March 31, 2007

Devils 3, Flyers 1

I really should be doing homework.

Anyway, the Devils won. At home. That's good because it hadn't happened for a while. But they beat the worst team in the league and that is that.

It was a true score of 2-1, that's when I mean when I talk about the game being 3-1 but the last goal was by the team that was winning after they threw the puck in the empty net. So yes, the game was 2-1.

It started off bad enough for the Devils. Lack of discipline leading to penalties, not skating well, missing pucks all over the place, missing passes to each other, looking sluggish on offense and failing to get into position on defense. They played a pretty bad first period and didn't play much better for most of the second, but it was about even in the middle of the period and then the Devils took over late in the second, scoring both of their goals in the final 2 minutes of the period. First was Mike Rupp with a nice goal, then it was Zajac on the power play shoving one at the goal with hardly any time remaining and it went in. Brodeur had the shutout going until late in the game when Simon Gagne, of course, slammed one in there. The Devils hung on for the win.

Despite the poor play of the Devils, Broduer only saw 15 shots. That's pretty dang impressive. They went from 8 shots on goal in the first period to only 7 the rest of the game, with a measly 2 shots in the final period. One of which went in, as I recall.

Anyway, good win for the Devils to reassert themselves over a far inferior team. The team got a boost with John Madden's return, but also lost Gomez early in the game and for the rest of the game. So they could have been downhearted about that, but they didn't let it show. I don't know the status of Gomez, but hopefully it's not a big deal.

Interesting note: the Devils dominated the faceoffs, 32 to 15. That might be their best positive differential of the year, since they are usually not a good faceoff time. Not sure what it meant, probably that the Flyers aren't great.

Brodeur for Hart Trophy?

Kara Yorio says Brodeur beats Crosby by a nose:

Comparing a skater to a goalie is always unfair. There is no way to deny that the goalie has a bigger effect on the game's outcome. With the greatest respect for the amazing season from the 19-year-old Penguin, that's just the way it is, and it takes the trophy out of his hands.

This tight race goes to Brodeur, your 2006-07 Hart Trophy winner.

The best part of this whole thing is that these are two teams battling for the Atlantic Division, currently tied with 100 points apiece. Great stuff. Does the winner of that battle win the MVP? I'd hope not, whether it's the Devils or Penguins. Marty deserves it. He has been a little off his game of late, but what a season he has had. Nice to see some national recognition for it all.

Mavericks 105, Knicks 103

Whew. Yikes. Again.

Remember almost losing to the Bucks? It happened again, the Knicks are not a team that anyone should lose to. I mean, it happens. Thankfully this time it didn't happen. It blows my mind how one team can both be playing for a lottery pick as well as playing for the playoffs. It doesn't make any sense. That's how bad the Eastern Conference is these days.

The Knicks hung around due to many things, primary among them the Mavs shooting woes. They shot 38.5% from the floor, including an atrocious second quarter where they were 2/19. Other than shooting, the Knicks had the Mavs number in rebounds, though that margin was closed late. Starbury was HUGE for them, scoring a season-high 43 points. He was unstoppable until the end of the game, where he missed both of his late shots and was also forced into a turnover. If it were not for the fourth quarter, the Knicks would have had all the stats in their favor, but the Mavs went wild in the fourth quarter, scratching and clawing their way back in.

The only thing that kept the Mavs close early in the game were free throws. They ended up being 35/39 which was HUGE. Even though they did miss most of the free throws late in the game. That needs to stop. But they did well on free throws, finally having more attempts than the other team, even thought it was only by 2.

Nowitzki was ice cold throughout the game, feeling the effects of his injury. But he turned it on in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 of his 30 points. He also surpassed 15,000 points for his career on this game. Congrats, Dirk. He simply took over the game late in the fourth quarter for these Mavs. Stackhouse, while ending up with only 19 points, scored almost all of them early in the game. He kept the Mavs in it when they were out of it, and he was also 11/12 from the free throw line which was major. Josh Howard had 20 & 8. Jason Terry had 14 points, had a horrendous off-night shooting the ball, but still managed to hit two incredibly big 3-pointers late in the game. Once again, the Mavs got to 20 assists and once again they won. They barely got to 20 though. Also, the 3-point shooting kept the Mavs in it, as they were 10/22 which is pretty dang good.

All in all, the Knicks didn't have this in the bag, but they were staying around and playing better. The Mavs turned on the defensive pressure and made key baskets down the stretch. This is the story of their lives. They should have beaten the Knicks, and they ended up doing so, despite all the adversity going against them. Excellent.

Belisle is #5

Breaking news:

A spectacular spring earned Belisle a starter's job after he worked out of the bullpen last season.
And there you have it, from the official team site. Not a big surprise, because many people mentioned Saarloos can work from the bullpen. He would have preferred to be the starter, but he can be a good long relief man. Or just anything in relief really, except a closer. Maybe even that. There is no doubt Belisle earned it. I probably would have slightly given him the edge over My Man Bobby, but it's hard to bet against Livingston.

Here's hoping Belisle has a great year, and maybe even moves up a few slots! Due to his own performance, not the subpar performance of others.

March 30, 2007

Interview with Jerry Narron

I found this part particularly interesting: Was having 140 different lineups last season out of necessity because of changes, injuries and having interchangeable or versatile players?

Narron: It was definitely out of necessity. It wasn't that I was trying to do anything special, believe me. I would love to have the same eight guys in there and just write down a different pitcher every night. Players like to know their roles and how they're going to be used. I think they do best when they don't have to worry about being in the lineup or how they're going to be used.
I have a hard time believing in what you're selling, Mr. Narron.

Reds 5, Rays 4

This is a game I have been known to say "the Reds wanted to lose but didn't." A sort of jest, if you will. It felt like that today, just not as much. They won. Which goes with the saying, I suppose.


Pitching: Fitting that the battle for the fifth spot came down to today's game. Hard to say who ended up on top overall, as Saarloos got the better of Belisle on this particular day. Belisle started and got the first 8 outs, giving up 5 hits and a walk, K'ing 4 and letting 3 score, 2 earned. So he was human, shall we say. But he picked up the win, due to the 5 runs scored when he was pitching. Saarloos took the next 7 outs and was much more efficient, allowing only 1 hit and K'ing 1. Cormier (everyone's favorite) took the 6th and gave up a run. Weathers took the 7th and allowed only a hit. Stanton had the 8th, allowing 2 hits but no damage. I'm assuming that's how we'll see the late innings shape up - Weathers followed by Stanton. I'd prefer the other way around, in case Stanton blows it. He has the potential to do so. Anyway, Jared Burton was the closer on this night and got a huge save, with a 1-2-3 inning. Game over.

Hitting: All 5 runs in the first inning. Freel was a surprise play, but he led off and was 1/3 with a run scored. Griff was 1/3 with an RBI single. Castro had a big 2-RBI double. Hatteberg also had an RBI double. Gonzo got another hit, this time getting an RBI. Saarloos was 1/1!!! Moeller was 0/3 while grounding into a double play. Welcome to the team, Chad!

Fielding & such: 2 errors today. One on Gonzo!!!!!!! Seriously, for all the fake hype, I'm getting a little concerned. He made what, 7 errors last year? He's made 3 in spring training. Let's hope he just doesn't really care right now, because c'mon, this is just not right. The other was on Phillips, which is almost as sad. Jay Bruce thought he was cool trying to steal a base, but no, not in the big leagues, my son. He was caught stealing. Bolivar-Janish-Valentin turned a pretty sweet double play. That is all.

Moeller wins by default

Hey, lookie there! Norris Hopper will start the season on the 15-day DL, meaning that spot that maybe wasn't going to Chad Moeller, 3rd catcher extraordinairre, now becomes his by default! Hard to assume what Narron would have done, we know he loves the 3-catcher system, so maybe Moeller was favored in the first place. Hard to believe that, though, when the other guys were Hopper & Denorfia.

Remember when it was a battle for the last spot between Denorfia & Hopper? And nobody thought much about Chad Moeller? And then they hurt themselves in back-to-back games and we giggled because we thought it was silly and fun. But now, it turns out their injuries were much more serious than we first imagined, particularly in the case of Denorifa who is out for a dang long time. Tough break for the kid.

But anyway, get used to it. Chad Moeller with a Reds uniform on. And playing.

Twins 10, Reds 2

My Minnesota brethren kinda took care of me right there.


Pitching: Arroyo didn't bring his 'A' game, but this was the first time he has shown anything worthy of concern this spring. Still not ideal to head into the season, but knowing Arroyo, he will shrug it off. His line goes something like 5 innings, 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit batter and 1 K for 3 earned runs and the loss. Still not all that bad. He was facing a good Twins team (not their full lineup) and they are good, so it's not unexpected. Coutlangus took the 6th and gave up a mere hit. Coffey took the 7th and gave up 2 hits and a run. Hermanson gave up 2 runs in the 8th, neither of them earned. Some guy named Lutz closed it out and gave up 3 hits and 3 earned runs, mixing in a walk and a K. Not a great night for anybody, save Lango.

Hitting: Hamilton led off and was 1/3. Where did that whole 22/44 thing go? Granted, his average is still barely under .400, but it's almost like he has become just a normal guy now. Phillips hit yet another homer, this time a 2-run blast. Let's hope we see more of this during the regular season. Jay Bruce had a hit in his only at-bat. Gonzo got a hit if you can believe that, and a double at that. EdE & Griff went 0/3. Ross went 0/2 and has generally sucked at hiting all spring. Hits were 15-5 in favor of Minnesota, so yeah.

Fielding & such: 3 errors. Gulp. One on Phillips (naughty boy), one on Crosby and one on some guy named Cosme. Hamilton had 2 outfield assists! Yeah, showing off more of that laser arm. Gotta dig that junk. Jay Bruce also threw out Lis at second base. Very nice. Hamilton & Phillips turned a double play on one of his outfield assists, and a regular double play was turned by EdE, Phillips, and Hatteberg.

The Mavs to pick up Kevin Willis?

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Umm........anbody not feeling this is a great move? I mean, granted, the guy is fit and muscular and has a great work ethic, blah blah. He is a team leader and blah blah. He's also 44 years old. It's true Diop has had a bust year and half the way Dampier is smoking the apathy weed, but do we need this guy? Out of all the candidates we could have, is Kevin Willis, the since-2004 retired Kevin Willis, the answer to the Mavs questions? Sure, you'll tell me he might play 4 minutes in a game or something like that. Alright, fine. Can he do it? Maybe. Could somebody do it better? Most certainly. We'll see what happens, it just seems everyone is so positive about this. I felt I needed to be the voice of negativity, if not the voice of reason.

March 29, 2007

Reds News

Go read Fay.

Denorifa needs Tommy John surgery and will miss almost the whole year. That's a huge blow. Did anybody see this coming? At all? Where is this out of, besides left field? Dang, man. So it's down to Norris Hopper vs. Chad Moeller. Probably not many Hopper fans, but I am sure many would prefer to see him over Moeller. Moeller hasn't had a bad spring, though. And you know it's inevitable the spot goes to Moeller, so you might as well deal with it and hope he can be at least adequate.

My Man Bobby & Majew were sent to Triple A. I was sad to see My Man Bobby go, but I have a feeling we'll see him again. He's too good. The race is off for Belisle & Saarloos, who nobody has talked about, seeing that we assumed he would get a bullpen spot. So you have to hope for Belisle, I mean you have to. Or Santos. But supposedly, he might fit in the bullpen. Might. It's him vs. Burton & Coutlangus. I like both of the young guys, and I like young over old, but I would take Santos right now.

Billy Bray & The Lizard will start the season on the DL. Also Gil & Keppinger but nobody is watching those two. I miss Bray already. Gordo, of course, is still on the DL as well.

This is so much to take. Too emotional right now. Where was the info about Milton being dumped?

Sabres 4, Devils 3

Dang. Tough loss. They all are at this point, let's be honest.

I actually got to listen to the game this team. It had its moments but it just seemed like a hockey game. Wasn't a whole lot going on. I mean, there were plenty of goals, it just wasn't very exciting to me, that's all. The Devils actually played pretty well, which is a good thing I guess, going into the playoffs. I would prefer to have them winning heading into the playoffs, but at least they are playing well. That Clarkson guy sure has been doing pretty good.

The game felt like it was pretty much a two-goal lead throughout, but the Sabres didn't have that actual lead until the beginning of the third period. The game actually ended up being 4-2, but Parise chipped in a meaningless goal with a few seconds remaining. What can you do? They played a better team last night. Paul Martin's goal in the middle of the third made it 3-2 and you could smell that maybe something was in the works, but 2 minutes the Sabres got that tw0-goal lead back up and it was clearly over.

Gotta keep trying. Where's Brodeur these days?

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

"There's really no need right now to make things worse at this point in the season. Avery told me to sit it out so obviously it was killing me in a close game to sit back and watch."

Mavericks 105, Bucks 103

6-0 on the road trip, coming home, relax, and almost lose to the Milwaukee Bucks? You've got to be kidding me, right? Wrong. Gut check time. Thankfully the Mavs pulled it off.

It didn't help having Nowitzki out the second half with an ankle injury. It was scary times, though we have seen it before. He just came out late in the second quarter but eventually returned, so people thought it was okay. But he couldn't get it going in the second half, so people were scared again. Apparently where it stands now is that he is fine and ready to go but his ankle is not good. He's going to play on it regardless. We'll see how they handle him for the rest of the season. And he wasn't the only one, Josh Howard tweaked his ankle late in the game. Aaaahhhhh!!!!!

The good news is the first to 60 wins. Both in terms of the Mavericks are the first to 60 wins, and the team that gets to 60 first wins. Maybe.

After Nowitzki was injured out, the Bucks went on a tear to lead the game at halftime. Even though the Mavs struggled at times late, they eventually closed it out thanks in large part to Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse. Terry ended up with 27 points. He knew he had to lead this team and he did a dang good job of it making many key baskets down the stretch. Stackhouse's 21 points were also crucial and he was 5/8 on 3's. Howard & Nowitzki ended up with 17 a-piece, Howard also getting 9 rebounds.

For the Bucks, Michael Redd took over and it wasn't hard to see coming. He ended up with 34 points, but the great part of that stat was that he scored 0 points in the fourth quarter. The Mavs made it their top priority to get the dang ball out of his hands and it worked wonders. Thankfully. But he still owned the game for the first three quarters, that's for sure.

Dallas launched a lot of 3's and ended up making 11 of them. The free throws weren't great, especially down the stretch. That could have allowed the Bucks to come back and win it, but thankfully there were strong defensive plays late in the game. The best free throw shooting team will have their off nights, but it's still tough to watch clankers late in the game. Once again the Mavs surpass 20 assists and win the game, this time with 24.

The Mavs got outshot, outrebounded, outassisted, outstealed, and outblocked, but they won the game. 60 wins. The first to 60 wins.

March 28, 2007

Reds 6, Pirates 4


Pitching: Harang was the starter and did not look sharp. How many times have you heard that one before? Probably as many times as I am going to say what follows: wouldn't it be nice to see Harang have a dominating performance? He hasn't looked like the #1 all spring. Somehow I don't find it reasonable to just believe he will turn back into the ace on April 2. In fact, history says he will completely suck for the first game. As long as it's just the first game, I'm cool with that. He just doesn't look good. Anyway. This game was 5 innings, 10 hits (!), 2 K's, and 3 earned runs. Santos picked up the win as he pitched the 6th and 7th innings. Very well, I might add. I like the guy and have all spring and still feel he is a dark horse to potentially start. He gave up just one hit, walked 2, and K'ed 2. Majew pitched the 8th, walking 1 and K'ing 1 in his scoreless inning. Nice to see him doing well. Jared Burton got the save in the 9th, although he gave up 2 hits and a run.

Hitting: Hamilton led off and was 1/3. Dunn was 2/3, scoring twice and knocking in one. EdE was also 2/3. These men had back-to-back home runs in the 6th inning which was pretty dang exciting. Dewayne Wise had an RBI hit. Griff was 1/2 and got his first RBI of the spring. Castro & Ross were both 0/3, as was Gonzo. Bottom of the order stuff, baby. Chad Moeller, pinch hitter extraordinairre, knocked in a 2-RBI double for Santos in the 7th inning to break the 3-3 tie. Huge hit. Chad Moeller? Looks like he's in.

Fielding & such: Gonzo had another error. What the???? Granted, it's only 2. But it's 2 in 3 games, and that's just weird. No more, Gonzo. Also, Godwin had an error but nobody cares about that. Dewayne Wise got picked off of first base. Yikes. Also, there were supposedly 2 double plays for the Reds, but I can't decipher what any of it means. The people involved were Javier Valentin, Gonzo, Castro, and Conine. Cool.

Phillies 6, Reds 2


Pitching: Lohse went a little over 4 innings and wasn't great. Wasn't too bad either, but nothing to write home about. Gave up 2 homers but only 2 earned runs, so thankfully both homers were solo shots. Still not great. Also mixed in a walk and a hit batter, but had 4 K's. Coutlangus finished out the inning and K'ed both Chase Utley & Ryan Howard. Howard had 3 strikeouts on the day, but still very impressive. I just don't think the kid has a spot on the team. Coffey took the 5th, gave up 2 hits and a walk but managed to escape. Nice to see Rheal Cormier back, but OH NOT REALLY as he took the loss. His inning of damage included 3 hits, 1 walk, and 2 K's for 3 earned runs. Hermanson pitched a useless 8th and looked rusty, giving up 2 hits and a run.

Hitting: Freel led off with a hit, but that was the only at-bat he was going to get as he plated his face into the outfield wall. We know he just got down on himself for not giving it his all thus leading to his latest injury, but how wise is throwing your face into a wall thisclose to Opening Day? Maybe not smart. Hamilton took over and was 1/2. Griffey was 1/3, but you won't believe how he notched his hit. On a bunt. !!!! On a perfectly placed bunt! Haha. It's just unbelievable stuff that you'll only see once in a lifetime. So Griff is on base with a bunt and then EdE comes up and just SMASHES one out of the park, so that's where the runs came from. EdE added another hit later in the game.

Fielding & such: No errors today as Bellhorn was sent down. Ouch! Just kidding...maybe? Two guys caught stealing though. Not great. Freel was a culprit as he is accustomed to. Gonzo was the other guy.

Devils 3, Islanders 2

Whew. And a big whew. So maybe WHEW. And so forth and so on.

On a night where the Devils needed to win to keep pace with the Penguins, they did so. The teams remain tied at 98 points, each snagging a playoff berth last night with their respective victories. This will be a dogfight until the end folks. For team morale and fan morale, it would make sense for the Devils to be the #2 seed. But, like I've said before, it might work in the Devils favor if they were to lose the Atlantic to the Pens and ended up #4 or #5. Granted, it wouldn't be great to face the hot Ottawa Senators, but do you really want to see a matchup against either the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning as the #7 team? I know I don't. Either way, I look forward to the playoffs, although I'm not optimistic.

No doubt it helped to have DiPietro on the shelf for tonight's game. I would much rather face Mike Dunham than America's Goalie, but that doesn't mean the Devils were handed the handicap and the win. They still had to earn it, which they did.

Zach Parise scored a career-high and a team-high 30th goal last night. And it was a power play goal on top of that. And it wasn't the only power play goal of the night for the Devils! David Clarkson, who has been far more impressive than I would have imagined, scored on the power play late in the game as well. Gomez had the other goal, and Elias got the assist on his Welcome Back! tour. Very nice. Goals for the Islanders were Yashin on the power play to make it 2-1 Devils and Jason Blake (of course) late in the game to make it 3-2, which was the final margin. Shots on goal were clearly in the Devils favor, as was the hustle factor.

It was nice to see the Devils play like this. Even the victory against the Panthers was shaky, this one was good. Good to see the Devils still have "it" whatever that may be. Also good to see Langenbrunner back in action and he got 20 minutes. Eric Rasmussen is back and got 16 minutes. Madden & Gionta are still out, but hopefully they will be coming back soon so we can put our complete team together. But the people, such as Clarkson, that don't really play much for the team are filling in admirably well.

Gotta keep up with the Pens, that's for sure. Or make them keep up with the Devils. Should be a good race. At least I'm excited about the Devils again, they looked GOOD.

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

"It was really a fun trip, obviously. We're trying to work hard offensively moving the ball, and everybody's making shots," said Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 15 points while shaking off an illness. "It was a fun trip."

Mavericks 105, Hornets 89

The Mavs win again. That makes the Eastern Conference road trip 6-0. 6 wins, no losses. Played some good teams, played some bad teams, all the games were on the road. That's quite a way to turn it around from that heartbreaking loss to Phoenix. But they did it, and they did it well.

As much as it seems the Warriors have the Mavs number, the Mavs REALLY have the Hornets number. As in the number 21. 21 straight victories over the Hornets of Oklahoma City/New Orleans. That's quite a few wins. The last time the Mavs lost to these jokers was back on Nov. 17, 1999. Back when they were the Charlotte Hornets. Oddly enough, the Hornets wore throwback Charlotte uniforms last night. Didn't help. It's also the current longest winning streak of any team against any team in ANY major sport. So, how's that for impressive?

How easy was this one? The Mavs had leads twice of 31 points in the fourth quarter and the Big 3 didn't play any of the fourth quarter. So yeah.

The Warrior Award (not Golden State style) goes to Nowitzki for everyone thinking he wasn't going to play this game due to having the flu. But he played it, he played for 23 minutes and got 15 points. Certainly not typical numbers, but I wasn't expecting his name to be in the box score. Hopefully he gets well soon. Josh Howard was the man last night, scoring 25 points (2/2 on 3's, and making 3/3 free throws) as well as snagging 10 boards. Jason Terry had 19 points, 7 assists, and once again had amazing shot selection. I hope he can keep this up. He is shooting very efficiently right now. Devin Harris was a little sluggish, but had 14 points.

For the Hornets, Chris Paul 2 points. That's right, all of 2 points on 1/10 shooting. Hilarious. Pargo had 23 points, but nobody was a real threat.

The Mavs shot 55% overall to the Hornets 42%. Mavs are still struggling getting to the line, but I'll imagine they will turn that up come playoff time. They need to get to the basket as almost every team, if not every team, this road trip has shot more free throws than the Mavs. When the Mavs get over 20 assists, I think they are undefeated or something this year. They got 22.

Dominating performance in what should have been one, even with Nowitzki at 77% health. Good stuff. Keep the Suns & Spurs away, let them fight it out, and we'll see what we have on the other end.

March 27, 2007

Bellhorn, Crosby stay - for now

From Rosey Crayons.

Very odd, since I fully expected both of them to be gone to other teams later this week. Thankfully, as far as Crosby is concerned, that's not the case. He'll be sticking around. So will Bellhorn. Interesting stuff, but Bellhorn might not be around for much longer. Can't imagine both guys sticking with the team for very long, but that's the case as it stands right now.

Raiders = losers in free agency

Raider-bashing on display in full force:

It's fair to say that the Raiders just don't get it. Running back Dominic Rhodes is a solid backup, but the rest of the signings were a bunch of flotsam. Center Jeremy Newberry is just about done and fullback Justin Griffith is just a guy. Worse yet, the Raiders were badly snubbed by a series of players such as Garcia and just about any top free agent running back.

In fact, just about any agent you talk to essentially laughed about the notion of signing his player with the Raiders, admitting that Oakland was merely used as a bargaining chip with other teams in hopes of forcing the price up. Most of the time, the strategy failed as teams saw through the ploy.

What the Raiders are left with is a serious problem at quarterback (Andrew "Tree Stump" Walter is all they have right now) and an offensive line that was no better than a year ago. Even with the No. 1 overall pick, the Raiders have a weak foundation to build upon.

March 26, 2007

Reds 5, BoSox 0

So what happens when I leave? The Reds get hits and score runs. Oh well.

The bottom of the 7th was cool, with some kid named Craig Hansen pitching for Boston. David Ross getting the first hit of the day. Freel & Conine get beaned. Walks to Phillips and Godwin and then Javy Valentin hits a 2-RBI double. That was about it for that.

Majew took the mound for the first time, took the 7th inning, and took the win due to Hansen sucking at the other end. Majew looked alright, walking 1. Burton gave up a walk and a hit in the 8th, but then K'ed 2. Coutlangus closed it out with a hit and a K.

Reds send 4 to the minors

1. Mark Bellhorn, First Base/Second Base (sorry to see a good veteran go, but wouldn't want to watch him play for this team).
2. Ryan Jorgenson, Catcher (duh)

3. Anderson Machado, Shortstop (maybe someday)
4. Dewayne Wise, Outfielder (I'm sure we will see him again)

Next cut -- Jeff Conine?

Reds 0, BoSox 0 (after 6)

The first time in '07 where I get to see my beloved Reds! And my first (and maybe only) attempt at live-blogging!


BoSox: First pitch strike. Julio Lugo advances on an error by GASP! Gonzalez. Well, that was a sucky start. I mean, c'mon, Gonzo?? He doesn't make errors. Pop-up by Cocoa Puffs to Brandon Phillips in foul territory. Livingston throws 3 straight strikes at Varitek, and he looked at 'em all. J.D. Drew grounds right to Phillips. Very impressive beginning for Livingston. Can we just get rid of Milton, and have Livingston AND Belisle? Please?

Reds: Watch out, Freel. Apparently Matsuzaka is a god among men. The ESPN guys don't know much about the Reds, thinking how odd it was that Adam Dunn was batting in the #2 slot. Pay attention, fellas. Freel on base with a walk. Not many strikes from the boy wonder thus far. Adam Dunn flies out. No doubt he was thinking homer, but maybe he should have waited on a pitch? Ah well. Phillips falls behind and eventually flies out to shallow center. Freel did advance on a passed ball. Griffey flies out to shallow right.

END 1: 0-0


BoSox: EdE gets his name on TV by catching Hinske's pop fly in foul territory. Nice catch. EdE back in action again with a very difficult catch on Pedroia's grounder. Phillips scoops up Cora's grounder and Livingston gets out of there very cleanly. Good luck to you, kid.

Reds: I knew coming into this game that the focus would be on the Japanese pitcher, and more so on the BoSox than the Reds, but it's still annoying. When they finally did a feature on the Reds, I though to myself, "Oh yeah, the Reds are playing too." Anyway. First strikeout of the day for Zaka as EdE was chasing all over the place. Hatteberg was very patient at the plate and took a walk. He's no threat to steal a base like Freel is, though. Gonzo goes down looking, bent over in agony. It looked bad the first time, but it was definitely a strike. The kid can throw. P.S. Why is Gonzo hitting ahead of Ross? I thought Gonzo was our worst hitter. Hmm.....harmless dribbler to the pitcher and Ross is out. Wait! Varitek for interference?? He dropped his glove so Ross is safe. Livingston is up. He's hanging in there well enough, but it seems inevitable. Livingston actually gets a good poke at it, but Ross is thrown out at second, 3 minutes before his arrival.

END 2: 0-0


BoSox: ESPN is talking to Harang right now. Very weird voice for such a big guy, but maybe that's just me. Soft-spoken kinda hick guy. But he looks cool with the shades. Scales hits a grounder through the middle and then Livingston walks Zaka of all people. Two on, no out. We'll see what the youngster can do now. Just in time, Livingston gets a double play from Gonzo & Phillips. So nice to see live. pretty. And Livingston strikes out Crisp for the final out! Very nice battle to get out of that inning. I like this guy.

Reds: Still waiting for the first hit of the game. Freel grounds out. Full count to Adam Dunn and he takes first base. Brandon Phillips has one of the longest and hardest check swings I've ever seen. Must be those huge biceps. He also knows how to fly out, as he skies it to right. Griffey with another wimpy pop fly. Still waiting for the first hit of the game.

END 3: 0-0


BoSox: There's a ton of 0-0 scores in the league right now. What's up with today? Monday, March 26, 2007: no runs in baseball day. Livingston K's Varitek again, always nice to see. Phillips barehands a Drew grounder. Phillips is a sweet defender. I think he gets overshadowed by Castro and now for sure gets overshadowed by Gonzo, but he is dang good himself. Livingston, who by the way looks like a juvenile delinquent who just violated probation, hits Hinske in the arm. No harm, no foul. Ken Griffey gets in the defensive action as Pedroia flies out, the furthest any Red Sock has hit one today. Livingston is a king.

Reds: EdE goes down again. Tough battle. Zaka looks pretty decent to me. He missed three straight identical pitches to Hatteberg, but got him to fly out to left-center at the end of it all. Gonzo takes a walk. So the Reds can't get any hits, but they are walking with good strength. Good eyes, the bunch. Must have some carrots sitting around the clubhouse. Zaka gets Ross swinging and that's that. A hit? My kingdom for a hit?

END 4: 0-0


BoSox: Phillips with yet another great defensive play, throwing against his body to get Cora out at first base. Now it's Gonzo's turn as he throws out Scales on a nice catch, but not a great throw. Hatteberg might have gotten away with one there. Zaka looks at 5 pitches and gets K'ed by the great force that is Bobby Livingston. Great pitching battle going on today.

Reds: Hamilton is now in the game as Livingston is done for the day and I get my first look at the super talent. He harmlessly grounds out to first base. Freel takes three pitches inside to his face and strikes out anyway. Sheesh. Dunn walks again. Maybe somebody can make contact. Phillips is a victim of the strikeout as the Reds keep staring at 0's. Alright, maybe Zaka is good after all.

END 5: 0-0


BoSox: Who knows what will happen now that the big dogs are out? Mike Stanton is in now, somebody I'm not too high on. But let's hope he can be decent. It just bothers me that quality young arms are excluded because of proven vets. But that's why they are proven. Stanton plays the Lugo bunt perfectly. ESPN made a good point, Zaka faced the Reds opening day lineup and destroyed it. Livingston sat down a mixed BoSox team. But don't hate on Bobby, he did a good job. EdE throws out Cocoa Puffs on a rolling grounder. Gonzo throws out Varitek to end the inning. Nice to see Stanton relying on ground ball outs.

Reds: Time to get the bats going with Zaka out of the picture. Ken Griffey Jr.'s song is one by Lenny Kravitz and he is singing, "I want to get away." Funny irony? Maybe. Papelbon is in so we may not see any runs. Maybe a hit, though. Maybe. Griffey's swing is better than I thought it would be. And it was really nice on that last pitch, he just happened to strike out is all. A lot of that today. EdE gets a nice hit, the furthest for the Reds today, but it wasn't enough as Scales puts it in the basket. If I have to see Zaka hobble around like a chicken on the warning track for much longer, I might vomit. Hatteberg hits a chopper/grounder/dribbler over to first base and Papelbon gets there just in time.

END 6: 0-0

I have to go to class now, so I'll miss the end of the game. Too bad I couldn't see any offense today, would have been nice to see the Reds get some runs, or at least some hits. At least Livingston was fun to watch. Will be back later with a recap.

Blue Jays 3, Reds 2


Pitching: Matt Belisle, in competition for the fifth spot, started and went 4 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 K's for 2 earned runs. Weathers pitched a shaky, but clean 5th. Saarloos pitched the remaining innings and took the hard-luck loss on an unearned run. He gave up 3 hits and K'ed 4. Belisle and Saarloos both looked really good, and I'm not so sure Saarloos is in the competition for the fifth spot anymore, though he probably is. Some people are saying he is making the club no matter what, so really it's Belisle vs. Livingston. Which is a good battle, but you gotta figure Belisle has the upper hand. Though V.Santos is in the mix as well. Livingston throws against the BoSox this afternoon.

Hitting: Dewayne Wise led off and was 1/4. Hamilton was 1/5, but it was a nice triple. He had 2 strikeouts, though. A lot of guys had 2 strikeouts: Dunn (0/3), Votto (0/2), and Cody Straight (0/2). Many others had 1 strikeout. The problem was Toma Ohko, known as a Reds killer, at least to me. He and Zambrano (and probably Maddux) are who I think of as Reds killers, so it's nice to see him playing with Toronto now. But man, he can still shred this team up.

Fielding & such: Error was on Bellhorn. How many more for this guy? Sheesh. The little things, people.

Mavericks 104, Hawks 97

That should have been a little easier.

The Mavs exploded early in the game, leading 39-19 after one quarter of play. But a steamroll it did not turn out to be. They got outscored by 6 in the second and third quarters, and by 1 in the fourth quarter to end up winning by 7. Not bad, but they didn't play very well the rest of the game. Except with about 4 minutes left when Nowitzki and Terry hit some big 3's as the Hawks kept edging closer and closer. But even then the game was still in doubt because the Mavs were fouling Atlanta like crazy at the end of the game, it seemed almost every possession was a trip to the foul line. Which is cheap and easy points, and also a clock killer. Pachulia was the benefactor more often than not, hitting 10/13 from the line, most of them late in the game. This is not a team that you want hanging around and the game should never be in doubt. But at the end of the game, there was a victory.

The Big 3 played like it, with Dirk & Josh leading the way with 28 points, and Terry not far behind with 27. But like I said earlier, it was Dirk & Terry's big 3's at the end of the game that helped ice it. Very big shots. I picked this game to be the one where Nowitzki goes off and gets his first triple-double of his career, but it was not to be. Oh well. Terry turned the ball over many times, but he once again took smart shots and looked very efficient out there. He and Devin Harris had 6 assists, but Harris disappeared with 6 points. He did steal the ball 4 times, though. Dampier had 7 rebounds. Devean George was back in the lineup, but didn't contribute anything meaningful. Stackhouse made use of his time, getting 8 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Diop had 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Mavs hit 7/13 on their 3's and Atlanta only took 3 shots from that far. Very low total indeed. Free throws were nowhere close, however. The Mavs took 30 and the Hawks took 49. This time was more accurate, though. Avery Johnson even applauded the officials. Rebounds were about even and the Mavs had many more assists.

They just beat a better team and have started another mini-streak. Good thing, too.

March 25, 2007

Devils 4, Panthers 3 (SO)

Wait, the Devils won?


It was on my birthday, too. March 24. 1986. Back in the day, you know.

Jim Dowd had a 2-goal night, each goal tying up the score. So they were big. Very big. He played well and he needs to as the Devils have many of their forwards out. Another new forward who is playing simply because there need to be enough bodies, David Clarkson, scored a power play goal, his second of the year. Good for him.
Shots on goal were even, faceoffs were pretty even with Florida winning slightly more. New Jersey only took one penalty on Cam Janssen's slash.

The shootout was exciting as both Parise and Zajac scored, Zajac scoring the game winner. Not sure if he is a body I would put out there for a shootout, but again you take what you have and the Devils were and have been shorthanded for some time now. And he ended up winning the game, so that was good.

Devils maintain the Atlantic Division lead over Pittsburgh, 96-94, and now have a couple days off to hopefully get somebody healthy. Islanders on Tuesday in a potential first-round matchup.

Mavericks 109, Celtics 95

The Mavericks did pretty much everything right in this one.

Jason Terry led the way with 29 points, 11/15 from the field including 4/6 3-pointers. He also had 6 assists. Nowitzki had 20 points and that was about it. Would like to see him get to the free throw line more often. Dampier was clueless. Josh Howard was nice with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but his rebounds don't usually come with much effort, but maybe I'm unnecessarily hating on the kid. Devin Harris had 18 points and 6 assists and was playing very smart basketball again. We will need it more and more from this guy, who was the #5 pick in some draft if you'll remember. From Wisconsin. Yuck. But you can't hold a grudge forever. Anyway, that was about it, but it was nice to see Greg Buckner get out and play a little, he got 13 minutes. Hope he stays around now. Diop got 5 blocks. I miss the guy and on some nights, he is clearly better than Dampier but he isn't the starter anymore. Which is too bad because he was pretty decent. Oh well.

On the other side, it was Paul Pierce with 30 points, but only 11 earned. He was 19/21 for free throws. That's right, he shot TWENTY-ONE free throws. The Mavericks shot 17. But that's both to Pierce's credit and the Mavs disdain as well as maybe some unfairness. Overall, it was Celtics - 40, Mavs - 17. So yuck. But yes, Paul Pierce and all that. Nobody else really did anything noteworthy.

Shooting was much better for Dallas who made 56% as compared to Boston's measly 36%. Assists were in the Mavs favor 28-16.

Easy game, good game, and the Mavs are 4-0 on their road trip. Good stuff.

Reds 7, Phillies 0

Jr. is back!


Pitching: The weird thing was I thought about writing a comparison between Arroyo and Harang and how they have done in spring training and how Arroyo is acting like the #1 that Harang actually is. I should have done that, because it happened again last night with this game. Arroyo was the ace, getting the win in 6 innings. 5 hits, 1 walk, 6 K's, 0 earned runs. That's how to do it, folks. Victor Santos pitched a clean 7th, and for me is a sleeper to get the #5. Big sleeper, but it's out there. He has been very solid. Todd Coffey pitched a clean 8th, with a K. Hermanson closed it out cleanly, allowing 1 hit.

Hitting: Ken Griffey Jr. was in the lineup for the first time, playing right field, and he was 2/4 with a double. Freel led off and was 1/4 with a run scored and a strikeout. Dunn was 2/4 with 4 RBI's, most of which came on a 3-run blast of a homer. Very nice day for him. Phillips was 3/4 including a homer, which followed Dunn's blast. EdE was also 3/4 with an RBI. Votto was 0/3 with 2 K's. Gonzalez was 0/1 but drew 2 walks. Chad Moeller hit a home run. Hamilton was 0/2.

Fielding & such: No errors today. Votto stole a base and was also the recipient of a Phillips-Gonzalez double play.

Devil Rays 15, Reds 1



Pitching: Harang started and rightfully took the loss. 6 innings, 8 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 walks, and 6 K's. His K count still remains high so at least he will have that with him. But c'mon, is anybody worried about this guy? Sure, it's meaningless. Spring training means nothing. Blah. But c'mon. This is our ace. He hasn't very good overall this spring at all. Not much to get excited about. He had some good innings and a very bad inning and a bad inning. I would like to see something to get excited about here. It didn't get much better from Harang on out. Burton pitched the 7th, gave up 3 hits (1 homer) and walked 1 for 2 earned runs. That's not going to help his already slim chances. Coutlangus pitched for the first out of the 8th, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks for 3 earned runs. Wilkerson (who?) got the second out, giving up 1 homer and 1 walk for 2 earned runs. He also got kicked out of the game. Flannery (who?) pitched the final out which was a strikeout.

Hitting: The first inning boded well as Freel got a hit, advanced on a hit, and scored on a groundout. Then that was pretty much it for the team. The man mentioned was 1/2 and scored the only run. Hamilton was 1/4 with the only RBI. Juan Castro, as DH no less, was 0/4. Denorfia was 1/2 with a walk. E Cruz, the savior of the last game, was 0/2 with 2 strikeouts.

Fielding & such: Error was on Machado, and that was his FIFTH of the spring. That's not going to sit well with anybody, as he is probably in doghouse-mode right now. Denorfia stole another base, and Hamilton stole his first.

March 23, 2007

Reds 8, Yankees 7

Now we can talk about meaningless. Considering the "real game" was Yankees 6, Reds 3. Then we throw in the junk, and the Reds win. But at least we see what we are made of.


Pitching: Nothing to get excited about here. Lohse started and should have gotten the loss, but didn't. He pitched 5 innings, gave up 7 hits including 2 homers, walked 2 and gave up 5 earned runs. He did strike out 6, which was pretty cool. Throw in a wild pitch, and there's his outing. You can tell he's got stuff there. Just needs to put it all together. Weathers pitched the 6th, gave up a walk and a hit but struck out 2. Hermanson looked human, giving up a homer and throwing a wild pitch. He also struck out 1. Victor Santos pitched the final 2 innings, getting the win. He gave up a walk and a hit.

Hitting: Enrique Cruz was the story here. He took over in the 7th inning and was 2/2. He had a 2-RBI triple in the 7th and then scored the winning run on EdE's hit after he doubled in the 9th. Freel led off and was 2/4. Dewayne Wise's RBI double tied the game late in the 8th. Hamilton was 1/4 with a walk and a strikeout. Phillips was 2/3 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Ross was 2/4. Lohse hit one himself, a 2-RBI single. It's a funny story as Janish hit a long ball but was held to a single. Why? From the Reds own site: "Janish was held up by runners Javier Valentin and David Ross on the basepaths." Haha! There it is in the official report, talking about the chunky guys who can't run! Funny stuff. Then Lohse comes in and scores the runners Janish would have scored if they could move. Awesome. Denorfia was 1/2 with a strikeout.

Fielding & such: Janish & Lohse had errors on throws. Freel & EdE grounded into double plays for Pavano, with both going Jeter-Cano-Giambi. Denorfia stole his second base and it turned into a wise move as he ended up scoring.

Griffey to RF -- Who cares?

Yeah, you heard me.

I don't get it. Here's where I am coming from. Ken Griffey Jr., the perennial center field for the Reds, has been officially "moved" to right field. Why? Because he was unable to get going in spring training. He may start the season on the disabled list, and when he is able to play, will play in right field. At the beginning of the year.

Check me on this: the move to right field for Griffey is NOT PERMANENT. This is not worthy of the outrageous media coverage on this, I agree with Ken Jr. on this issue. If it was said that this is it, he is over and done and now must be content with playing right field the rest of his career, that would be an issue. We will see him in center field. This year, even. Get back to me on this.

Lightning 3, Devils 1

Three losses in a row. 4 out of 5. 4 out of 7 in the month.

Not much you can do. Injuries are there, but you have to be able to rise above the injuries. Broduer hasn't been the same for quite some time. Thankfully the Penguins have stalled a couple times, but it almost seems inevitable that the Devils lose the Atlantic now.

This team knows how to beat the Devils, making a secound-round matchup (if the Devils remain #2) something nobody wants to see. But let's be honest, do we want to see this team in the playoffs against anybody right now? No.

Martin St. Louis took it to the Devils hard last night, scoring twice in the third period to gain the lead and extend the lead.

I never thought I'd see the day when the Minnesota Wild overtook the Devils in point standings, but it happened last night with the Wild moving from 93 to 95 and the Devils staying at 94. March has not been kind to the Devils, that's for sure.

Let's be honest, I have been so busy that it's a good thing the Devils have been losing ONLY in the sense that I don't do recaps as thorough as if they won the game. But I really have nothing much to add, I am scared for this team right now.

Raiders sign Johnson, Ward did I miss this?

Don't pay attention to the story, but to the last line. Why? Because who cares about Josh Booty?

Both are defensive backs, Johnson being the cornerback and Ward being the safety. I dig Baltimore's secondary, so Ward is cool with me. Neither one stand out much, that's why there was no buzz about this. We'll see if they have any impact or what they're exactly doing here.

Mock Draft

Yahoo! Sports does Mock 4 and comes up with the same result - JaMarcus Russell:

They could completely pass on quarterback and either select wide receiver Calvin Johnson or deal down several choices. They will narrow down the options to three or four by April 1 and then spend the final three weeks concentrating on those prospects.
Doesn't seem very convincing with Russell, but gotta keep your options open, I guess.

March 22, 2007

Topping-off ceremony for Prudential Center

The Devils are moving. From the Continental Airlines Arena to the Prudential Center. "The Rock," if you will.

Mavericks 98, Cavaliers 90

Dirk vs. LeBron.

Except....not really. They got their points, most of them late, but this was again the difference between the DALLAS Mavericks and the LEBRON Cavs. Dirk can have a bad night, as he did for most of three quarters and the Mavs can wait until he figures it out and play well regardless. The Cavs watch LeBron struggle and it makes them struggle, too. They just aren't build to handle that, and it must be a mental thing. You can see the teamwork and team style of play with the Mavs, who have bounced back wonderfully from that tough loss to Phoenix in double-overtime.

Nowitzki did end up with 23 points, leading the Mavs. And LeBron ended up with 31 points, leading the Cavs. But most of the points came late and didn't factor much into the actual game. Dirk had good points, but was just 9/24. Josh Howard was worse, putting in 7 points. Dampier had 13 and 9 and it was good to see him put back-to-back solid games together. Jason Terry had 21 points, and Stackhouse had 10. But I thought the player of the game was Devin Harris. Harris ended up with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Every time he took the ball up high, he burned somebody and scored a layup. Whether the layup was easy or difficult, it went in the net. The offense was flowing through him a lot more than it ever has, with Jason Terry playing more of a minor role or a shooter's role. It was nice to see Devin create and function and he even made a couple jumpers! He took over the flow of the game at several times and it was fun to watch. Hopefully it wasn't just a blip on the radar screen, but something that can keep building and growing.

As a team, the Mavs shot better from the field but shot worse on 3-pointers. This has been the case for the past several games. They are taking too many 3's and they are missing most of them. Not shooting well in that regard. The incredibly positive thing was the free throws. The Mavs as a team didn't attack the basket very much and shot significantly less free throws (17 to 29) but they made them all! 17/17. That was extremely impressive.

Maybe what's even more impressive, and I hit on it earlier, is the Mavs recent success after the very tough loss to the Suns. Whereas the Suns lost two in a row to far inferior teams, the Mavs have won four in a row, including beating the #1 and #2 teams in the East. Well done, Mavericks.

March 21, 2007

Twins 5, Reds 3

I like the Twins. I dig 'em. Think they're cool.
I love the Reds. Even romantically, if you'd prefer. But probably not.


Pitching: All the people screaming for Milton's outright release or trade for chump change (and that includes me most of the time) had some reason to do so again after today's performance. 5 innings, 8 hits (1 homer), 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 K's. There he goes again, being mediocre but leaning to the bad side of things. That's just who the man is. Again, the point is brought up about him automatically getting the #3 spot. Has he ever deserved it? Not quite. Lohse should get it. Should that mean Milton gets #4 automatically? No. ANYWAY.....No runs allowed after Milton left, as the 6-7-8 innings were pitched well by Burton, Coutlangus, and Coffey with the anti-save. Coutlangus in particular looked good, fanning 2. Burton walked 1, threw a wild pitch, and gave up a hit. But I still like the guy. That might have hurt him, though.

Hitting: Ryan Freel was back in action at the leadoff spot, going 0/2 and grounding into a double play but taking a walk and scoring on it. He was lifted late in the game, though it seems as a precaution. EdE was 2/4 with a run scored. Hamilton was 1/3 with an RBI, and took a walk as well. Javier Valentin, not hitting well, was only 1/4 today but it was a crucial hit, a 2-RBI single that tied the game. Alas, it was not meant to be. Denorfia reverted to old form, going 0/4 with a K. This is not helping you out, kiddo. Considering some guy named T. Godwin got the only extra-base hit, that being a double, the hitting was not very great.

Fielding & such: Remember the last time the Reds made no errors? I don't think it was that long ago, but the point is that they make errors more often than not, no matter how much Narron talks about it. How about action vs. talk? Maybe. Anyway, today it was Castro of ALL PEOPLE who threw the ball like a grapefruit. Ah well, even the best can have their bad days.

Maple Leafs 2, Devils 1

Just what I feared. There they go, down the tubes. They can't avoid the playoffs, they're in there. They better start acting like they want to be.

Hard to do with injuries flying in from all over the place, but possible to do. Remember when Brodeur was everyone's savior and everyone wrote a million pages on him per day? He is still amazing, but can you remember the last time people have talked about him? I mean, in a positive way, not in a he's-been-yanked-from-the-net kind of way.

Revenge, blah blah, horrible hit, blah does Cam Janssen have a soul? blah blah Kaberle blah Belak! Belak! Belak! blah blah worst hit I've ever seen blah blah REVENGE. Oh, and the Maple Leafs won the game, by the way. That's a key stat because the Devils look pretty poor right now. Stumbling into the playoffs isn't a worthwhile goal.

In a game where the shots on goal were even and the faceoffs identical, along with a close low-scoring game, it seemed everything was pretty even. Didn't feel that way, though. Felt like the Devils packed it up and were waiting for a lucky bounce instead of trying to seize the moment. Tough.

I know I'm a complainer and a pessimist. I apologize for these things, that's just my nature. I realize that if I step back and look at things, look at the win-loss-tie record, look at the points for what they are, the Devils have had a very good season and are still currently #2 in the East, no matter what it looks like. So I need some perspective. I just can't help feel like everything is falling apart.

Mavericks 92, Knicks 77

And to think, I was actually worried about this game. The Mavs, though bit by the injury bug as of late, are good. The Knicks are bad. So I guess the score makes sense, even if I was a bit unneccessarily pessimistic. It was so obvious (sorry Dirk!) that the Mavs were going to win this game, Isiah Thomas repeatedly pleaded to the media that the Knicks had no chance. Very weird.

Anyway, not much of a story here. The Mavs came to New York, saw some sights, ate some food, got in a game, and are now out of there. Josh Howard had 24 and 10, pacing the Mavs all night long. Nowitzki was right there with him, pouring in 24 of his own while taking smart shots and getting 5 rebounds. Dampier showed up, and you never know when he'll do that, but he got 10 points and 13 rebounds, so that's nice. Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse were unspectacular, but made some nice shots. Devin Harris was disappointing.

Not much the Knicks did, except having Eddy Curry and Nate Robinson score points. They were an awful 36% from the field, that's the whole team. They made many mistakes and didn't look like they wanted to be playing the best in the league. I wonder where that idea came from, head coach of the Knicks perhaps? Possible.

Nothing more to see here, move along.

Reds release Wilson

I was hoping so.

It's only made tough by the fact that the guy is a heckuva guy. Great guy, good leader. Never pitched very well, though. I mean, think about it, this guy used to be our #1 pitcher. That's how bad the Reds were. At best he was reliable and decent, but never great. His time has come and gone, it's nice to see he recovered well from surgery and all, but this move needed to be made.

March 20, 2007

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

Double dosage!

"Just because we lost that one, big game, it wasn't like we were worried or anything," Nowitzki continued. "Obviously, that was a disappointing loss, but we're very confident in our ability to close games out.

"Obviously, what everyone remembers is our meltdown in The Finals last year," Nowitzki said.

Preview of the rest of the Devils season

I know nobody really reads this, especially the hockey section about the Devils, so there's no point in me telling you to go read something. And the person that will read this is the person I am linking to, so they've already written it and don't need to read it. But I'll do it anyway because it's worth looking at.

John F writes about the rest of the regular season for the New Jersey Devils.

He paints a pretty grim picture of things ahead, but actually ends up being more optimistic than I would have thought. Looking at it, all the challenges and the hurdles, I am very pessimistic. The Devils could end up as low as #5 in the East, after holding #2 forever. But hopefully they can maintain #2. It all starts tonight against Toronto. It's the beginning of the home stretch and the Devils, amidst their poor play and nagging injuries at just the wrong time, need to win.

Tigers 6, Reds 2

Shawn uses the word "meaningless" for every recap. So there's your perspective.


Pitching: Arroyo started and got the loss, emerging with an ERA. Seemed pretty human and a pretty mediocre pitcher, but was facing pretty decent Tiger hitters. Final stats were 4.2/3 innings, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 1 K. He gave up a homer to Sheffield. After Coutlangus got Arroyo's final out, Paul Wilson pitched the 6-7-8 and gave up 3 hits and 2 walks for 2 runs scored. Ever since his first appearance he has looked pretty lame and is definitely looking from the outside in to make the team. I am hoping anyway.

Hitting: Kenny Rogers was pretty decent, but Adam Dunn had his way with him, knocking a homer out of the park as well as getting hit by a pitch. Denorfia led off and was 1/3 with an RBI-double. He is finally starting to turn it on and if he keeps turning it on closer to the season, it will be hard to send him down. But that's probably what they will do anyway. Alex Gonzalez was 0/4 which sucked, so he probably shouldn't be in this category. Because he didn't exhibit hitting skills. Josh Hamilton got a pinch hit. Norris Hopper was 0/2 with 2 K's.

Fielding & such: Says there were two errors, but they only list one and that is Hopper. Certainly not a good day for the guy.

Mock Draft

Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer:

Both Johnson and Russell had impressive pro day workouts to solidify their elite status. If there are no trades before the draft, Russell is the right pick, and the Raiders will enter project mode with their young coach and young quarterback. If they trade Moss, however, they should jump on Johnson, the draft's most surefire superstar, and look for a veteran quarterback willing to mentor Walter.
Interesting comparison linking it to Moss, but what isn't linked to Moss these days? His logic is that if the trade comes off and Aaron Rodgers lands in Oakland, why draft Russell and have three unproven QB's? Makes sense to a degree. If Moss sticks around, which is most likely, Russell is the choice. Interesting stuff. We shall see.

Mock Draft

Pat Kirwan's Mock Draft 3 at

1. Oakland: JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU -- The Raiders have a lot of needs, but as long as quarterback is one of them, they have to respond by selecting the guy with the great deep ball. I could see a move down, especially now that Cleveland will not need Adrian Peterson and someone was counting on tackle Joe Thomas or wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Yup, pretty much.

Griffey to right field

At least for now, for the beginning of the season. He didn't get enough work in during Spring Training, so Ryan Freel has the job for now. Which is good. I did like seeing Freel in right field, though. He played it well. And there are plays that still need to be made over there, and I hope Griffey can make them. He better be able to, otherwise he'll just be the DH when we play AL teams, and not much more than that. Keep watching this story.

March 19, 2007

Reds fifth starter

JD has a good post today:

Matt Belisle wants to start and I think that's an excellent idea. Saarloos would be a nice guy to have coming out of the pen, and Belisle has the stuff to start. He's also still only 26 years old, meaning his best years should still be ahead of him. Belisle's health has been an issue, but he pitched all winter and apparently his back has held up fine.

He's the best option right now, from what I can see. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Belisle develop into a number three or four type guy in the next couple of years.

And it's kind of a shame that the Reds think Eric Milton has to start. Harang/Arroyo/Lohse/Belisle/Saarloos (with Bailey waiting in the wings) would be an interesting rotation.

This is a point I've been wanting to make, but he beat me to it. The idea that Milton is just handed a starter's job without earning it is rather annoying. Instead of having everyone battle for a fifth spot, they should be battling for the fourth and fifth spots and Milton and his huge salary would be traded for some cheap talent. There are more deserving candidates, but I also believe Belisle could eventually be a #3 starter. I mean, Milton is #3 so that could mean anything, but Belisle could be legitimate.

Reds cut 2

Brad Salmon & Brian Shackelford are out. It's Brian, right? I think so, anyway. Nobody is using first names. I don't know much about Shack, he seemed alright and we saw him a fair amount last year, so we'll see him again.

I kinda liked Salmon. And not just to eat, either. He seemed to be a pretty decent pitcher, young guy with some good moves. I would like to see him this year and I think that I just might.

Mavericks 92, Pistons 88

Nice to see the Mavs pull off a grinder like yesterday's affair. Granted, the Pistons were playing without Chauncey Billups which definitely could have affected the game, but it was still very good for the Mavs to win. Which they did.

Jason Terry for me was the player of the game, although his stats were very unspectacular. He got 12 points on 5/11 shooting, but almost all of his points came late, and he really distanced the Mavs from the Pistons late in the game, allowing Dallas to pull off the win. He hit two critical jumpers late as well as made two free throws. So his performance was huge in the fourth quarter, and he also contributed a sweet pass to Stackhouse where Stack got fouled and made both of his free throws. Nowitzki led the Mavs with 28 points, many of those coming later in the game. He started very cold again as he has done recently, but really picked it up late. He made a couple incredible shots and kept the Mavs in it late. He also played some pretty good defense, which was nice to see. Josh Howard, while pulling down 9 rebounds, had a pretty bad game. He had 12 points, most of those near the beginning of the game. His defense was solid, but not as good as it usually is, and he just missed a lot of shots, including an airball 3-pointer which would have iced the game. Dampier was a joke on the offensive side of things, but his defense was pretty dang decent in this game. He got called for a flagrant foul that wasn't flagrant whatsoever. He hit the guy's arm and Hamilton just fell down hard and put on a little acting show. It was pretty lame, and at a crucial time in the game. Speaking of Stackhouse, he had 12 points. Devin Harris had a very nice night, scoring 22 points, including 9/10 at the free throw line, meaning he went hard at the basket all game long. His performance was very decent, though his jump shots still need a LOT of work.

For the Pistons, it was pretty even scoring across the board, with Ronald Murray being the leader at 18 points. You could tell they missed Billups. I would like to think the Mavericks would beat the Pistons even with him in the lineup, but they haven't proven that this year. Still a good win though, as things could have gotten bad late but Nowitzki & Terry picked it up to preserve the victory.

March 18, 2007

Braves 6, Reds 5


Pitching: Harang had a weird day. He pitched five innings and took the loss. He gave up 3 earned runs on 8 hits, 2 of which were home runs. That wasn't all that great, but he did strike out 9, which was pretty sweet. Not a big deal, not really as bad of an outing as everyone is making it out to be. Shackelford went next, giving up 2 runs and an earned run in his inning. Weathers, Cormier, and Coffey closed out the game.

Hitting: Lots o' hits today, but a lot of men left on base. Ross was the big hitter of the day and it was about dang time, going 3/3 with an RBI and a double. Alex Gonzalez led off and was 1/2. Hopper was 1/2 with an RBI, Hatteberg 1/3 with an RBI. Adam Dunn was 1/3 (another freakin' single!). Janish was 2/2 with an RBI. Hamilton was 1/4 with a double and 2 K's as his average is simply bottoming out now to an astonishing low of .474. Denorfia had a pinch-hit strikeout.

Fielding & such: Nothing to be too pleased about today. 3 errors, on Phillips, Gil, and Machado. While Hopper stole a base, Gonzalez got caught stealing on a bad decision. Shackelford got the first pickoff for a Reds pitcher this year. David Ross also picked off Orr at second base.

Hurricanes 7, Devils 2

I really don't want to get into a review of the game here, so I won't. It was bad. It was clearly awful. The Devils are struggling in the home stretch and are now on the opposite end of an Atlantic Division surge, but this team Pittsburgh is the team to beat. They could very well, and very easily, win the Atlantic. The way the Devils are playing does not please anyone.

March 17, 2007

Reds 2, Red Sox 1


Pitching: Kyle Lohse got on the five-innings board today and pitched extremely well. He got the win with 3 hits, 3 K's, 0 runs. A lot of flyouts, but they were outs so I can handle that. But those could hurt him come season time. He did hit a batter, which he always does. But dang, could this be the Kyle Lohse we've been waiting for? Let's hope so, I'd rather him have the #3 spot over Milton. Don't like Milton. Anyway, Lohse defeated Papelbon, who is being used as a starter this year for Boston. Hermanson had a clean quick inning, Coutlangus not so much but kept it scoreless. Jared Burton got the 8th and gave up a run on 2 hits, a double to Ramierz and an RBI-single to some guy named Scales who knocked in some guy named Ochoa. Victor Santos had another pretty save, K'ing 1.

Hitting: Denorfia finally got himself into the game, hitting a leadoff homer and scoring the other run off of Adam Dunn's RBI single. What's up with Dunn's singles lately? That was the only hit he didn't have last year, now it's all he is hitting. What has Jacoby done? Dunn also walked twice and has remained very good in that respect. Hamilton obviously did not enjoy having some days off and was feeling the rust today, going 0/3 with 2 K's. His average now sits at .500. Phillips was 1/4 with a meaningless triple. Reds hit into 3 DP's, not a great stat.

Fielding & such: No errors today. Denorfia stole his first base.

Mavericks 106, Celtics 101

Yikes, what would have happened if the Mavs lost this one? Thankfully they didn't, and a win by 5 over a terrible team is the same as a win by 35 over a great team, at least in the win column. But still. Can't feel too great about it.

Dallas was trailing by ten points at the half, not what you would expect. Howard was playing well, but Nowitzki was ice cold. Paul Pierce was everywhere. Then the Mavericks slowly closed the gap over the third quarter and then took over late in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki stepped up, scoring 19 in the fourth, and 30 overall, 12/13 at the free throw line. He also pulled down 12 boards. Howard tied Nowitzki with the team lead in points and got 8 rebounds of his own. Terry had 16 and Stackhouse had 11.

Free throws were a big deal, as the Mavs found their way to the line, especially Nowitzki (mentioned above). The Mavericks were 30/33 on the night, with Boston going 19/22 which isn't too shabby, but a lot fewer attempts.

Not much else to see, good to see a win. Just to make sure they can still do it. Gotta keep winning. Without two of their best defenders, George and Buckner, being out.

March 16, 2007

Injuries & Cuts

Sounds nice, eh?


Homer Bailey (yep, it's finally over, but he said he knew it was coming, and so did most people)
Kerry Ligtenberg (could have been a pretty reliable guy, but people were ahead of him)
Brian Meadows
Joey Votto (we'll see him)
Michael Gosling
Dan Conway
Ryan Hanigan


Gary Majewski (won't be ready for a while)
Griffey (not sure if he will start the season)
Billy Bray (better hurry up and get well, son!)
The Lizard (nothing major)
Gordo (duh, but getting closer)
Ryan Freel (minor)

Reds 3, Pirates 2


Pitching: Livingston started and went 3.2/3 giving up 2 runs. He gave up 8 hits (!) but if you can limit that to 2 runs, that's pretty decent. He walked 1 and K'ed 4. So pretty well done again by Bobby. Jared Burton closed out his inning and pitched another, giving up a hit and K'ing 2. I like this Burton guy. Cormier, Coffey, and Coutlangus kept it going and Ligtenberg got the save, K'ing 1.

Hitting: Denorfia was 2/4 with a run scored and an RBI. About dang time. Extreme back-up catcher Ryan Jorgenson got the game-winning RBI. Dunn was 2/2. Jay Bruce did not impress, but what the heck is he doing up at camp anyway?

Fielding & such: After subduing the errors for a while, the Reds busted out with 3 of them. Castro, of all people, had an errant throw. Bruce misplayed a ball, and Machado had a bad throw. He, being Machado, also stole a dang base.

Devils 3, Hurricanes 2

Nice win. Big win. Important and all that.

It's nice to see Brodeur bounce back with a very great game. You know the guy can play, but when your team has won a few games but allowed a decent amount of goals scored on you, you don't think much about how great Brodeur is, you don't even really think of your goalie at all. But now with that sort of performance, it's like, "Hey, I'm still here." And he was all there, stopping 38 of 40.

Erik Rasmussen of all people got a huge goal in the third period, scoring right away. Sort of like Gomez, who scored right away at the beginning of the game. Parise made it 3-1 and thankfully the Hurricanes would only score one more goal. They had 22 shots in the third period, which is pretty inexcusable from the Devils standpoint, but Brodeur was up to the task, no doubts about it. Buffalo won, so first place is still pretty distant.

March 15, 2007

Pirates 13, Reds 1


Pitching: Saarloos, Stanton, Wilson sucked.

Hitting: Pretty much everybody sucked. Godwin with the RBI FTL?

Fielding & such: Eh........

Slight breeze shatters Ken Griffey Jr.'s femur

From The Onion:

Although Ken Griffey Jr. had nearly recovered from a broken hand sustained while playing with his children in December, his rehabilitation came to a sudden halt yesterday when a gentle 2 mph breeze wafted across his leg, shattering his femur in three places. "I knew it was broken right when that breeze hit me," said Griffey, who was walking from his sports therapist's office to his car in order to drive to his daughter's piano recital at the time of the injury. "These things just happen. If I would have known a breeze like that was coming, I never would have left the house." Reds manager Jerry Narron has stated that, upon Griffey's return to the Reds, he will be fitted with a personalized protective bubble to be worn for the remainder of the season.

Penguins 3, Devils 0

Another huge game, as the Mavs/Suns game was. And another disappointing loss. Not a great night.

This one didn't make any sense. The Devils didn't deserve this one. They might not have been the better team, which would be hard to argue, but I think they were pretty close. They played a very solid game and didn't get anything because of it. Jocelyn Thibault, of ALL PEOPLE, got a shutout. That is inexcusable. But it wasn't for lack of effort. Give the man some credit, he played well. Just very little things went wrong for the Devils at the wrong times. It was annoying and frustrating because it was such a big game, fighting for first place in the Atlantic and first place in the East, but probably only fighting for the division at this point. The #1 seed might be out of reach now, but it's still possibly out there.

Winning the division is the new priority, and I'm not sure if it's a bad thing if they lose it. Try to comprehend my crazy logic. Devils win the division, get the #2 seed. They play the Islanders, who are always tough for NJ. Then they play the winner of Tampa Bay/Atlanta, two teams who can beat the Devils handily. If the Penguins win the Atlantic, the Devils get #4. They play whoever it ends up being, Ottawa probably, and can beat them. Then they play Buffalo and can beat them, it's been shown. Then they play whoever comes out of the other side. That might be the most favorable scenario, oddly enough.

Oh well, we'll see. I don't really feel like talking about this game anymore, so check out In Lou We Trust.

Penguins 3, Devils 0

Another huge game, as the Mavs/Suns game was. And another disappointing loss. Not a great night.

This one didn't make any sense. The Devils didn't deserve this one. They might not have been the better team, which would be hard to argue, but I think they were pretty close. They played a very solid game and didn't get anything because of it. Jocelyn Thibault, of ALL PEOPLE, got a shutout. That is inexcusable. But it wasn't for lack of effort. Give the man some credit, he played well. Just very little things went wrong for the Devils at the wrong times. It was annoying and frustrating because it was such a big game, fighting for first place in the Atlantic and first place in the East, but probably only fighting for the division at this point. The #1 seed might be out of reach now, but it's still possibly out there.

Winning the division is the new priority, and I'm not sure if it's a bad thing if they lose it. Try to comprehend my crazy logic. Devils win the division, get the #2 seed. They play the Islanders, who are always tough for NJ. Then they play the winner of Tampa Bay/Atlanta, two teams who can beat the Devils handily. If the Penguins win the Atlantic, the Devils get #4. They play whoever it ends up being, Ottawa probably, and can beat them. Then they play Buffalo and can beat them, it's been shown. Then they play whoever comes out of the other side. That might be the most favorable scenario, oddly enough.

Oh well, we'll see. I don't really feel like talking about this game anymore, so check out In Lou We Trust.