Monday, September 30, 2013

Predicting the Wild Card Roster

Here is my shot at the Reds 25 man roster for the Wild Card Game on Tuesday night.  After that we'll take a look at what I think the starting lineup should be.  Let's get right to it...

Johnny Cueto
Homer Bailey

I'm pretty pumped that Cueto is starting.  He has a lot of confidence against the Pirates.  I also read somewhere that he felt really bad about getting hurt and felt like he let his teammates down.  Now he gets a chance to make up for it.  He'll be on the top of his game for sure.  You need a second starter in case something freaky happens like last year with Cueto.  Bailey would be on four days rest so I think he would be that guy.  And he does have a no hitter at PNC park, so he's not a bad second option.

Aroldis Chapman
Sean Marshall
JJ Hoover
Sam LeCure
Zach Duke
Manny Parra
Alfredo Simon
Logan Ondrusek

I say they go with eight relievers.  The above names would give them four lefties and four righties.  I was hoping Cingrani would be in there but they sent him out to Arizona to get some work in.  I really don't see any other options here.  Maybe they add one and put Leake in there to be an extra longman and hitter in case the game went 13 innings or something, but I doubt it.

Ryan Hanigan
Devin Mesoraco

I thought about adding Corky Miller here also, that way they could start Hanigan and use Mesoraco as a pinch hitter if needed.  I don't think that is going to happen however, but it might.

Joey Votto
Brandon Phillips
Zack Cozart
Cesar Izturis
Todd Frazier
Jack Hannahan

Nothing to see here, been the same guys all season.  And no September callups have done anything to even warrant a thought by Jocketty or Baker.

Ryan Ludwick
Billy Hamilton
Shin Soo Choo
Jay Bruce
Xavier Paul
Chris Heisey
Derrick Robinson

Same with the outfielders, really nothing to see here either.  Hamilton and Robinson really give the Reds some speed off the bench and Paul and Heisey provide bench pop.  Not that they'll ever get a big hit, but they at least provide the chance to get a big hit.


Shin Soo Choo  CF
Brandon Phillips  2B
Joey Votto  1B
Jay Bruce  RF
Ryan Ludwick  LF
Todd Frazier  3B
Zack Cozart  SS
Ryan Hanigan  C
Johnny Cueto  P

You may not like Ludwick right now, but he has had recent success against Liriano and you aren't going to start Hamilton, Heisey, or Robinson in this game.  I think Bruce should always be batting fouth.  With Ludwick's success against Liriano, maybe that gets Bruce one extra good pitch to score some runs. 

So what do you think the roster will look like?  Any suggestions on the lineup?  At least I hope we can all agree that we just want to see one good game.  One good start.  One big hit.  One big K in a big spot.  Just something to get them to Thursday.  This team is too good to go out like this.  C'mon Reds, make us happy.  Thanks.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Does Your Team Still Have a Shot?

After five weeks of the college football season we have a lot of teams that have no chance of winning the National Title.  Most of those teams never had a shot, we all know that, but now they literally have no shot.  By my calculations, there are 85 teams with a 0.0% chance of winning the title.  There are 126 teams in Division I this year so that leaves 41 teams with at least a 0.1% chance of winning it all.  Some of these 41 teams would need almost every single thing to go there way to even have the slightest of prayers, but I don't want to say a team is dead and then have them come back alive.  Make sense?  Here are your 41 teams that can go to practice this week with at least a shot at playing for the title in January.  Is your team on the list?

Florida State
North Carolina State
Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech
Texas Tech
Michigan State
Ohio State
Fresno State
Oregon State
Arizona State
South Carolina
Ole Miss
Texas A&M

If you remember earlier this season, I said I put some money on four teams to win it all.  Here is where they stand...

Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-1)
With the loss to West Virginia today, and no title game in the Big 12, they have no chance.  Haven't ripped up the ticket just yet, but if you look above, I don't have them in the alive category.  They are dead, no chance.

South Carolina Gamecocks (3-1)
Still have a shot, but it's a longshot.  If they can win out and get to the SEC title game, they could have a look at it.  But the only way they get to the SEC title game is if Georgia loses two SEC games, I don't see that happening.

Clemson Tigers (4-0)
In three weeks they have Florida State at home and then they end with a game at South Carolina.  If they run the table, and play an undefeated Miami team in the ACC title game, they could make the National title game.  I feel like this one has a shot.

Stanford Cardinal (4-0)
They have #16 Washington, #13 UCLA, #2 Oregon, and #22 Notre Dame all on the schedule, and all at home.  If they can run the table, they will definitely have the points to get them into the title game.  I like the looks of this one also.

20 teams remain undefeated after five weeks.

Any teams that you think still have a shot?  Or teams that you don't think should be alive?  Thanks for reading.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

And Down the Stretch We Come!!!

We have finally reached the home stretch of the MLB Regular Season.  For weeks now, I've heard people talking about this time of the season.  Where will the Reds be when they play the Pirates 6 times in the last 9 games?  Will it be for the division?  Will it be for the home Wild Card game?  Will it be for a playoff spot at all?  The answers to those questions are; maybe, yes, and God I hope not.  First here is a look at the standings and who everyone has left.  Then we'll just visit a few thoughts on where we are, where we might be, and the season in general.


88-65  PIRATES             1 GB
87-66  REDS                   2 GB

Remaining opponents: Each series is 3 games.

at Milwaukee Brewers

at Chicago Cubs
at Cincinnati Reds

at Pittsburgh Pirates


1. I think the Cardinals will lose 4 games the rest of the way.  Sounds like a pipe dream, but I really feel that way.  Milwaukee has been hot lately, so losing 2 there would not be surprising.  Then they get the Nationals who will probably still mathematically have a chance at a Wild Card spot.  And if you haven't noticed, the Nationals are scorching right now, having won 21 of their last 28 games.  Then they have their rival to close it out.  The Cubs would love nothing more then to crush the Cardinals spirits.  The Cards are good, and definitely in the drivers seat to win this, but their last 9 games are not easy by any means.  5-4 is my prediction.

2.  So that means the Reds need to go 7-2 to catch them.  Can they do it?  Yes.  Will they do it?  No idea.  Bailey and Latos are hot right now, so I could see them taking 4 games themselves the rest of the way.  If they take 2 of 3 in each Pirates series, and sweep the Mets, that's 7 wins.  It's there, the math works if the Cardinals agree to help them out.

3.  How badly are the Pirates freaking out right now?  They just about got swept in a 4 game series at home by the San Diego Padres.  That loss on Wednesday had to be so crushing to the players and the fans.  Up in the ninth with 2 outs and the Padres get 3 straight hits to stun them?  Wow.  If the Reds take Game 1 on Friday night, they are going to be like a deer in headlights.  If the Reds can sweep them here and the Nationals stay hot?  Uh oh.

4.  One more thought on the Nationals.  Root for them this weekend against the Marlins.  If they can stay in it, they'll go for broke to beat the Cardinals.  If they fall off, then they might throw in the towel.  Of course if the Reds lose the first 2 and the Nationals win the first 2, then root like hell for the Nationals to lose.  I don't want to go through that nightmare.  And if you weren't aware, the Nationals are currently 5 games behind the Reds for the last Wild Card spot.

5.  So the Reds are 2 games behind the Cardinals for the division lead.  We can all think of 2 games that the Reds have given away this year.  Heck, I can think of 5 or 6 right off the top of my head.  But you know, if they had just won 1 more game against the Cards, they'd be tied.  So think back to that 16 inning game a couple of weeks ago.  Or that game in St. Louis where the Reds led 4-0 and Craig hit a granny in the 7th.  Crazy that the result of 1 game looms so large. 

6.  I've been saying it since Monday, that loss on Sunday to the Brewers is going to haunt the Reds the rest of the year.  I just know it.

7.  Quick thoughts on Billy Hamilton.  First off, dude is lightning fast.  Second, I am so amazed at the way he reads the pitcher.  The pitchers right leg bends to begin to throw over and he's always on his way back.  Pitcher raises his left leg, he's already gone.  If you haven't played baseball, you have no idea how hard and nerve racking that is to stare at the pitcher and react to his first movement.  And if you have, you know what I'm talking about.  Third, if you hit behind Hamilton, and he's on first, you know you are getting a heater.  The pitcher doesn't want to throw a slider and waste .001 seconds with Hamilton running.

8.  Jay Bruce is third in the NL in home runs, second in doubles, second in RBI's, first in extra base hits, and most definitely going to get a Gold Glove Award.  So I ask, if Jay Bruce gets hot and carries this team to a division title, does he get real consideration for the NL MVP Award?  I don't think he wins it, but he should be in the Top 5 when it's all said and done.

9.  Because I know people like Magic Numbers.  Here is where the 3 NL Central teams stand with 9 games to go...
Cardinals have a magic number of 9 to win the division and a magic number of 3 to clinch a playoff spot.
Pirates have a magic number of 4 to clinch a playoff spot.
Reds have a magic number of 5 to clinch a playoff spot.

10.  So what do I honestly think will happen?  I think the Reds will take both series from the Pirates.  I think the Reds will lose 1 to the Mets and go 6-3 the rest of the way.  Cardinals will lose 4, like I stated before, and ultimately finish 1 game ahead of the Reds.  The Pirates will lose another game to the Cubs and finish 3-6 the rest of the way.  That's not enough for the Nationals to catch them.  So October 1st, we'll see the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Wild Card Game. 

Let's hear it Reds fans, what are your predictions?  Can't wait for Friday nights game.  Haven't been this excited about a game in awhile.  Thanks for reading.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

National League Picture 9/8 (Three Weeks to go)

Some numbers and notes going into Sunday, September 8th regarding the NL Central and NL as a whole...

Braves by 13 - Magic Number to clinch division is 9.  Magic Number to clinch the one seed is 20.

St. Louis leads the Pirates by 0.5 a game and the Reds by 1.5 games. 
Pirates and Reds magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 13.
Pirates magic number to clinch their first winning season in 22 years is down to 1.

Dodgers lead by 11 - Magic number to clinch the division is 11.

Reds are hot right now, having won 5 of 6, and three straight.  1.5 games is the closest they have been to first since May 29th.  Their schedule for the next week or so looks very favorable also with the Cubs, Brewers, and Astros in order.  Let's take a look at the schedule breakdown for the Reds, Pirates, and Cardinals the rest of the way.

REDS (19 Remain)
10 Home Games, 9 Road Games
7 Against Winning Teams, 12 Against Losing Teams
6 of the last 9 against the Pirates

PIRATES (21 Remain)
11 Home Games, 10 Road Games
10 Against Wining Teams, 11 Against Losing Teams
6 of the last 9 against the Reds
7 remaining against the Cubs

CARDINALS (20 Remain)
13 Home Games, 7 Road Games
4 Against Winning Teams, 16 Against Losing Teams

Doesn't take a genius to see who has the edge the rest of the way.  Cardinals schedule is setup perfectly for them.  Here is where the three teams stand on the season against each other.  Head to head records will be used to break ties, so these records matter.

6-7 against the Pirates (6 remaining)
8-11 against the Cardinals (DONE)
14-18 Overall

7-6 against the Reds (6 remaining)
10-8 against the Cardinals (1 remaining)
17-14 Overall

11-8 against the Reds
8-10 against the Pirates (1 remaining)
19-18 Overall

If the Reds can go 4-2 or better against the Pirates in the last six, then each team would have a head to head advantage on another team.  So it's pretty even overall, but the Reds are the losers at this stage in the game.

How has each team in the Central done since August 7th (calendar month)?  One has picked it up, once hasn't...

Reds          19-11
Cardinals  16-14
Pirates       13-16

So in that span the Reds have picked up 5.5 on the Pirates and 3 on the Cardinals.

I took a look at the schedule for the last day of the season, and I would think there is about a 99% chance that the Pirates at Reds game will be the Sunday nighter.  That has a chance to be a huge game.

Big game tonight between the Dodgers and Reds.  Reds trail the Dodgers by three games in the standings.  If they can win tonight it will be down to two, and the Reds would hold the tiebreaker with a 4-3 season series win.  This is significant because if the Reds were to win the division, they could get the two seed over the Dodgers and get homefield in the first round.  But ya, that didn't mean much last year, so who take it for what it's worth.

Oh, and let's not act like Latos didn't try to hit Puig.  Remember the way he threw his arms in the air when he hit that walkoff when they were in LA?  Latos did, and he drilled him.  Latos is the man.  If he wasn't a Red, I wouldn't like him, but he is, so I do. 

Astros, Marlins, White Sox, and Cubs have been eliminated, 26 remain.  Three weeks to go, cmon Reds.


Friday, September 6, 2013

NFL Preview 2013

The other day I was watching ESPN, and between stories about Manziel deserving a million dollar paycheck and some old guys getting money for playing football, I decided to go through the entire NFL schedule and write down each teams record.  I just flat out said, who will win this game, and who will lose.  Here is what I came up with as far as records, along with what I think will shake out in the playoffs in this upcoming NFL season...

13-3  Patriots
6-10  Bills
4-12  Jets
4-12  Dolphins

10-6  Bengals
8-8    Browns
6-10  Steelers
5-11  Ravens

13-3  Texans
11-5  Colts
6-10  Titans
4-12  Jaguars

12-4  Broncos
9-7    Chiefs
6-10  Chargers
6-10  Raiders

Some things that stand out in these regular season predictions...

Looks like I'm really down on the Steelers and Ravens.  Sorry, but how lucky can the Ravens get?  It has to run out sooner or later, and they just seem to have gotten worse, not better.  The Steelers have been on a downward spiral for a couple years now.  I think this is where they complete fall off.

Colts are going to have a huge year.  With Luck at the helm, they will be in every game.  He is so cool and calm under pressure that the Colts will pull out a lot of close games in the end.

Chiefs will have a good year, they play the Chargers and Raiders four times, so that helps.  I see them getting the final Wild Card.

I have the Broncos at 12-4.  I just didn't want to look like too much of a homer, but I don't think they'll lose a game.  19-0.

Chiefs at Broncos
Colts at Bengals

Broncos at Texans
Bengals at Patriots

Bengals at Broncos

BRONCOS to the Super Bowl

9-7    Giants
8-8    Redskins
7-9    Eagles
6-10  Cowboys

10-6  Packers
10-6  Lions
9-7    Bears
8-8    Vikings

12-4  Falcons
10-6  Saints
10-6  Panthers
4-12  Buccaneers

11-5  49ers
9-7    Seahawks
8-8    Rams
2-14  Cardinals

Some things that stand out in these regular season predictions...

I like the Panthers this year.  I think they get the final Wild Card.  They had so many close games go the wrong way last year, it'll probably even out this year.  And last year you could tell Cam was staying in the pocket more than normal, he was probably told to do that.  I think the Panthers realized it didn't work, look for him to be running around like he did in his rookie year, and it'll be successful.

Cowboys are going to be dismal.  Other than Dez, they don't have a lot of weapons.  Murray is so injury prone.  Witten is old.  Austin isn't what he was.  Romo will have to do too much, and it's going to be bad for him I believe.

Cardinals are going to be the worst team in the NFL.  Why?  Not totally sure, but almost every game I looked at, I found it very hard to find some wins for them.  Peterson could win a couple on his own I guess.

I have the Lions missing out on the last playoff spot, but I think they'll be strong like they were two years ago.  Bush and Calvin will have monster years, along with Broyles once he gets going.

Panthers at Packers
Saints at Giants

Packers at 49ers
Giants at Falcons

Packers at Falcons


Peyton Manning - I mean the guy is on pace for 103 Touchdown passes.  I think that would nail down the MVP Award.


1.  Von Miller will lead the AFC in sacks, even though he is missing the first six games.

2.  The Super Bowl will be worse than people are expecting, it'll be a snowy nightmare.  Which in turn will make it one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever.

3.  Two coaches will get into an actual fight when shaking hands after a game.  I'm going with Harbaugh and Fisher.

4.  Brady will have a down year and will finally blow up on Bill for not getting him enough weapons to be successful.

5.  Tim Tebow will be picked up by a team and score a meaningful TD in a playoff game.  My prediction?  I think the Bengals, as a fullback.

D'Angelo Williams
Bilal Powell
Daniel Thomas
Mike Williams
Randall Cobb
Alshon Jeffery
Julius Thomas
Jared Cook
Tyler Eifert

Arian Foster
Frank Gore
Demarco Murray
Mike Wallace
Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin
Jason Witten
Antonio Gates
Aaron Hernandez

So there you have it, my NFL Preview.  Would love to hear from you Bengals and Browns fans on what you think of the records I predicted.  And feel free to call me a homer, that's fine.  At least this year my homerdom is probably justified.  I guess we'll see.  Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 2, 2013

10 Thoughts from the Weekend

Just some thoughts from this weekend as I sit here and watch the rerun of the BET Awards...

- It was 1000 degrees at Papa John's stadium.  Miserable game, Bobcats got humiliated.  Solich was way too conservative.  First two possessions were three and outs with one pass and five runs up the middle.  Three of Bridgewater's five TD's were to guys so wide open no one was within ten yards.  That's not getting beat, man on man, that's either bad coaching or bad execution.  If they can get that cleaned up, they'll still have a very good year.

- I'm a fan of Johnny Manziel.  Dude is slick, and I have no problem with the swagger he plays with.  I liked to play the same way, some people don't like it, but to me it's fun.  Like I always said when I played, I'm not going to start anything, I never look for that, but if someone wants to talk, I'll talk.

- All four of my picks to win it all in College Football survived Week 1.  Oklahoma State with a decent win.  Stanford survived the bye.  South Carolina won handily on Opening Night.  Clemson with a huge win.

- Great win by the Reds Monday.  Three more and we got a whole new ballgame with 20 games to go.  Everyone on the team is getting it going right now, except for my man Votto, ugggh, this guy.

- Mat Latos is an ace, and should finish top three in the Cy Young race this year.  Reds have to pay him long term, but if they do, how can they pay Bailey also?  Will be interesting.

- Had a fantasy draft on Saturday.  Took Peterson, Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning, and Eric Decker with my first four picks.  So ya, as long as the Broncos score points, it'll be a fun year.

- Louisville is no slouch when it comes to the college coeds.  Pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity on campus.

- Tebow cut.  He needs to come out and say he doesn't want to play quarterback anymore.  He's had his chances, it's not going to happen.  If he was available to play another position, I would want the Broncos to get him right now.  Could you imagine a third and one, hand off to Tebow, he trucks some linebacker in the hole, gets the first, pops up, excites the crowd, it would be awesome.  I'm all for Tebow doing that, so why doesn't he do that for some team?

- With four weeks remaining in the baseball season, only one team has been officially eliminated.  But, if you look at ESPN's playoff percentages, nine teams have over 90%.  There will be a couple division races that come down to the wire, but in a week or two, there won't be very many teams still in the running for a playoff spot, too many teams are running away with it.

- Three days until Broncos - Ravens.  Starting to stress out a little bit.  Taking Friday off.