored just four total runs in getting swept in four games. In two of those games, they were shutout.

Hence, you can never have enough bats. Peralta can only help the Tigers win their first Fall Classic since 1984.

AL Manager of the Year

It won't be Tigers' manager Jim Leyland.

But the race in the AL will be very interesting.

Most think it will be Red Sox manager John Farrell.

In his first year in Boston, Farrell took the Red Sox from worst to first in the AL East. It's impressive because most pick them for fourth or fifth in the division.

Then there's Cleveland's Terry Francona. The Indians are still in the hunt for the AL Central title or a wild card this late in the season. In his first year with the Tribe, Francona has turned things around. Last year, they were a bad team.

Then there's the Yankees' Joe Girardi. New York lost four everyday players, but are in the hunt for a wild card spot.

Money's on Girardi, if Yanks make the playoffs.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.