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.


Image Detail

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.


Image Detail

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


Image Detail

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.


Image Detail

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.


Image Detail

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. 

Image Detail