Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Temple Basketball, One Month In...

Here we are, a month into the season.  Some players on the roster are playing like we thought they would be and others have left a lot to be desired.  Some have earned more playing time, others are looking for someone else to get their minutes.  The record is pretty much exactly what we thought it would be at this juncture.  Here are my thoughts on the first month and what I think will happen in the next month of the season.

First let's take a look at the veterans...

KHALIF WYATT - Wyatt has been a disappointment so far this season.  Not a huge dissapointment but he definitely hasn't lived up to the earlier season hype.  His shooting has been abysmal.  For whatever reason, he can't just take a normal open shot.  He has to create a leaner, or pump fake and lean into a guy, or kick his leg when he is wide open.  Cmon man, just knock down the shot, you can show your man up or whatever, after it goes in.  I know the leaners and drawing the foul is a major part of his game, but if he doesn't start knocking down shots, who is going to fall for his pump fake?  Some were saying he is playing lazy, I don't agree with that, it's just his style of game.  When he plays methodical and plays well, no one calls him lazy, so I'm not going to go there just yet.  And the first few games he had good assists totals which is nice to see.  The scary thing I noticed in the Duke game is that the Owls seemed to play better when Wyatt was on the bench, I hope that doesn't become the norm.  Overall we'll give him a C on the year.

SCOOTIE RANDALL - Expectations were all over the board on Scootie coming into this year.  If you ask me, he has exceeded expectations.  He is a vocal leader on the court, he can get his shot off at any time, and he can rebound as well as anyone on the team.  He doesn't look like he is out of basketball shape either,  which was the one thing I was worried about.  He is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds a game and if you ask me, he'll end up averaging more points than that by the end of the season.  We'll give him an A on the first month.

RAHLIR HOLLIS-JEFFERSON - Rahlir is Rahlir, if you watch the games, you know what I mean.  He rebounds with the best of them, he plays harder defense than anyone on the floor, he can score garbage points when the opportunity is there.  But when he takes an open jumper or when someone passes him the ball on the run, you can't help but yell out, NOOOOO!!!!  I have been impressed by his blocking skills though, he's improved there.  Overall, I'm happy with his start, 10/8 is what we can hope for.  Grade B

TJ DILEO - Same as Rahlir, TJ is what he is and he knows his role.  He's been doing a good job of knocking down the open shot and guarding the best guard when he is on the floor.  He's not going to create his own shot or anything but I feel comfortable when he is open.  20 minutes a game, five points a game, we'll take that all day out of your six man.  Grade B

The two starting sophomores.....

ANTHONY LEE - Very, very, pleasantly surprised by Anthony Lee in this first month.  Dude learned how to score.  I figured he would be able to rebound and block shots, but I didn't think he would be that good of a finisher.  10 points a game to go along with 7 boards is a plus for this team, especially with the capable shooters on the roster.  If he keeps this up, he could be A10 Most Improved Player.  He just needs to stay out of foul trouble, his aggressiveness could hurt him in some road A10 games where getting into foul trouble is easier.  Grade for him will be an A.

WILL CUMMINGS - Will has been the second biggest disappointment so far, behind Wyatt.  You can see his ability, his quicks, his basketball IQ, but he just hasn't put it together.  The fact that he is getting less minutes than Dileo shows you what Dunphy thinks about him right now also.  I think he'll turn it around, with every game he gets more experience.  Look for him to get some serious minutes in the next few games against these cupcakes, get him some more game experience.  Grade so far is a D.

First year players....

JAKE O'BRIEN - I like this dudes game and I like his confidence.  His 11 threes are second on the team, and he's shooting them at 43%.  He is also averaging almost three rebounds a game in less than 18 minutes.  He gives Dunphy the chance to provide matchup problems for the opponents that most teams can't offer.  If Dunphy wants to go big he can move Rahlir to the 3 and have O'Brien and Lee down low.  I see Jake getting over 20 minutes a game during conference season.  I give him a B so far on the season.

DALTON PEPPER - Lukewarm on Dalton.  During the Duke game he was shooting with confidence and because of that he was hustling, playing defense, and aggressively rebounding.  I was worried about his lack of effort but it looks like he was just playing tentative earlier in the season, which I guess I can understand.  He's only getting 12 minutes a game, I don't see that going up very much.  Probably won't get any crunch time minutes.  I'll give him a C so far.

QUENTIN DECOSEY - The reason Pepper will lose minutes?  Because QDC will be taking them.  This dude just oozes confidence.  And man can he shoot.  I worry that his ego could get the best of him.  But I don't think it will, being cocky and confident in a reserve role is a good thing if you ask me.  He's 6'5" too so he can play the 1, 2, or 3.  Looking for big things from him.  Grade A so far.

DEVONTAE WATSON - Loved his dunk in a blowout with the clock running out in the first game against Kent State.  Ha.  Grade A.

DANIEL DINGLE - Grade F, only because I was told all offseason that he would be getting minutes.  But obviously, he's still going to be a plus for this program.

A few too many close games early in the season against bad schools if you ask me, or anyone else that follows Temple basketball.  But in the end, they were all wins, and really that's all that matters this early.  I just continue to be amazed at how Dunphy's teams can blow any kind of lead.  They were up huge against Kent and let them come back and tie it up.  Against Rice, Delaware, and Wagner at home they were up the whole game and could never pull away until the end.  If just one of those teams gets hot and pulls out the win, this team would be a huge disappointment.  The win against Villanova was good, Nova was hot early and Temple just stayed with them and showed their talent advantage in the second half to run away with that one. 

The Duke game deserves its own paragraph.  I actually felt good about this team when that game ended.  Duke hit 13 three's and Temple didn't get a free throw until 8 minutes left in the game.  The fact that they were down 11 with 6 minutes to go is a good sign when a top tier team is hitting shots like that.  Heck, if a few more fall for Temple, that could have been a single digit game going into the final five minutes, can't really ask for much more than that in a "road" game.  As I said earlier, the worst part about that game is that it seemed like the team was better with Wyatt off the floor, I don't like that.  So after the first seven games, I'll give the team a B-.  Record is where it should be, but the domination over the cupcakes isn't.

In the next four weeks the team will face five very, very winnable games at home.  These should be no doubters but I'm sure they won't be.  Temple needs to bury a couple of these teams to remind themselves that they have that ability.  In the middle of these games is the Syracuse game.  At the end is the last nonconference game at Kansas.  Personally, I think this team will win the Syracuse game.  They have the talent, they have the confidence, and every year they beat one of these teams.  Who will get hot and take over?  We had Dionte against Tennessee, Juan against Villanova, Ramone against Georgetown, Wyatt against Duke.  Will it be Scootie?  Or possibly O'Brien hitting a few treys?  Either way, I'm guessing the Kansas game is a blowout, and not the good kind. 

So if this goes as I'm predicting, the Owls will be 12-2 heading into A10 play with a win over a top 10 team.  I think we would all be ok with that.  Let me know what you all think.  Until next time, thanks for reading.


Khalif Wyatt

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dr. Brackets First Edition

Today is the first big college basketball Saturday of the year.  With no college football it is the first chance for fans to really check out some teams and see what all the fuss is about.  We can all go check the rankings and see where the national media thinks everyone stands but we all know that is just a waste of time.  Most rankings are just based on school history, a couple big wins, offseason recruiting, and other things that really have nothing to do with how the team is actually playing.  In this blog we are going to try something different.  My buddy Mike Witte (AKA Dr. Brackets) has come out with his first edition of what the seedings could look like come March Madness time.  I'll write out what he has and I'll just make some notes on whether I agree or whether he should ever get mentioned on this blog again.  I figure I'll just call my self Brackets M.D. for this one.

Here is Dr. Brackets seeds....

1. Duke, Syracuse, Indiana, Michigan

Well those are pretty good picks except for one.  Syracuse isn't going to be that great this year, they lost some good players and like usual, they don't play anyone in nonconference so they are hard to get a read on.  Duke is really good, Michigan have some sick athletes, and Indiana has experience and smart players.

2.  Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Florida

From what I've seen early in the year, Florida would be my other one seed.  They are tough, have shooters and big men.  Arizona is suppose to be better, but they haven't really done much lately, they'll have to prove it to me, I'd have them a lot further down.  Louisville will be there in the end and so will Kansas.

3.  Cincinnati, Illinois, Ohio State, New Mexico

Cincy looks to be a good team this year, they have some good wins already, I could see this happening.  Ohio State to me will be a two seed, they are tough all around and Craft can rape a guy and not get a foul called on him.  I'm willing to bet some good money that Illinois doesn't even get a single digit seed.  They haven't played anyone this year and they just flat out aren't good.  They play at Gonzaga tonight, it's going to be a massacre.  The Lobo's are a sexy pick, I like it.

4. Gonzaga, Georgetown, Minnesota, Michigan State

Gonzaga will probably end up seeded higher.  They'll have a great regular season record which will warrant a high seed.  Georgetown is tough, and with a down Big East this year, they could get enough wins to get there.  Michigan State, meh, it doesn't matter, they'll be in the Final Four when it is all said and done.  Minnesota is an interesting gamble pick, they have beat San Diego State, Memphis, and FSU so maybe you are on to something here.

5.  Notre Dame, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma State

I feel ok about all of these picks.  Top 20 teams, ya, but I think Oklahoma State has a pretty high ceiling.  Big 12 isn't all that great this year so they could get some wins to vault themselves up higher.  I'm seeing a freefall from Mizzou compared to last year.

6.  Temple, San Diego State, Colorado, Wichita State

I'm really high on Colorado and Wichita State this year.  Both teams could get a top 4 seed.  Temple will be interesting, they don't have a great team, but they have a deep roster with lots of experience so they will win the games they should win.  San Diego State has been underachieving this year, they might not live up to the hype.

7.  North Carolina State, Miami, Oregon, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech will falter like every year, and they have beat no one this year.  Oregon has a really good homecourt advantage.  NC State will probably end up around here, they have more talent, but don't play as a team.  Miami, ugggh, they suck.

8.  Pittsburgh, UNLV, Creighton, St. Joseph's

Creighton will end up with a top five seed.  McDermott is a stud, the next Larry Bird.  St. Joe's will barely get in the tourney, they are wayyyy overrated.  UNLV and Pitt are middle of the road teams so that makes sense.

9.  Kentucky, Baylor, Memphis, Maryland

Whoa, Kentucky as a nine seed???  They will be at least a four, SEC is weak, they'll get hot.  Memphis also, CUSA is weak, they'll get hot.  Baylor?????  They are in the top tier in the nation, they'll be a top 4 seed also.  Did you just try to hide these teams down here to see if anyone read this far???

10.  Kansas State, Oregon State, Stanford, North Carolina

UNC at 10?  What?  Ya, they won't be as good as usual, but they'll be a top 4 seed when it is all said and done.  The others could go up or miss the dance altogether, enigmas.

11.  Xavier, Southern Miss, Iowa State, Wyoming

Iowa State misses the dance altogether, Wyoming is an up and comer.  Xavier, who the hell knows, I actually think they take a big step back this year.  Might even miss the dance.  How do you lose to Vandy?

12.  Ohio, Virginia, VCU, George Mason, Northwestern, Butler

VCU will be a top seed, they have some freak athletes.  OU, my alma mater, should make the tourney but they are so damn inconsistent.  They have their whole team back, but if you lose a few games, you have to win the tourney, and they could lose to a hot team.  I just don't know about them.  Butler is going to struggle in the A10 this year, but they could make it.  Northwestern for the first time?  I can dig that.

13.  Murray State, Davidson, Bucknell, Utah State

WHAT????  Just kidding, who knows about these teams.  Murray State should be the class of their conference with Canaan coming back and Davidson is always solid.  Probably will win their conferences.

14.  Hawaii, Illinois-Chicago, Iona, Western Kentucky

Hilltoppers are the shit.  What was that dudes name from Iona a couple of years ago that was a stud?  Hawaii, either way, they'll have to travel.

15.  Stephen F Austin, Weber State, Harvard, South Dakota State

Harvard is the class of the Ivy.  Weber State is in Utah, met some chics in Vegas that went there, fun times.  Who is Stephen F Austin?  Have you ever in your life met someone from South Dakota?

16.  Florida Gulf Coast, Gardner Webb, Norfolk State, Robert Morris, Stony Brook, Texas Southern

Robert Morris owns the Bobcats of Ohio, I do know that.  Don't know much more about these teams, just that for some reason they are division 1 schools.

Glaring ommissions.....

Wisconsin, Marquette, Colorado State, UCLA, and St. Mary's.

We'll be back at the beginning of conference play with the second edition.  What are your thoughts?  Thanks for reading, enjoy the season.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Temple 80, Kent State 66 (1-0)

A 14 point victory over Kent State in Tuesday's Season Opener showed us a lot about this Temple team.  A mix of good and bad things were on display.  Here is what I took away from the game, along with some first impressions on each player.  We'll do it bullet style....

- First off, welcome back Scootie Randall.  After missing a full season with a knee injury Scootie came out firing.  31 points is something none of us expected.  Boy do I love his shot.  He can get that shot off on anyone.  You could tell he was tiring towards the end of the game and his five turnovers show that he is still a little rusty.  But this game will do wonders for his confidence the rest of the year.  Expectations are really high now.

- First thing I noticed when I turned on the tv is that Temple is a really big team.  Granted, Kent State is a pretty small team, but each Temple player just looked physically bigger at each position.  Even DiLeo looks bigger than 6'3".  Anthony Lee put on some weight and looks powerful underneath.  Pepper is 6'5" and can really leap.  Lots of athleticism and size for this team, that alone will carry them against these weaker teams on the non conference slate.

- Dalton Pepper looked a little lazy to me, like he wasn't aggressive on the defensive or offensive side.  I'm not saying he is a lazy player, maybe he was just a little hesitant in his first game with Temple.  I hope that isn't something that is part of his game.  Like I said earlier, he's a big guy and he plays big, he'll help on the rebounding end for sure.

- Wyatt strained a hammy and didn't get the playing time he would have received.  He still played the way we are us to seeing.  In control, smart, methodical play.  When the game is on the line, he's the guy we want with the ball.  Six assists is something we probably won't see a whole lot this year.

- 19 turnovers really irks me.  It's the first game so sloppiness is to be expected, but they kept making the same mistakes over and over.  Travel, pass without faking a pass first, dribbling into a crowd, things that shouldn't happen as the year goes on.

- Jake O'Brien impessed me today.  All the things I read said that he could rebound and play D, no one said anything about his shot.  Knocking down two threes was something I was not expecting.  If he can stretch the D and provide space for Wyatt and Randall during the year, that will be well received.

- Will Cummings didn't do anything to excite me in the opener.  He's quick, he's smart, just didn't seem like a playmaker.  That 4 on 1 that he botched was poor.  Not down on the guy, I'm still looking forward to a big year, I would just choose to forget about this game if I could.

- If there is one thing that Dunphy has to be giddy about this year, it's the defense.  Each player on the team can lock down their guy on that end.  Randall, Cummings, DiLeo, and Jefferson are top notch defensive players.  Pepper and Wyatt look really good also.  Chaney would have loved to have these guys back in the day.  I wouldn't expect great defensive numbers as far as points a game, but that's because the offense is more fast paced than in years past.  But at the end of the game when a stop is needed, I will feel good about the defense.

- Rahlir looks about the same from last year.  Great garbage player.  He gets the loose ball, rebounds, plays D, moves the ball, but still can't shoot.  Nothing wrong with that though, with the scorers Temple has, he doesn't have to be counted on to score from the outside.

- Anthony Lee had a great game.  The announcer said it best, he just knows how to get open.  If he can continue to hit his free throws and score when given the ball down low, he'll be a huge asset this year.  He needed strength, and it looks like he put a lot of time into that in the offseason.  I have high expectations for him now for the year.

- DiLeo is your glue guy that every team needs.  He hustles like crazy, plays great D, and can hit an open shot when it is there.  Pretty embarrassing at the line though, ha, he needs to fix that.

Overall I give this game a B+ for a season opener.  Good offensive output, good defensive effort, good outcome.  Ball control could use a little work, and it's not a good thing to be outrebounded by a smaller team.  Not a bad thing to blow a lead and have to dig deep and get a win. Every time they are in that position, it helps them grow as a team.  But, obviously it's not a good thing to blow that big of a lead.  So as I said, mostly good, but some bad.  Looking forward to the next one Saturday at home vs. Rice.  Should be another win in front of the home crowd. 

What did you all think of the game?  Any different observations?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Temple Owls 2012-2013 Preview

Another season of Temple Owls Basketball starts Tuesday at noon.  This will be a very interesting season.  The schedule is loaded with big games, and also loaded with some very winnable games.  The roster is the deepest that I have seen in my 20 years of being a fan.  There are 10 players that will get significant time as the season plays out.  This will be my preseason prediction post.  I hope to have a post after every game, or at least after every game that I watch. 

Looking at the schedule, there are a few things that jump out at you.  One, there are a lot of very winnable games on the slate.  Nothing is a gimmie we have learned, but some of these games are pretty close to that.  Rice, Delaware, Wagner, Towson, Alcorn State, and Canisius all at home could help the Owls get out to a quick start.  To me, no road games are gimmies, I don't care who they are.  Temple once again plays some big names in the non conference portion.  Duke, Kansas, and Syracuse will let us know where the team stands early on in this season.  Another thing I noticed was that the team alternates home and away the whole entire conference slate, never seen that before.

As we mentioned before, this roster is deep.  At least ten players will get a chance to play this year, which is something you usually don't get from a Temple team.  Khalif Wyatt will be the team leader on the court.  He has the skills to score over 20 a game and win the A10 player of the year.  His only downfall is his attitude, can be a little heady at times.  But at the same time, what makes him great is his fearlessness.  When the game is on the line, the Owls don't need to worry about someone stepping up, Wyatt will do that.  Senior Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Sophomore Anthony Lee will be returning as starters from last years team.  They will do the dirty work, rebound, play D, and score when given the ball down low.  Probably the most athletic bigs we've seen in awhile.  Scootie Randall returns after missing all of last year.  We hope he comes back the way he was playing when he got hurt.  He is the vocal leader on the team.  TJ Dileo is also a senior and will get big playing time.  His defense is very valuable.  Will Cummings is the man to watch.  He was a top recruit from 2011.  He didn't get much playing time at all last year with Fernandez and Moore playing guard.  All I read is that this kid can play, I'm pumped to see it.  Dalton Pepper and Jake O'Brien will also be in the rotation.  They are transfers and both will play key parts.  Daniel Dingle, Quentin DeCosey, and Devontae Watson are this years freshman class.  Dingle looks to step in right away and make a difference.  Injuries have played a part the last few years, let's hope this year is different.

Let's take a look at the schedule and try to predict what is going to happen.  Remember, I hope they win every game, so I hope my predictions of losses are incorrect, but here is a stab in the dark.

at Kent State   Win, close game, Cummings has a big start.
RICE               Win, home opener, blowout
DELAWARE  Win, another pasting, Randall breaks out with 5 threes
at Buffalo        Win, beatdown on the road, need to send a message after last years near loss
WAGNER       Win, route, Jefferson sets a career high with 20.
at Villanova     Win, Big 5 game, hard fought, Wyatt goes for 30
DUKE              Loss, will be a good game, but as we all know, Owls won't get the calls in the end
TOWSON        Win, close game, tough one after the Duke loss
ALCORN STATE   Win, thrashing, Cummings goes for 25
CANISIUS      Win, close one over the holidays
at Syracuse       Win, huge W, resume builder, Temple beats a top 10 team every year, Scootie is the hero
DETROIT         Win, close one after the Cuse W
BOWLING GREEN     Win, massacre for payback from last years L
at Kansas          Loss, probably a beatdown, tough place to play
at Xavier          Win, down year for Xavier, I'll be there
ST. LOUIS       Win, don't lose conference home games, DiLeo has a big game
at George Washington   Win, don't lose to GW very often
ST. BONAVENTURE   Win, beatdown, Dingle has his breakout game
PENNSYLVANIA         Win, Big 5 game, probably a bit more comfortable than last year
at Butler           Loss, first big conference game for Butler, tough one to take, I will be there
RICHMOND    Win, Anthony Lee with a double double
at St. Joseph's    Loss, God I hate just saying that, but it just has that feeling
CHARLOTTE    Win, probably not close
at Dayton           Loss, I'll be there, Dayton gets every call at home, ha
DUQUESNE      Win, beatdown
at UMASS         Loss, four straight conference road losses
LASALLE          Win, Big 5 game, they played the Owls tough last year, time for payback
at Charlotte         Win, last time we play these guys, not a bad thing
RHODE ISLAND     Win, Rhodey is going to be weak for awhile
at Fordham           Win, starting to roll now
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH    Win, Senior Day, Wyatt goes for 40

Some notes:  25-6 overall, 12-4 in conference.  Undefeated at home.  Wyatt averages over 20 a game.  Wyatt first team all Conference.  Cummings and Randall second team all conference.  Dingle Newcomer of the year.  Cummings A10 Most Improved.

Postseason prediction.  You can laugh, I am, this is total guessing...

A10 First Round win over Butler
Semi Final loss to UMASS

5 Seed vs. Seton Hall, Win
Second Round vs. Michigan, Win
Kansas Sweet 16, Loss

28-8 Overall
Sweet 16 Appearance

Agree?  Ya, I don't agree either, I guess I'll just have to watch the games.  I'm ready for this season, should be a good one.


Khalif Wyatt

Saturday, September 15, 2012

College Football Saturday

Today brings a few big games and a few others that could be good games.  Let's take a look at a few and I'll throw in a prediction.  But remember, if you are sitting there thinking, "Is Curt biased?"  The answer is, hell yes I am.  Enjoy.

Wake Forest at Florida State
Both teams are 2-0.  Wake beat FSU last year so FSU is looking for a little revenge.  The Seminoles are a few experts pick to win it all, so obviously they can't afford a letdown.  It'll be interesting to see how this one goes since FSU hasn't played anyone.  And seriously, I mean NOBODY.  But I still think they take this at home.  Wonder if Jenn Sterger will be there?  FSU in a romp.

Arkansas State at Nebraska
Only mentioning this game because of the family ties.  Nebraska in a romp.  Why do they even play these games?

Louisiana Monroe at Auburn
LMU coming off the upset win at Arkansas has to be feeling good.  And Auburn is 0-2.  Don't care, but interesting nonetheless.  Auburn in a close one.

Alabama at Arkansas
Crimson Tide beatdown, and we are about three weeks away from John L. Smith getting the axe.

Navy at Penn State
Good Lord, could they start out 0-3.  I think they do.  That stadium is going to be half full by the end of the year.

Florida at Tennessee
Big game for the south.  Florida is a good disciplined team, they won't give this one away, but Tennessee has a few playmakers for once.  Arian Foster will be proud, the Vols take this one.

Ohio at Marshall
Honestly one of the only roadblocks for OU to get to their undefeated season.  This will be back and forth until the second half, but Marshall won't be able to stop the Bobcats.  Bobcats 41, Marshall 30.

Bowling Green at Toledo
Ummm, who cares?

USC at Stanford
USC is way better than Stanford, but the Cardinal are at home.  So I still like USC but it'll be closer than it should be.  USC by 7.

Notre Dame at Michigan State
Both teams are overrated and probably won't be in the Top 15 by the end of the year.  Notre Dame has played two weak teams and Michigan State can't do much on offense.  I think this is one of those 13-10 games.  I'm guessing the home team comes out on top.

California at Ohio State
Well, I usually pick an upset here, but I don't want to be predictable.  OSU has come out slow in both games so far so I think they will take some shots early to try to end this quickly. Maynard for Cal can make plays, along with my man Iso Sofele.  They will be able to hold their own at the line, unlike the weaker teams OSU has played this year.  But in the end, Cal just isn't that good and OSU is clearly better than them.  But cmon, I can't choose OSU, I'm taking Cal in a thriller, 34-33.

So that's 10 predictions, and 1 who cares.  I'll take 8-2.  Probably going to be 5-5.  Oh well, let's watch some football.


Theme song you'll be playing later...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reds Playoff Options

With three weeks to go before the playoffs, let's take a look at who the Reds could play and who they want to play. 

Nationals are leading the Reds for the one seed right now by 2.5 games.  Barring some kind of collapse by either team, the Reds won't be playing them in the first round.

The Giants are sitting comfortably in the three hole right now, a whopping 5.5 games behind the Reds for the two seed.  They also have a seven game lead on the Dodgers right now for the AL West crown. 

So basically, the division champs are pretty much set in stone.  The seedings could change, but the teams won't.

Here is where it gets tricky.  The Wild Card is a mess.  The Atlanta Braves right now have a 5.5 game lead on the Cardinals for the first Wild Card spot.  They have a 6.5 game lead on the Dodgers in the Wild Card race overall.  So the chances of them missing out on the Wild Card is very very slim.  So let's give them the four seed.

Behind them is St. Louis.  As we all know, they are reeling badly.  They can't beat anyone.  I saw a tweet today stating that the Cardinals are only one game worse than they were last year at this point and we know how that ended.  They have four this week at the Dodgers but then they play the Astros, Cubs, and Astros in their next nine.  So even though they are trending downwards, they are clearly not out of it.

Sitting one game back of the last spot is the Dodgers.  They are struggling big time now also but they have the team in front of them for four games this weekend.  It's right in front of them.

2.5 games out of the last spot is the Pirates.  I'm not even going to waste my time on them, they suck, they are failing miserably, and we all are enjoying it very much.

Phillies are 3 back with their next seven against the Astros and Mets, uh oh.  They are scary and on a mission.

The Brewers are also only 3 games back with 18 to go.  How in the heck did that happen?  They don't have a great pitcher, they don't have a good bullpen, they have holes in their lineup, I just don't get it.  They finish with six at home against the Astros and Padres, so who knows, they might be able to steal this.

And the Diamonbacks are only four games out right now.  13 of their final 16 games are against losing teams, so you can't even count them out yet. 

So if you are Reds, who do you want to play?  Or better yet, who do you NOT want to play?  You don't want to play the Phillies.  They own the Reds and their pitching can shut anyone out.  You don't want to play the Cardinals, they have our number in big games and I couldn't stand to lose to them again.  You don't want to play the Braves.  With Medlen and Kimbrel pitching the way they are, they can beat anyone.  So if I'm the Reds, I want that 2 seed.  I don't want to get the 1 seed and have to play any of these Wild Card teams.  I would be happy going to San Francisco for the first two and then coming back to Cincy for the final three.  I'm not for throwing games, but if it comes to it, let's do it.

You all agree?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Postseason Roster Prediction

With the season ending three weeks from today and the Reds enoying an 11.5 game lead in the Central, I think it's ok to look towards the postseason.  Reds will have plenty of days to rest guys, set the rotation, and give some guys some looks in different situations.  Because of this cushion, I think it would be a good time to take a look at what I think the postseason roster might look like come playoff time. 

As we all know, the playoff roster consists of 25 players.  You can change your roster for each series.  In the first series the Reds will only need to carry 4 starting pitchers due to the off day between games 2 and 3.  Those four will be....

Johnny Cueto
Mat Latos
Bronson Arroyo
Homer Bailey

The only real question here is, what order do you pitch them in.  I'm not going to get into that since we don't know who they will playing yet.  Another question that you could try to argue is, what about Leake instead of Bailey?  I don't think that is even a thought in the Reds eyes.  Homer was lightyears ahead of Leake from May to June, then he struggled, but he has only given up four runs in his last three outings.  He has the potential to throw a gem or at least give you a good quality start in the playoffs.  Right now, none of us are trusting Leake to do that.  We just aren't.

Next is the bullpen.  The question here is, do you carry 12 pitchers or 11.  I think you should only carry 11, but Dusty and Walt will probably carry 12.  That gives you eight bullpen spots.  The locks are....

Aroldis Chapman
Jonathon Broxton
Sean Marshall
Jose Arredondo
JJ Hoover
Sam LeCure

So that leaves two more spots.  I think Logan Ondrusek will get one of those spots.  Right now, I don't trust him, but if you have to go to him to get one guy out, he can get the job done.  So he's my seventh guy.  So the last spot comes down to Simon, Leake, and the sleeper, Tony Cingrani.  Simon hasn't really pitched in any late inning situations this year, but he could throw a few innings if the game went to extras.  Same with Leake.  I don't by the argument that he could also be there to pinch hit, it just won't happen, too hypothetical.  And Cingrani has a chance because we all know the Reds would love to carry a third lefty.  The obvious argument against him is his experience, because of that I think he gets left off.  My pick for the last spot is Simon.

Logan Ondrusek
Alfredo Simon

Ok, so we have 13 position players to choose from.  The locks (barring injuries of course).....

Joey Votto
Brandon Phillips
Zack Cozart
Scott Rolen
Ryan Ludwick
Drew Stubbs
Jay Bruce
Chris Heisey
Todd Frazier
Wilson Valdez
Ryan Hanigan
Dioner Navarro

So that leaves one spot, and it comes down to just two guys.  Do you carry a third catcher in Mesoraco or do you carry the veteran experienced Miguel Cairo.  This, to me, is the toughest question to answer.  If you carry Mesoraco, you can use Navarro to pinch hit and still have Mez to fill in at catcher if something happened to Hanigan.  If you carry Cairo, he can pinch run, or fill in for any of the infield spots in case someone got hurt.  Plus, if he had to pinch hit late or lay down a bunt, I would feel much more comfortable with him out there then Mesoraco.  If it were up to me, I would put Cairo on the roster.  Mesoraco just doesn't have a whole lot of confidence right now and with the off days, Hanigan will be able to catch every game if need be.  Either way, that will be an interesting decision.

Miguel Cairo

Ok, so there are your 25 the way I see it. What do you think?  Let me know.

Magic Number down to 8.  I was hoping I could see the clinch game next weekend, now I'm thinking it won't make it to the weekend.  Oh well, great problem to have.


EDIT ON 9/13/12

As my man Doug pointed out, I have a glaring ommission here.  Pretty embarrassed by it actually, but I forgot Xavier Paul.  He is a lock on this roster.  Dude can pinch hit very well and has earned his spot on this team.  So that means Cairo doesn't make the team, or if they take one less pitcher like I mentioned above, then Paul and Cairo would both be on the roster.  My mistake, don't make fun of me, ha.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Three Stars 8/3

Well, that's 21 out of 24.  4 in a row.  4.5 game lead in the Central.  Magic Number sits at 53 to win the division.  Here are tonight's three stars....

No. 3  Chris Heisey  1-3 HR

Started off the scoring with an inside the park homer.  Great hustle by Heisey.  When that ball hit the wall he was already at second, I don't know if any other player on the team would be going all out like that.  I personally don't think Heisey has the talent to be a full time starter, or an all star in this league.  But if you have to put Chris Heisey in every once in awhile to give your starters a rest, that's a good thing, some teams would kill for that.

No. 2  Zack Cozart  3-4

Cozart had a good game at the dish.  Only hit the ball hard once, but just getting on base three times has to do a lot for his confidence.  Loved the bunt after the Latos homer, great little changeup there that no one was expecting.  He also was part of three big double plays.  He is about as automatic as they come in the field, might be our guy for years to come.

No. 1  Mat Latos  7.1 IP, 4 H, 5 K's, 0 R, 1-3 HR, 2 RBI

Stud.  Totally in control tonight.  Reached 96 on the gun and had a curveball falling off the table.  I love how he just takes a hard cut at the plate.  Hey, if you hit, something good might happen, and it did.  I also love Latos' cockiness.  If he wasn't on our team, I would hate him, but he is on our team, and I love it.  Pretty much have to say that the trade in the offseason has been good for the Reds.  I don't care how the ex Reds do in San Diego, we got Latos' to help us win a title in the next few years, so right now, the trade is working.

Couple thoughts from tonight...

I don't think that pitch by Chapman was intentional, but it is debatable.  He missed that plate by a lot.  It will be interesting to see if there is any retaliation Saturday night.

The fade starts tonight for the Pirates.  I still think they won't even be in this in September.

Nice to see Latos' telling Price he was gassed.  Some guys just want to keep going.  You have to know with the Reds' pen that there will be someone else that can get the job done.

Marty getting his head shaved was pretty funny.  He actually looked better when he had just a little hair.  Also funny how his negativity came back to haunt him for once.

Another big one Saturday night.  Let's bury the Pirates now and put them in a fullout tailspin.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ten Things I Think I Think....Reds Edition...

Ten quick thoughts after today's/tonight's huge win....

1. I think you leave the rotation alone for this 20 games in a row stretch that the Reds are on. If either Leake or Bailey becomes totally inept, then you make the change and go with someone else. If that means Chapman, LeCure, Francis, or Tomko, so be it. Just make the decision and go with it.

2. This win seems even bigger because you have to think a 3-4 week here is probably going to happen. You'd rather be .500 after that then two games under.

3. Votto's numbers jumped big time today. It almost looks like he is having a big year now.

4. I feel bad for Dusty. He has to decide every day between Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick. Poor guy.

5. Ludwick, Frazier, and Heisey have no chance on any curveball low and away. And every team knows it, they don't even come close.

6. Valdez is a good professional hitter, but other than that, he doesn't give you much. He has zero range.

7. If you put Champan in the rotation and Ondrusek is unavailable some night, are you comfortable with Simon, LeCure, and Arredondo coming in to shut it down in the 7th and 8th? I'm not.

8. This winning every getaway game is getting ridiculous. The Reds are 5-0 on Sunday's now.

9. Votto, Bruce, Cueto, and Chapman should all end up on the all star team. Sounds pretty good right.

10. Only 2.5 games out of the central lead and only 1.5 out of the final playoff spot. The season hasn't gone the way we all wanted, but we are hardly out of it. Season is still young, just over a fifth of the way through.


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Saturday, April 28, 2012

NBA First Round Preview

First round only...quick thoughts and winners.

Eastern Conference

1 Bulls vs. 8 Sixers
It's hard to predict sweeps because you would think each team would win at least one home game, but I don't think that happens here.  I'm taking the Bulls in four.  The Sixers can't score enough to win a game.  The Bulls play playoff basketball and that's all you need to know.  BUT, I hope my boy Lavoy Allen has at least one big time play, if he sees the court it might happen.

2 Heat vs. 7 Knicks
This will hopefully be the best series of the first round.  Amare is back, and as much as everyone wants to beat on his defense, the dude can score and that's what they need to win.  With Melo playing some of his best ball in a long time, this team could steal some games.  But on the other hand, the Heat are really good, even if it is impossible to watch them whine every game.  I'm going with Heat in 6.

3 Pacers vs. 6 Magic
Do the Magic come together and try to win without Howard and show them they don't need him?  They'll try, and they'll win a couple of games because they can shoot, but the Pacers are just a good team.  Pacers in 6.

4 Hawks vs. 5 Celtics
This will be a good one too.  The Celtics are getting old, but still have three or four studs.  Hawks for some reason just dominate at home.  So I kind of think they take this one.  Hawks in 7.

Western Conference

1 Spurs vs. 8 Jazz
Man, could it get any more boring than this first round matchup?  The Jazz are a good team, but for whatever reason the Spurs just seem to score whenever they want to.  Spurs in five, I'll give the Jazz one game.

2 Thunder vs. 7 Mavericks
This will be better than people think.  The Thunder are really really good, but the Mavericks have experience and know how to win.  Who would have thought the Mavs would miss Tyson Chandler this much?  I see Dirk straight up stealing a couple of games, I think this one goes seven.  Thunder in 7.

3 Lakers vs. 6 Nuggets
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.....Kobe is about to take off.  This is it, his last chance to win as the man.  Next year it's Bynums team.  He'll get another title one of these years but he'll be the sidekick.  Anyway, I personally think Metta being out will help them.  Barnes can handle it.  Nuggets are a sneaky good team, but we all know Kobe does his best work in Denver, oops, can you say that?  Sure you can.  Lakers in 6.  They take games off, we all know that.

4 Grizzlies vs. 5 Clippers
This will be a good one too.  It'll be interesting to see how beat up Griffin gets in this playoff series.  The Grizz play a little dirty and hard and he'll be knocked to the floor a bunch of times.  Chris Paul will get his, but will it be enough?  The matchup is actually really good at each position.  I think I'll have to take the Grizz in 7 since they have that last game on their court.

Well, there you go.  We'll be back in two weeks with the second round.


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Reds Game #3

Well, I had to witness another loss.  Another game though where the Reds had many chances to win. 

First and second no one out in the sixth and they can't get a run across.  Stubbs on third with no outs in the eighth and they can't get him in.  At the time it didn't look like either would matter since the deficit was large, but when you lose by two in the end, it's hard to not think about those things.

Bullpen looked great again.  Didn't give up a run in 5.2 innings.  Simon didn't look great, but he didn't give up a run so it'll do.  Hoover looks really good.  Arredondo honestly looks unhittable and Ondrusek has still not given up a run all year.

Leake struggled as we all know.  He just hits too much of the plate.  He's like a Maddux, needs to hit spots and keep the ball moving in and out.  When he leaves them over the plate they are going to hit it since he only throws in the mid 80's.  Im thinking it's mental for him, and he honestly might not be able to get through it this year, might be time for a change.  And I'm usually not the guy to call for changes, we'll see what happens.

Tough luck of the night goes to Scott Rolen.  He went 0-4, if you look at the boxscore you would think, well there is another bad night for old creaky Rolen.  Well, that would be not true at all.  Rolen smoked a liner right to the second baseman.  Then when two were on in the sixth he hit a gapper to left center that the center fielder ran down.  Then in the ninth he drilled one to center that looked to be gone but the center fielder made a catch running right into the fence.  Rolen is seeing the ball really well right now, I don't know how long it will last but the Reds need to ride it as long as they can.

Ok, a little Votto smack here.  The guy is one of the best hitters in the game, we obviously know that.  But that at bat he had where he fouled off seven pitches and then doubled to the left center gap had me really puzzled.  It's hard to make this argument since he came away with a great result but here it goes.  Those six balls he fouled off in a row were some of the worst swings I have ever seen.  He was punching the ball, swinging late, barely tipping them, looking like an idiot.  You could say he was fighting them off, which is true, but he is swinging because they are strikes and he doesn't want to strikeout, I get it.  But I'm standing there thinking, what exactly are you looking for?  And when you get that "perfect" pitch are you going to drive it, or take another stupid swing.  I don't know how to say this, but the guy just mindfucks himself so much.  I dont know, just something I was thinking.

It was some kind of kids night last night, middle schoolers everywhere, super annoying. 

Back to back jacks in the ninth was cool.  I was thinking if they could have gotten Votto up they would have won, just dug too deep of a hole early.

Cueto will get the Reds back on track tonight, no doubt about that.  We'll be there for Game 4 of our Reds 2012 extravaganza.  1-2 when I'm in attendance, it'll only get better.  Have a good weekend.  Out.


Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce, left, slides safely into home plate past Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro, right, after a Todd Frazier triple during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 27, 2012, in Cincinnati. The Astros won 6-4. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reds Game #2

Went to our second game of the year tonight.  2 out of 25 is where we stand.  Reds are now 1-1 in games we've attended.  And by we, I mean my wife and I.  We also brought my UC attending Brother In Law.  I've been to a lot of Reds games in my life, but it's hard to top the experience that we had tonight.  Here are some things that happened and some things that we saw during tonights experience.

First off, we had a parking pass.  We parked under the stadium, turned the corner, walked up some steps and we were right at the gate.  If parking passes weren't so expensive, that would be the only way I would park for the rest of my life. 

So since we had some time, we walked across the street to the Holy Grail and had a quick beer.  Only 4 bucks for a 16 ounce bottle.  That's a steal compared to what you have to pay in the stadium.

I had an extra ticket since we got a free one at Redsfest.  I didn't need it so I walked by the ticket office and saw some young ladies in line.  I told them they could have my free ticket and I think I made their day, ok, probably not but maybe.

Oh and did I mention we had free tickets right behind the dugout about 20 rows up?

So we get in the game and find our seats, then of course, it starts raining.  We are about two or three rows from being under the overhang, so of course we are getting drenched.  Everyone starts moving up and sitting under the overhang, we just stay and get soaked.  Well, eventually, about the end of the third inning, pretty much everyone is up there.  So we say, screw it, we are already wet, let's just move closer.  So we walk all the way to the third row, sit there for an inning, then we move to the first row.    From the fourth inning on, we sat in the first row right by the Reds on deck circle.  Talk about seeing the game from a different angle. Here are some things that happened while we were sitting there.

Votto fouled a ball off and it rolled to Phillips who was on deck.  He turned and threw the ball to my wife, she was pumped. 

Then in the eighth inning the ball boy got a ball and handed it to Dusty.  He looked right at me and fired me the ball, so that was cool. 

After the game, when the players were exiting into the clubhouse, Votto took off his hat and threw it in the crowd, some lady got it, but that was pretty cool.

Then Brian yelled, BILLY!!!  Hatcher smiled and threw him a ball.  So we all ended up with a ball, and we weren't even the obnoxious fans that ask for a ball everytime one comes near which made it even cooler.

And even funnier was during the seventh inning I got four text messages in a row.  One said, TV.  The next said, nice seats.  The next said, dude, just saw you on tv.  The last said, Dude, I just got escorted out of the Rays game.  So apparently we were on tv during the Willie Harris at bat (if that's what you call it).  The last tweet was from my buddy Jeff who didn't get to watch the whole Rays game in Tampa, ha.

So ya, great experience tonight, can't complain at all.  I just know that no matter where we sit from now on, the seats are going to suck.

Quick thoughts on the actual game...

Bronson looked good, he got out of a few jams, something he hasn't done in the past.

Stubbs is dialed in, an amazing turnaround from week one.

Rolen crushed that ball and it made it about five rows deep to left field, ouch.

Willie Harris just doesn't even look like a ballplayer.

Bruce clearly guesses on every pitch, and right now he is guessing incorrectly.

Chapmans pitches came in just a little bit faster than Arroyo and Zito's, ha.

Ludwick left early from third when he scored the tying run.

Pablo Sandoval hit one out of the stadium.  Like, gone, to the road.

Four of five.  Back to .500.  Like I said last night, I think this is going to be one of those great homestands.  Of to a good start.


Cincinnati Reds' Scott Rolen hits a four-run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Ernest Coleman)

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Cuban Missile Dilemma

Well, here we are, 16 games into the season, just around 10% of the year is complete and we still have a major decision that everyone keeps talking about.  We all know what that decision is, it's the Aroldis Champman debate.  Should he start or should he be in the bullpen?  Should he be "wasted" as a setup man, or should he flourish and live up to his full potential as a starter?  What I believe is again not what everyone else believes.  Here is my reasoning why, and what I think the Reds need to do.  I'm sure you'll still disagree, but maybe at least you'll have more of an open mind.

First off, I just want to reiterate what I thought should have happened at the beginning of the season.  I was on record saying that Chapman should not have started in the bullpen.  I thought he should have been in Louisville starting in the rotation.  It is only a matter of time that a starter in the majors either gets hurt or becomes so ineffective the only option is to get someone else.  When this happened, Chapman would be the man to fill in and prosper.  In going this route, he would be fully stretched out and he would get even more experience as a starter.  My second option would have been to put him in the rotation if that is what the Reds wanted to do, if they felt like Leake or Bailey just wasn't the answer.  My third option would have been to put him in the pen in the majors.  Now, that was my third option but once Bray, Masset, and Madson went down, I agreed with the decision to put him in the pen.  You need to have a good bullpen, bottom line, no question about it.  No team has ever won the World Series with a bad bullpen, not one.  (That last comment was based on rather extensive research, ha, not really, but it's probably true right?)

Aroldis Chapman has been lights out this year.  I've seen the stats, he's averaging almost 17 K's per 9 innings, he has only 2 walks, hasn't given up a run.  The numbers are staggering across the board.  But I totally disagree with every tweet, text message, and facebook post I get every time he strikes out a guy.  Put him in the rotation!!!  WHY ISN'T HE STARTING!!!  This guy is a setup man?!?!?!  Look, Chapman looks like he could be the next Randy Johnson.  He has the stuff, no doubt about it.  I think he will be a great starter someday, I really believe that.  But right now, he needs to be in the Reds bullpen, not in the starting rotation. 

You people realize that if Chapman is in the rotation, he won't be able to come into the game in the late innings right?  You understand that right?  Do you really?  So you are comfortable with Cueto going seven and handing the ball over to Ondrusek, Bray, and Arredondo with a one run lead in the 8th against the Cardinals?  Well, I'm definitely not comfortable with that thought.  Not even close.  His value is maximized this year out of the pen.  I said this year, not career.  Right now I don't like the idea of Aroldis pitching once every five days and not being available to shut people down in the late innings.  Ya, he might throw an eight inning gem and get a win, but he also might face a discipline team that just takes pitches and makes him throw 100 pitches in five innnings.  So now your best pitcher has thrown 5 innings and won't be able to help for the next four games.  I don't want that to happen right now.  I know what some of you are saying, "Well, Dusty only uses him once every five days anyway," well that my friends is a topic for another day.  But I'm saying, if used correctly, if used as a setup man in the seventh and eighth innings, if used to get a starter out of a late inning jam, Aroldis Chapman will be an absolute stud and an absolute MVP of this team if he stays in the bullpen this season. 

Real quick, I just want to squash some argument I've been hearing from some fans.  This whole idea of Aroldis has done what he was asked and the Reds owe it to him to be in the starting rotation needs to stop.  The Reds gave this guy 30 million dollars to leave Cuba and come play baseball, I don't think they owe anything to him.  He owes it to the Reds to do what he is asked to do and do it to the best of his ability, and right now that is what he is doing, and we are reaping the benefits.  No matter what management decides, I for one am going to enjoy watching this kid tear up the NL this year.  Heck, I already am, and I know you are too.  So let's just let it ride.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reds April 18

Pretty big game tonight if you ask me.  Latos needs to step up and show us something.  I believe that he will.  Only reason that doesn't excite me?  Because even if he gives up two runs, that might not be good enough for this team to win right now.  It'll get better, it has to, it can't get worse.  But when?  Today, tomorrow, next week, May, All Star break?  No one really knows, we can only hope.  I hope we score so we can win, but also because each game is getting more and more unwatchable.  I want to have fun, right now I'm not.

Tonights pick to click will be......drumroll please.......Drew Stubbs.  Not sure what he'll do to get that honor, but he'll come through with something.  I just have that feeling.

Like I've been saying on facebook the last couple of days, I use to not get into the Dusty issue, but now, I can't let it go.  He is hurting this team.  Not killing the team because the players aren't doing anything to help, but he is NOT putting guys in situations to succeed.  And really, that is your only job, put your players in positions to succeed.  I'm just going to give two examples from last night.  One was in the tenth inning last night when Mesoraco led off with a single.  No outs.  Pitcher spot up.  Ok, you need a pinch hitter.  Motte is on the mound.  Motte pretty much is throwing heaters, nothing else.  You have Chris Heisey who is a fastball hitter.  Well, some people say that Heisey doesn't hit lefties well enough.  Ok, Motte is a righty.  Heisey doesn't start because he's a good pinch hitter.  Ok, so this is clearly his ideal situation.  So who comes up?  Willie Harris.  The guy who is hitting less than .100.  I mean cmon, really?  There is no way that was the right call, no way at all.  The second one really isn't a situation, it's just a comment.  How do you play a ten inning game against your rival and not use your two best relievers and two best pinch hitters?  How does that even happen?  You have to try to be that pathetic.

One last thing on Dusty.  What exactly is the right situation for Chapman?  Does Dusty know?  Does Walt know?  Does Chapman know?  Heck, I certainly don't know.  He only threw 25 pitches on Sunday, off day on Monday, and somehow they didn't want to bring him in on Tuesday?  I just don't get it.  If having your best reliever on the mound in the ninth and tenth in a division game isn't the right move, then let's just do it, move him to the rotation.  I was ok with him being in the pen because I thought he could help the team the most there, but if they aren't even going to use him, then ya, let's start the experiment.

Oh, and get use to the new lineups.  I'd have to imagine that Dusty is feeling a little bit of pressure, and if he is, then he is going to start trying things.  He doesn't want to sit at home after being fired and think to himself, maybe I should have tried this, or maybe that.  He has to try.

The only defense right now for Dusty is that he doesn't have a whole lot to play with.  I mean look at the averages right now.  What the hell is he suppose to do really?  Which brings me back to the first point.  It'll turn around, but when, and who will get it going?  Good thing each night brings a new opportunity.  Cmon Reds, make this summer enjoyable.


Cincinnati's Ryan Ludwick rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam off Ross Detwiler during the first inning. Tyler Clippard had his problems in the 11th, allowing three runs in the Nationals' 8-5 loss. (Associated Press)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reds April 10

Boy, lots of things happening with the Reds this year. Mostly off the field however. Soon we will see how it all works out on the field. You may be thinking, what do you mean soon? The season has already started. True, it has, but we cant judge players and team decisions after four games. Well, you can, but you are just wasting your time. Bailey had one bad inning but he is already labeled a 2012 bust. Im pretty sure Chapman would have thrown a perfect game last night, at least that is the vibe I get from "fans". Can we all just wait two weeks to judge players? Dont they deserve that? In this day and age, apparently not.

Big game tonight. I know it is super early but these kind of games always have the chance to jumpstart a team or send a team in a tailspin. With a 10 game roady coming up, I think these next two games are big fir the team morale.

The Phillips contract is great news. The amount of guys locked up now is pretty sweet. Cueto, Latos, Chapman, Leake, Marshall, Votto, Bruce, Heisey, Mesoraco, Phillips, all thru at least 2014. Who knows if it will all workout but you certainly cant say the Reds arent trying. I do however wonder what Phillips asked for from the start. Did he want 8 years? Did he want 15 million a year? I cant imagine he got what he wanted but six years has to feel great for him. Im glad they git it done so we ALL can mobe on from this. I just hope his hamstring is still on the bone after last night, or Jocketty might try to smudge that signature.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reds April 8

Nice series.  Almost started the season on a down note but Bruce came to the rescue.  Just some thoughts on a few players...

Im ok with Latos first start.  I watched it from center field and you can tell he has really good stuff.  He just fell behind batters too much and had to bring strikes and got hurt.  He was trying to be too fine instead of just relying on his stuff being too hard to hit.  He'll come around, it's just one start.

Bruce has the homerun stroke going.  It's only three games, but barring injury, I would be surprised if he didn't get to 40 jacks this year.

Votto is struggling with the offspeed pitch, it won't last, just something I noticed.

Phillips has to be the slowest "fast" guy I've ever seen.  He just can't beat anything out.

Cozart will cool off once everyone has a book on him, but right now the dude just keeps hitting mistakes.  You hit mistakes in the majors and you'll be a .300 hitter. 

Rolen looks old, but that good kind of old that makes you look like a wiley veteran.  The only bad thing about that is that I just really can't see it lasting. 

Our bench is weak.  Other than Heisey or Ludwick, who is going to come up with a big hit in the clutch?  I know Cairo has the ability, but other than that?  It's still far away, but that will be the big need at the trade deadline.

I like how Jocketty seems to do a great job of keeping things quiet.  No one heard anything about the Latos trade until it was announced.  No one knew about Votto's extension until it was pretty much complete.  I just like the way he does business.  The only problem is that when you don't hear anything, you read peoples comments saying, DO SOMETHING, WHY ISN'T HE DOING ANYTHING???  Believe me, he's always doing something.  He just doesn't need you to know.

2-1, half a game out.  Huge series with the Cardinals starting Monday.  Every game counts for the same amount.  Just because this is an earlier series doesn't mean it's not important.  I'm hoping Bailey comes out and shuts them down.  He has had good success against them in the past, so I think he gets it done.

Looking Good

Looking Bad


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Friday, April 6, 2012

Reds April 6

Saturday will be the first game I'm attending this year.  One going on 25. 

This will be my first look at Latos.  Dude will be a huge part of this years success.  It will be interesting to see how he reacts to his first homer given up that lands in the first row of the seats.  He's use to pitching in the huge park that is Petco. 

We'll probably see Heisey starting in this one so that'll make some whiners happy.

Marlins have 7 hits in two games this year.  They'll hit this year, but hopefully they don't start doing anything until Monday.

Back to a half game out of first with the Cardinals win today.  Have to keep pace, ha. 

The Phillips news.  Hey, if he wants to sign for less years to be a part of this year, then let's do it.  If they can keep him, Bruce, and Votto for awhile, this could be the Big Red Machine II.  Don't want to look too much into it until it's written in ink.


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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reds April 5

Opening Day was about as much of a success as it possibly could be.  Everyone had a hand in the victory.  No one could go back home and say they had a bad game, has to leave a good taste in each players mouth.  Some thoughts on what happened today...

Phillips was working the count a lot.  Really good sign.  In the past he hasn't walked much and that could be the downfall of him being the leadoff man, but if he is going to work counts like that all year, then we might have something going.

Votto is just Votto.  Dude is so discipline up there it is ridiculous.

Every pitcher was throwing strikes and making the opponent beat them.  That will lead to success if it becomes a trend this year.

Cozart didn't exactly knock the cover off the ball but he got two hits, I guess that is why the box score doesn't always tell the whole story.

Some nice plays by Rolen in the field, he looks old, but a limber old.

Marshall's curveball is freaking nasty.

That's one for Bruce.  One going on 40 to 45.

And that is one for Stubbs also.  I'm talking about bunt hits here, I'll take 40 to 45 of those also.

161 games to go.  First place.


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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reds April 4

Going to post something every day on the Reds, even if it is only a couple of lines.  Today I'll go with some likes and dislikes going into Opening Day.


I like Opening Day, who doesnt?  It's a top five sports day of the year for me.  In no particular order they are March Madness Thursday, Masters Sunday, Opening Day, Week 1 Sunday in NFL, and the NBA Draft.

I like Chapman not being in the starting rotation.

I like Homer Bailey being in the rotation.  I think he breaks out this year.  I'm looking for a 15 win season out of him.

I like the Francisco trade.  I liked Francisco, but it was time to move on I think and they did it without waiting too long.

I like the Votto signing.  Well actually I love the Votto signing.  Some people aren't on board, but why?  Because it's too much money?  Who cares, it's not my money.  Look, the Reds are a small market, you can have a couple big contracts on small markets.  The way you stay competitive is to keep building through the farm system.  If a guy becomes awesome and you can't pay him, then the next farm stud comes up and replaces him, just keep going that way.  This Votto deal won't hold the Reds back, stop the negativity with it.

I like Bruce to have a huge this year.  Stubbs to also improve.  I think Heisey and Ludwick struggle all year, and it'll be the hot button topic again.  Mesoraco will be average, but that's ok as long as he and Hanigan stay healthy.


I dislike Chapman being in the pen.  I think he needs to be in the rotation in Louisville.  He would just get better, and then when the inevitable injury occurs he can step in and join the rotation.  If he stays in the pen for too long they won't be able to send him back to the rotation, it's not good for his arm.  Then again, who cares about his arm, get your six years out of him, who cares if he blows it out after that.

I dislike seeing us with zero power bat off the bench.  No lefty with any kind of pop.  People will complain about Ludwick starting, but at least then we have Heisey off the bench.  In the late innings, who can pinch hit and scare an opponent with their power?  Uhhh, no one.

I dislike the injury bug.  Madson, Masset, Bray, hope that is the end of it for at least a few months.

I dislike the Arroyo hate.  Dude averaged 16 wins a year for three years before last years debacle.  Let's give him a chance to bounce back before we just say he is the antichrist, he deserves it.

I dislike the Phillips to Votto comparison.  They can still sign Brandon, just not for the years he wants.  I think Brandon will play his ass off.  Half for the Reds, and half for his next contract.  Either way, that benefits the Reds.

That'll do for tonight.  Enjoy the game everyone, the marathon begins in less than 18 hours.

Oh, and a quick prediction.  Reds 88-74.  They get the wild card.  Win the playoff game.  Face the Diamondbacks in the first round.  They win that 3-1.  Go on to face the Phillies.  Get swept.  Overall, successful year.  Cueto finishes in the top 5 in the Cy Young voting.  Votto finishes in the top 3 of MVP voting.  Jay Bruce hits over 40 homers.  Drew Stubbs drives in over 80 RBI's.  Marshall gets over 35 saves. 

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts on Manning to the Broncos...

I just wanted to put my thoughts out there on the ongoing Manning soap opera.  It is going to end here this week so I thought I would let you know where I stand.  Here we go.

Do I want Peyton Manning to sign with the Denver Broncos?  Hell yes.  I want the Broncos to go for it and make the deal and go for titles.  With Manning you have a shot to win it all for the next three years.  With Tebow, you have a chance to be mediocre for the next ten years.  Elway isn't going to settle for mediocrity.  They have had Tebow for two years, and he played for four years in college and still doesn't have the abilities that most NFL QB's have.  He just won't ever be great, he just won't, sorry.  So you draft a QB this year in the third round, someone that Elway likes, and let him sit for a couple of years and when Peyton is done, he steps in and takes over.  Once Manning wins a few games, Tebow will be forgotten in Denver.

Why do I think Manning should pick Denver?  Look at their defense?  It's mostly young guys.  Dumervil, Miller, and Ayers are really good.  They have some safeties that are young.  Plus Fox is a defensive minded coach and they just signed Jack Del Rio to be defensive coordinator.  Those two guys are very respected throughout the league, they'll get some good guys to come play there.  They have like the third most salary cap space too.  Look at their receivers.  Demaryius Thomas is a beast, Eric Decker is really good route runner, Matthew Willis is up and coming.  Sign Reggie Wayne and they have one of the better receiver corps in the league.  Manning has to be thinking, "This team made the playoffs and won a game with a hideous offense.  If I put up 24 points a game at least, they would win 11 games easy."  The AFC West isn't exactly a powerhouse either, so the division is there for the taking.

You absolutely have to love John Elway.  How ballsy is this guy?  He knows that he doesn't want Tebow for the future.  I'm sure he likes Tim and wants him to succeed, but he knows he will not get the Broncos to the promise land.  He also knows that if he trades Tebow or brings in a rookie and starts him, his house will probably get burnt down and his legacy will be gone in Denver.  He knows that if any other QB plays and throws one incomplete pass the crowd will be on his ass so hard it will be a joke.  So how does he get out of this?  Sign Peyton Manning.  Brilliant!!!  The best part is what I mentioned earlier, Tebow won't be great.  So it's not like they will trade him and he'll come back to haunt them and be one of the best QB's in the game, it just won't happen.  Ya, maybe they'll trade him to Jacksonville and he'll be an icon, sell jerseys, fill the seats, win some games, but will he win a Super Bowl?  Hell no, not in the NFL. 

So Curt, you obviously hate Tebow, you hater.  Not true, I love Tebow.  Well, not as much as most, but I like him.  Here is what I wonder.  You honestly don't think Tim Tebow couldn't do what Peyton Hillis does?  Sure he could.  He's fast, he's obviously a bad ass and impossible to tackle.  So why not make him a fullback?  Could you imagine a third and one in a big spot and they hand it to Tebow and he trucks a guy for a first down and comes up flexing and screaming?  The place would go nuts.  Just because he isn't the QB doesn't mean he wouldn't have an impact on the team.  How many great leaders in the game aren't QB's?  A ton of them. 

And if they get Manning we will find out who the Broncos fans are, and who the Tebow fans are.  Believe me, there is a huge difference and I want the Tebow fans gone.  You annoy me. 

One last thought, what if Manning signs somewhere else now?  That won't be good.  Elway will look bad and will have to go with Tebow.  Tebow can say all he wants about it not affecting him, but how could it not.  He knows they don't see him in the future.  It could get ugly, and I don't want to see that happen.  I just want the Broncos to win, and that's honestly all I care about.  Do the right thing Peyton, join the good guys and take us back to where we belong.


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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blog Before the Selection...

Well, we're here, thank God.  I've been unable to blog the last couple days so I'm catching up and breaking it down here before 6PM.  I show 265 teams officially done.  I have 31 automatic bids and 24 at large locks.  That leaves us with 24 Zombie teams and a total of 79 teams that I feel are still alive in the chase for the title.  Here is who I show remaining.

UNC Asheville, Murray State, Belmont, Creigton, Virginia Commonwealth, Loyola (MD), St. Mary's, Davidson, Western Kentucky, Harvard, Detroit, South Dakota State, LIU Brooklyn, Lehigh, Montana, Vermont, Memphis, Norfolk State, Lamar, Colorado, Mississippi Valley State, Ohio, Long Beach State, Louisville, New Mexico State, New Mexico, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Florida State, St. Bonaventure, Michigan State

Wichita State, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Georgetown, Marquette, Iowa State, Temple, Syracuse, Kansas, Purdue, Indiana, UNLV, Notre Dame, Florida, Baylor, Duke, Wisconsin, Michigan, San Diego State, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State

I am putting these teams in order of RPI with a note on whether they will get in or not.  These are clearly guesses, I'm not trying to act like I know who will get in or not.  A few of these teams we are pretty sure will be in, and a few will most definitely be out.  But would you be surprised if any of them missed out or made it?  Not entirely, so that's why they are on this list.  13 of these teams will get in.

Southern Mississippi (21) Should get in, 9-5 against the RPI Top 100.
Colorado State (30) Should get in, but a 3-9 road record?  Uh oh.
Connecticutt (32) They'll get in, Big East, no doubt.
Alabama (36) Will probably get in, but also a bad road record at 4-7.
California (37) Zero wins over the Top 50 RPI, I think that kicks them out.
Iona (40) Also zero wins over the Top 50 RPI, they are probably out.
Xavier (41) Four Top 50 wins will get them in.
Marshall (44) 13 overall losses and 5-8 on the road.  I think they make it.
BYU (46) Only one Top 50 win but a good road record, probably make it.
North Carolina State (49) Only one tp 50 win, but a 23 SOS, probably make it.
Texas (50) 4 Top 50 wins and a 19 SOS.  They probably get in.
Oral Roberts (51) 2 Top 50 wins but a SOS of 193 will be their downfall.  They're out.
South Florida (52) 12-6 in the Big East, that has to count.  They make it.
Virginia (53) Loss 5 out of last 8, 86 SOS, just not enough, out.
Central Florida (54) 6 losses in CUSA and 3-8 on the road, they are out.
West Virginia (57) Don't deserve it, but they'll make it, probably with 9 Top 100 wins.
Miami (60) Only 3 Top 100 wins and 5-8 on the road.  Out.
Oregon (64) Zero top 50 wins, no way, they are out.
Drexel (66) 19 straight wins at one time, tough Colonial conference, they make it.
Nevada (67) Zero top 50 wins but 13-1 in conference.  Out.
Seton Hall (68) 8-10 in conference, that has to put you out.
Washington (71) High RPI, regular season PAC 12 champs, ughhh, they make it.
Mississippi State (75) 2 Top 50 wins but only 3 road wins out, not enough, out.
Arizona (76) Positive road record, one top 50 win, not enough, out.

This will be an interesting bracket.  I have Kentucky, Syracuse, Missouri, and Michigan State as my one seeds, but UNC is right there too.  Let me know what you think. 


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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Quick Saturday Morning Count

DEAD. 257

Added Zombies from Friday, Virginia, Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Central Florida, Tennessee, Colorado State, Miami, Texas, and California.

At large locks added were, Temple, Ibdiana, Syracuse, Kansas, Purdue, Notre Dame, and UNLV.

Been on the road the last couple of days. Will have a thorough count Sunday morning. Only two days of basketball left before the Selection.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Morning Update

After I went to bed we lost four more teams and added three more Zombies. The breakdown.

Mountain West - Wyoming
WAC - Utah State
Conference USA - UAB
Big West - UC Riverside

PAC 12 - Oregon (They are in trouble.)
SEC-Mississippi State (Seriously in trouble)
Big East - South Florida ( Should be in)

108 still alive. 236 officially done.

Awesome Friday action to come. Go Owls and Bobcats.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Three Days Left....

Another 35 teams were eliminated from the title race tonight.  A few more will lose tonight, but I'm going to bed at midnight.  The others will be updated in the morning.  That leaves us with 112 teams left at Midnight of Thursday night.  We also added 2 Zombies to the list along with 4 At Large locks.  Here is the breakdown.

Big 12 - Texas A&M, Oklahoma State
Big 10 - Penn State, Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska
Mountain West - Boise State, TCU, Air Force
ACC - Wake Forest, Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech
SEC - Arkansas, South Carolina, Auburn
Conference USA - East Carolina, Tulsa, UTEP
SWAC - Prairie View A&M, Alabama State
WAC - Idaho, Fresno State, San Jose State
Big West - Pacific, Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis,
MEAC - Delaware State, UNC Central
Pac 12 - UCLA, Stanford
Southland - Stephen F Austin, Texas Arlington
MAC - Western Michigan, Toledo

Big 12 - Kansas State, Iowa State
Big East - Georgetown, Marquette

Big East - UCONN (They have a handful of top 50 wins, and road wins, they should be in.)
Pac 12 - Washington (RPI is horrendous, nothing is good, but they won the Pac 12 regular season crown, have to at least be in the conversation.)

Total Breakdown...

ALIVE                         112 
AUTO BID                    15 
AT LARGE LOCK         6
ZOMBIE                         8

DEAD                          232

TOTAL                        344


Ucla Basketball

Championship Week 3

Four days left, 147 teams remain in the hunt. Wednesdays games saw 25 teams lose out, 3 earned auto bids, and 2 were added to the Zombie column. Here is the breakdown.

Big East – Pittsburgh, Villanova
Conference USA - Rice, Southern Methodist, Houston, Tulane
Southland - Sam Houston State, Northwestern State, Nicholls State, UTSA
SWAC - Alabama A&M, Jackson State
PAC 12 - Washington State, USC, Arizona State, Utah
MEAC - Savannah State, Howard
Mid American - Northern Illinois, Central Michigan
Big 12 - Oklahoma, Texas Tech
Northeast - Robert Morris
Patriot - Bucknell
Big Sky - Weber State

Northeast - LIU Brooklyn (Didn't look very good and Spike Lee was their biggest fan.)
Patriot - Lehigh (Good team and beat a good team in Bucknell. They'll be a tough out.)
Big Sky - Montana (Going to be a super tough out. They won a game in 2006 over Nevada.)

West Virginia - Probably will be in, but I would hardly call them a lock. Not a good team, but has some decent wins.
Seton Hall - Have lost 10 or 15 and have beat the bottom feeders of the Big East this year. Doesn't look like this team will make it, but they are squarely on the bubble.

ALIVE                           147
AUTO BID                      15
AT LARGE LOCK           2
ZOMBIE                           6 (BYU, Iona, Oral Roberts, Drexel, West Virginia, Seton Hall)

DEAD                           197

TOTAL                         344

Last six tourneys start on Thursday. Here are my quick predictions.

North Carolina is the class of the league and honestly, the only good team. Duke has big holes, Florida State can't score, and the others just aren't good. I got UNC.

BIG 10
Same thing with this league, I think OSU and Michigan State are good. The others? Just not sure about any of them. Indiana and Michigan are overrated. Wisconsin can't score. Purdue is short handed. Just not sure about this conference. I think Ohio State wins it.

Long Beach State is going to run this one. Only loss came in the last game and probably got them refocused.

Tourney is on UNLV's home floor. For that reason I'll take them. No other team in the conference has really stepped up either.

Can you really pick anyone other than Kentucky? I don't think so.

Idaho Vandals for the win. They beat New Mexico State and Nevada this year, so they can do it again.

No title games Thursday. Just a few important games...


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