April 30, 2007

I don't like to do this, but I am taking a break from blogging. Maybe I'll see you around someday.

April 29, 2007

Devils 3, Senators 2 (2OT)

Alright I had a huge post but then it got erased, so that blows.

In short, the Devils had to win this game. Not technically, but you don't want to go down 2-0, especially losing both at home. That goal in double overtime by Jamie Langenbrunner may have changed this series around.

The Devils flat-out dominated the first period, leading in shots on goal by 16-5. Then they stopped. The rest of the game, the Senators outshot the Devils 40-17. While it was bad, it wasn't as bad as it seems due to the many missed shots by the Devils, whether due to aim or deflection. So it was a little more even than it appears, but it was pretty bad to put up 4 shots on goal in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The defensive dominance in the first period gave way to goaltending dominance, with Brodeur stopping 43/45 shots for the 3rd star when it probably should have been the first star.

The goal with 3/10ths of a second left in the first period was huge for the Devils. If they don't get that goal, they don't win the game. It helped a lot.

Still annoying that the Devils sat back and waited for the Senators to come at them. They got lucky they only let in 2 goals, but Brodeur was back there making sensational plays. But that's not the way to play the game, as John F. definitely agrees with me over at In Lou We Trust. Go check his blog out every dang day because it blows mine away. Props to Tom Lycan as well for posting within seconds after the victory was completed.

It was a good win, but it could have been a terrible loss due to the fact that the Devils exhibited no offensive pressure throughout the rest of the game. I would imagine that to be fixed come Game 3.

Reds 8, Pirates 1

This was a fun one to watch. Once again you are reminded of the kinds of things the Reds could do if they were able to put it all together on a consistent basis.


Pitching: The starting pitching, even throwing Milton in there, has been dang dang good this far in the season for the Reds, and they can't even remain above .500. When the starers go sour, it will be a long season. Until then, enjoy the 2nd-finest performance by a Reds starter this year (after Lohse's outing against the Cubs). Matt Belisle started and ended for the Reds, giving up 5 hits and a run while K'ing 5. Extremely well done. He had a perfect game going until the 6th inning where he gave up a double and a single which scored the only run. From there, he got a little weaker but still finished out the game. He didn't look as dominating in the lateer innings, giving up more hits but getting fortunate double play balls in the 7th and 8th innings to kill off any threat and then went 1-2-3 in the 9th. What a game. Great stuff. A ton of strikes and just having the attitude, he was very mentally keen.

Hitting: Ryan Freel led off and was 2/4, scoring twice. It was a perfect game pitchers duel through 3 innings but the Reds scored in the 4th on a Hamilton walk and a Conine double. Then Cincinnati does what it does well and that's have the occasional breakout inning, which was the 5th. Belisle started it, oddly enough, with his crazy sac bunt attempt where a lot of weird things happened. Ross & Dunn were on the corners with 1 out and Belisle bunted into the ground. He got tagged out and then the catcher threw to 2nd base when he Ross go there. Wilson tagged the BASE and not the player, so Ross was safe because it was no longer a force out, because Belisle was already out. Dunn saw all that and ran across home plate. Then 2 singles and a double later, the Reds had some more runs and they weren't finished until Gorzelanny mixed in a balk, scoring Phillips from 3rd base. The Reds tacked one on in the 8th on another Conine double and an EdE single. Then Conine threw in 2 more RBI's on a bases-loaded single. Phillips was 2/5, Conine was 3/5, EdE & Ross were both 2/4. On the other end of the totem pole was Hamilton, who had a double but then K'ed 3 times which was pretty nasty. Adam Dunn was 0/3 with a K and a grounder that went for a double play.

Fielding & such: Dunn stole second base in the 5th inning. I think he's 5 for 5 now, a very opportunistic stealer. Did he steal any last year? I think maybe 1 or 2. Good stuff from him. Freel got caught stealing in the 7th. You'll have that with Freel. Not sure if he's given the wrong signals or if he gets bad jumps or reads, but he'll get caught a few times before the year is out and he will have more bases than not, but it's something to improve. Do what Dunn does, dang it. 2 double plays with Phillips in the mix, one from EdE, the other from Gonzo.

The Randy Moss Experiment is over

Good news I guess. Sort of sad, just remembering back two years ago when I heard the news Randy Moss was leaving Minnesota to come to Oakland. It was huge news, a sensational day. Oddly enough, the first team Moss played against as a Raider is the team he was traded to: the New England Patriots. Hard to imagine Moss as a Patriot, I was getting all set to see him with the Green Bay Packers, but it was New England who swooped in and made the deal. The Raiders received a 4th-round pick that they used to select John Bowie, a cornerback from Cincinnati who just happened to be one of, if not THE, fastest player in the draft.

The experiment began with the Raiders trading their #1 pick, Round 7 pick, and linebacker Napolean Harris to Minnesota for Moss. That was a blockbuster deal. Moss did do some things well in Oakland, but his numbers and production were nowhere near what everyone thought he was capable of doing, and that was due to some injuries as well. It's hard not to scapegoat Randy Moss, more and more people disliked him over time and wanted him out of here. So now he is. It's too bad things didn't work out and it's not all on Moss for that, but a good chunk of it was. It didn't help to have him whine and nag when the team was doing so poorly and the cardinal sin is to admit you're not going 100%, which is what Moss did on more than occasion.

So now we have Mike Williams, Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, and Doug Gabriel. Williams, in a sense, replacing Moss, though I didn't think that was the case but it looks like it is now. Not that Williams becomes the #1, but here's hoping he can pick up his game with former coach Lane Kiffin. That's the hope and the idea. So Josh McCown throws the balls for a year or half a year and then Russell waits his turn, hopefully trimming some fat off of his body and beefing up his mental attributes and then the Raiders are in business a couple/few years down the road.

Raiders select Michael Bush


This was my pick for the 2nd round way back when before all of that nonsense occurred (and I'm still not sure about all of it) but the Raiders got him, it just happened to be the first pick of the 4th round!! This is very awesome news, I flipped out when I saw the Raiders had him. I had wanted him all along. There were very few running backs I'd prefer to watch in college than Michael Bush. I know I'm going on a limb here, and I don't quite believe it as much as I did a couple years ago, but I thought Michael Bush had the potential to be the best Bush in the NFL. If you get my drift, he could surpass Reggie. That was the idea. Not sure what the status is now, but it was clear Al Davis & Co. could not pass up that talent finding him still hanging around after 3 rounds. Very very good pick right there. Time to get excited about that one.

April 28, 2007

Mr. Russell

"I’m ready to go out there and hear the Raiders Anthem and hear things go wild and I’m happy to be a part of that. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity and chance and now I’m ready to go in and compete. I’m ready to go to work."

Raiders pull off huge trade

The Oakland Raiders traded their 4th-round selection for the Detroit Lions for Josh McCown AND Mike Williams. Not one of them, but BOTH. McCown, you'll remember, interviewed and was though to have the job last year before he accepted the Lions' offer. Mike Williams still has the potential that made him a 1st-round pick in 2005, though he has underachieved this far. Still a pretty solid move, hard to argue with. You're not getting tremendous playmakers, but you're getting two players who can play pretty dang good ball when they are at their best. For a 4th-round pick, that's not bad at all.

Raiders select Zach Miller

Tight end from Arizona State. Let's hope he can hang on to the ball.

Raiders select to trade

With the first pick in the secound round of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select..................to swap 2nd-round picks with the Arizona Cardinals and receive a complementary 4th-round pick as well.

Not sure the ins & outs behind the deal as the Raiders drop 6 spots in the 2nd round. Hopefully they will still be guaranteed to get the guy that they want in that spot, and then they would have just picked up another selection. The problem with all that is the fact that I was hoping that the Raiders would pick Alan Branch, seeing to it that he was still hanging around after the completion of the first round. Oddly enough, that's the player that the Cardinals chose with the Raiders' old pick. So that's annoying. Hopefully somebody good is coming our way and hopefully Oakland knows what they are doing.

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

"Obviously, they've been making it tough for me to score," Nowitzki said.

Reds do some things

Reds already got one of their 2 PTBNL's in a guy named Marcus McBeth. Looks decent. Hopefully he will have more success than the Shakesperean character.

Also, in a much-anticipated move, Rheal Cormier has been DFA'd. Let's hope we never see him again. Brad Salmon has been called up and we can probably expect to see him pretty soon.

Face of the Franchise

Raiders select JaMarcus Russell

End the speculation, there it is. Everyone was right. He's the man now.

Senators 5, Devils 4

I wasn't around for hardly any of this game, so I won't pretend like I was. And I'm fairly glad I wasn't, to be honest.

Sure, the Devils came back from 4-0 down to get to 4-3, and then from 5-3 to get to 5-4. But it might as well have been 5-0. A loss is a loss. Not that the positives for the Devils are non-existent, they were able to come back to get within striking distance and they do know that they can score on Emery if they try. But, like I say, a loss is a loss.

Everyone talks about how this series will go the distance, how it will be extremely balanced, how it will be a low-scoring affair. None of that really applied to Game 1, and the Devils might not have the firepower to go the distance for they are surely not the better team.

The thing that bothers me the most is Martin Brodeur's performance. I don't know the whole story, I don't know if the defensemen are more to blame than he is or who is to blame, I will leave that up to the other blogs who know a heckuva lot more than I do. What I do know is that 4 goals were scored on Martin Brodeur, in a row, on 9 shots in the period. We cannot afford to have Brodeur "find himself" somewhere in the middle of the series, he needs to find himself right now. Who knows, chances are high that he will bounce back considerably well in the next few games of the series, and that would be incredible if he could do so. But this may the beginning of the end for his postseason dominance. I just don't understand how it happens. Everyone warned about it, Ottawa was much deeper and much better than Tampa Bay. While they didn't have a single best line, they had infinitely better players. And that was proven, as the #1 line went wild in New Jersey. It's just tough when they clawed back with 3 solid goals, to give up another one right away to put it away at 5-3. And that goal made the difference as Parise was able to get a late goal in the game. For nothing, to be sure, but it could have been for something. Brodeur did get better after that first period, but who wouldn't? When I stopped in to check the score, saw it was 4-0 in the first, I was almost positive I would see a different goaltender in net. I realize it's Brodeur, but still, I was a little surprised. He was able to get somewhat of an edge back, but that's hard to deal with. It's nice to know the Devils can score, that's pretty cool. But they need to play extremely better if they are to have a chance with this team, this team that is dang, dang good. They could be gone pretty soon if they don't.

Warriors 109, Mavericks 91

I really don't know what to say about this one, except for the Golden State Warriors, at least for one night, had the biggest home-court advantage I'd ever seen. That place was simply electric. Wow. You get the impression folks in Dallas are just so dang used to it all, they practically applaud with golf claps compared to the fans in Oakland. There was nothing like it. And it wasn't like the Warriors weren't giving them anything to cheer about, they were amazing yet again. Maybe all the homers in Oakland are right - the Warriors really will wipe the floor with these Mavs. We can hope not, for the sake of all things holy, and the sake of what a truly horrendous offseason these Dallas Mavericks will face, getting the 4th-best record in the NBA to do what with it? Not show up come playoff time? That doesn't make any sense. For a team that was talking about only the playoffs the ENTIRE YEAR with just a shrug about the regular season, as if it was some annoyance they had to trudge through to get to where they want to be, sure are acting like the opposite. It's true the Warriors have their number, that much is evident. It's just sickening how poorly the Mavs are playing. It's clear they understand the trouble that they are in, first #1 seed to go down to a #8 seed in the history of a 7-game series. Losing back-to-back rounds in the playoffs, albeit competely different circumstances but with the same style of chokery that allows them to forget playing defense and missing all their jumpers. Can we say gut-check time? Or should we have said that a long time ago?

Reds woes

It started with a 7-5 loss to the Cardinals, one of the many losses this year when the Reds had a healthy lead. This time, the bullpen didn't blow it. Lohse blew it, giving up 3 runs in the 5th and two others in different innings. It's a sad feeling when you're pleased by the fact that, well, you lost, but at least the bullpen didn't blow it. But they sort of did because if they don't let 2 more runs score, then Freel's wild pitch run score ties the game. But it wasn't meant to be. A lot of people are getting on Jerry Narron for screwing things up, and that's true to a certain extent. He's having trouble pulling some pitchers too early and letting others stay in when it's too late. Case in point - pull Lohse after his disastrous inning, or maybe even take him out during the 5th. But no, he went in to start the 6th as well. I know he would be cautious about starting the bullpen too early, but at other times he is confident in the bullpen when he pulls the starter (usually Harang or Arroyo) too early. Ah, it just sucks right now. I don't think there's been a time where both cylinders are running at the same time, or when the whole team is in sync. It just doesn't last very long.

After that loss, the Reds extended Coffey's contract out another year. That's not really a woe, but it might be. I like the guy a lot, he's been struggling early, but I think he'll be fine. He better be.

The big news, at least to me, is the Reds letting Chris Denorfia go. For nothing. Nothing at all. Some cash and 2 Players To Be Named Later. We all know how those deals work out. What makes it slightly easier to deal with is the fact that Denorf wasn't going to be able to play at all this year, so we won't see him flourish in Oakland until 2008. But he will do a fine job. What's the rationale? I don't get it. Somebody will need to explain it, and I'm sure they will at least try. When I heard he had been traded, I thought it was for bullpen relief as I always do, but this was for nothing and is hard to comprehend. I'm going to miss the guy because he was good, is good, and will be even better.

Ken Griffey Jr. continues to be as fragile as the wind. Broken bones started it off, then he had some infection of the colon, then he had stomach & chest pains, and now he has been diagnosed with pleurisy, which is an inflammation of some type surrounding the lining of the lungs. Who is this guy? Yikes, man. Let's hope he heals up from all of this nonsense, this is quite ridiculous. So that's a problem we're dealing with right now.

And the latest woe, if we needed any more, was the loss last night to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, who aren't all that lowly anymore. Reds lose 3-1. It was a Guaranteed Loss Night, as Milton picked up the tab like he so often faithfully does. You know the story, he wasn't great, he was maybe even mediocre, didn't pitch well enough to inspire confidence, and the Reds' bats didn't want to seem to wake up to prove him wrong at any time. Adam Dunn blasted a solo homer in the 9th, but that was all the fun these Reds have. Let's hope they start learning how to play baseball fairly soon.

April 26, 2007

Mavericks 112, Warriors 99

That sound you don't quite hear is a collective sigh of relief coming up from within the bowels of Dallas, Texas. Where the Mavericks could not afford to go down 2 games to n0ne. And thankfully they didn't. Hard to say how much they actually earned it when Golden State's best player, Baron Davis, was ejected at the end of the third quarter and their second-best player, Stephen Jackson, was thrown out with 4 minutes left in the game. Not sure how much they earned it, but what I do know is that they got it. They got the win. I wish they would have gotten it without any question marks, but that's just now how it went. I'll take the win for now.

The Mavs got off to another slow start, though it wasn't nearly as disastrous as Game 1's sluggish beginning. But it wasn't much to get excited about either. I was fairly concerned, the Warriors looked good again and had early sizeable leads while the Mavs looked like they weren't in it a whole lot. That changed over time, thankfully and believeably so. The Mavs eventually took control of the game bit by bit and were helped out enormously by the ejections, though that's no consolation to the Warriors at this point.

Baron Davis, even before he got thrown out the game, was not the same Mavs Killer as he was in Game 1. He left with 13 points on 5-12 shooting, a good testament for the Mavs playing a much better defensive game, even though both teams scored far more than they did in Game 1. Stephen Jackson was the best threat Golden State put on the floor, and he got kicked out. He left with 30 points, but had 8 turnovers. Jason Richardson had 14 and 10 and Monta Ellis threw in 20 points.

Jason Terry was the man in this contest, playing all but 7 minutes of the game. He ended up with 28 points on 23 attempts, shooting barely over 50%, but it was enough. He was ice cold from 3-point land, going 1/7 but was strong when it counted. Nowitzki was next with 23, even though everyone was predicting a 40-point, or even 50-point explosion from him due to his lack of anything in Game 1. I wasn't expecting that and he delivered a solid, unspectacular game. He also chipped in 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Josh Howard had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jerry Stackhouse made a complete turnaround from his 0/7 Game 1, with 17 points in this one. He went to the free throw line often, which was great to see. He also ended up with 8 rebounds.

Shooting was fairly even, Mavs had the edge 49%-47%. Nobody could hit a 3, as the Warriors were 4/20 and the Mavs were 1/16. Free throws were 86%-85% in favor of Dallas, and that figure could stand to improve. The Mavs outrebounded 41-34. Assists were very low for both teams, the Mavs with 15, but the Warriors with only 9. That's pretty sickening right there. Especially when you consider the Warriors had 24 turnovers. Turnover-to-assist ratio was 24/9, one of the worst figures of the entire season I would imagine. Dallas had twice as many steals, 14-7, and the Mavs blocked 9 shots. Stats clearly in favor of Dallas, if not even, so it's somewhat a concern that they didn't win by a wider margin, especially considering the Warriors' two hot shots were holed up in the locker room unable to play the late stages of the game. Hopefully the win will be enough to give the Mavs some confidence heading into Oakland.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2

Guaranteed Loss Night. Just after you witness what a great team the Reds could be after they put a win together like last night, they go out and do the usual: solid starting pitching, not enough hits, shaky defense, and a give-it-up bullpen.


Pitching: Bronson Arroyo goes 7 innings, giving up 5 hits and a walk, K'ing 2, and ends up with an earned run, bringing his ERA further down to 2.86. What more do you want from the guy? And yet, you know the Reds will lose when he pitches. It's been done all 5 starts, while Arroyo personally remains at 0-3. Hard to be that man, but hopefully it won't get to him. Just sad is all. A great effort. SaarLOSE came on in the 8th and didn't get anybody out, walking 2 and allowing 2 hits, giving up 4 runs, 2 of them earned. Once again, I ask if you remember how we wanted this guy to be our 5th starter and were pumped up to have him in the bullpen. Do you remember? I do, because I was excited. Not anymore. Coutlangus came on and got his out, then Santos got the remaining two outs, giving up a walk.

Hitting: Hamilton was pretty much the only highligh, leading off and going 1/3 with his 6th homer of the year. Dunn hit a double and Hatteberg knocked him in for a single in the 9th. Alez Gonzalez had the most hits with 2, but they didn't amount to anything. Good to see him doing so well, though. The Reds didn't put up much of a fight offensively, but they leave their fair share of men on base. That's a stat that I haven't looked through. Most times a man has been left on base. I am sure the Reds are pretty dang high in that category, due to a fair amount of hits but not a lot of RBI's. Somebody should check that out.

Fielding & such: Gonzo was the culprit again, and now I'm REALLY not buying into the defense only approach from this guy, just like Narron, who tells people constantly he wasn't signed only for his defense, but you can tell with his offense that Gonzo is a good player. And that's been true, but now he's all about offense, as he makes his 3rd error of the year, and maybe the most costly one of the season. His bad throw allowed a run to score on the actual play and prolonged the inning, adding another run on a sacrifice fly that would not have happened if the throw was made. Score could have been 3-1 Cardinals, and sure the Reds only got one run but maybe mentally they would have been ready to get 2 runs instead of having to get 4. It's hard to get on a guy like Gonzo when he has been swinging the bat very well and had some great moments in defense, but I'm pretty sure we signed him to be flawless defensively and he hasn't been that. Maybe that's a high standard, but he was treated like a god so maybe he should act like one.

Mock Draft

Yahoo! Sports goes final with Russell:

The Raiders have plenty of options, but this will come down to picking a quarterback or wide receiver. Johnson has the highest grade, Russell has the strongest arm and Quinn is the best fit for the new coaching staff's scheme. With the Browns sitting at No. 3, that could shake things up in any possible deal between the Buccaneers and Raiders. The only real chance for a trade for No. 1 is if the Bucs were to pull the Lions into the mix and have them move down to No. 4. That would allow the Raiders to secure the quarterback at No. 2 and Johnson to land in Tampa Bay. At the end of the day, my gut feeling here is that if the Raiders keep the pick, it will be Russell. But if a deal can be reached, they very well could end up with Quinn a few picks later.
I am getting more and more cautious about picking JaMarcus Russell almost daily. I know it's just sports writers getting into my head, many of them bashing the Raiders, but the Raiders have given them a lot to bash about lately. I just get nervous. Can an athletic freak of nature really turn things around? Will he find himself in an ideal condition, will he eventually flourish or will he never amount to much of anything? I hope he's good. Maybe I want a trade instead.

April 25, 2007

Stats through first 20 games

The Reds sit at 10-10, good for 2nd place in the division, three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers at 13-7. The record is the 7th-best in the National League and tied with Toronto & the Los Angeles Dodgers for 14th overall. Most of us expected a .500 season, give or take, and that's exactly what the Reds have given us thus far. The pace will leave them at 80-80.

The rest of the NL Central is as follows:

Houston: 9-10
Pittsburgh: 8-10
St. Louis: 8-11
Chicago Cubs: 7-13

You have to love it when the Cubs & Cardinals are in the bottom of the division.



The Reds have 84 runs scored, tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 9th in the NL and tied with Arizona & the Chicago White Sox for 17th overall. The Florida Marlins lead the NL with 113. The New York Yankees lead the majors with 120.
The Reds have 81 RBIs, once again tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 9th in the NL and tied with Arizona & the Chicago White Sox for 17th overall. The Florida Marlins lead the NL with 107. The New York Yankees lead the majors with 116.
The Reds have a collective batting average of .240, tied with the Washington Nationals for 14th in the NL and 25th overall. The New York Mets lead the majors with .294.
The Reds have 157 hits, 12th in the NL and 22nd overall. The New York Mets lead the NL with 198.
The Reds have 20 home runs, tied with the New York Mets and San Diego Padres for 4th in the NL and tied with those teams, along with the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers for 9th overall. The Milwaukee Brewers & Atlanta Braves are tied for the NL lead with 26. The New York Yankees, thanks in large part to A-Rod, lead the majors with 27.
The Reds have drawn 74 walks, good for 9th in the NL and 11th overall. The Atlanta Braves & Philladelphia Phillies are tied for the most in the majors with 93.
The Reds have struck out 138 times, 9th-fewest in the NL and 20th-fewest (bad verbiage) overall. The Los Angeles Dodgers have struck out the least in the NL, K'ing 100 times. The Seattle Mariners have struck out the least in the majors, K'ing 82 times.
The Reds have stolen 17 bases, tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2nd in the NL and. The New York Mets lead the NL with 21.
The Reds success rate of stolen bases to caught stealing compared to overall attempts (17/20) is 2nd in the NL and 5th overall, with an 85% success rate. The San Diegro Padres lead the NL with an 87.5% success rate (7/8). The Baltimore Orioles lead the majors with a 100% success rate (10/10).
The Reds have an on-base percentage of .319, tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 11th in the NL and 20th overall. The New York Mets lead the majors with .370.
The Reds have a slugging percentage of .379, good for 10th in the NL and tied with the Los Angeles Angels for 22nd overall. The New York Mets lead the majors with .470.


The Reds have a collective ERA of 3.74, good for 5th in the NL and 7th overall. The New York Mets lead the NL with 2.46.
The Reds have 5 saves, good for 7th in the NL and 17th overall. The Milwaukee Brewers lead the majors with 9.
The Reds have allowed 17 home runs, tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for 8th-fewest in the NL and tied with Milwaukee, the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels for 12th-fewest overall. The San Diego Padres have allowed the fewest in the majors with 9.
The Reds have allowed 45 walks, good for 1st in the NL and 1st overall. BEST IN THE MAJORS
The Reds have struck out batters 148 times, 4th in the NL and tied with the Minnesota Twins for 5th overall. The Chicago Cubs lead the majors with 160 K's.
The Reds have a WHIP (walks + hits divided by innings pitched) of 1.22, tied with the New York Mets for 1st in the NL and 4th overall. The Oakland Athletics lead the majors with 1.16. BEST IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
The Reds have allowed the opposite team's batting average to be at .306, good for 1st in the NL and 4th overall. The Oakland Athletics lead the majors with .291. BEST IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE


The Reds have committed 18 errors, 2nd-worst in the NL and 2nd-worst overall. The Washington Nationals lead the majors with 23.
The Reds fielding percentage is .976, 2nd-worst in the NL and 3rd-worst overall. The Washington Nationals have the worst in the majors with .970.
The Reds have turned 14 double plays, 15th in the NL and 27th overall. The New York Mets lead the majors with 26.
The Reds have allowed 10 stolen bases, tied with the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins for 9th-fewest in the NL and. The Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants have allowed 5, fewest in the NL. The Minnesota Twins have allowed 4, leading the majors.
The Reds success rate of catching runners to allowing a steal compared to overall attempts gives them a 28.57% success rate (4/14). The St. Louis Cardinals lead the NL with a 54.55% success rate (6/11). The Minnesota Twins lead the majors with a 63.64% success rate (7/11).



Adam Dunn leads the Reds with 12 runs scored, tied with many people for 44th overall.
Josh Hamilton leads the Reds with 11 RBI's, tied with many people for 67th overall.
Jeff Conine (of all people) leads the Reds with a .303 batting average, tied with Carlos Guillen and Scott Podsednik for 108th overall.
Adam Dunn leads the Reds with 20 hits, tied with many people for 69th overall.
Ken Griffey Jr. leads the Reds with 5 doubles, tied with many people for 51st overall.
Josh Hamilton leads the Reds with 5 home runs, tied with many people for 9th overall.
Adam Dunn & Ken Griffey Jr. lead the Reds with 11 drawn walks, tied with many others for 26th overall.
Adam Dunn once again has an early lead for Strikeout King, leading the Reds and the majors with 27. Four others are tied with 24.
Brandon Phillips leads the Reds in stolen bases with 5, tied with a few others for 10th overall.
Josh Hamilton leads the Reds with an on-base percentage of .404, tied with Geoff Jenkins and Placido Polanco for 67th overall.
Josh Hamilton leads the Reds with a slugging percentage of .682, good for 17th overall.


Aaron Harang leads the Reds in wins with 3, tied with many people for 3rd overall. Only Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis have won all 4 of their starts.
Kyle Lohse leads the Reds in ERA (!!!) at 1.91, good for 7th in the NL and 11th overall.
David Weathers leads the Reds in saves with 5, tied with Armando Benitez for 15th overall.
Kyle Loshe has given up the most home runs for the Reds (what, not Milton??!!??) with 3, tied with many people for 37th overall.
Bronson Arroyo leads the Reds in giving up walks with 8, tied with many people for 69th overall.
Aaron Harang leads the Reds in strikeouts with 27, tied with C.C. Sabathia for 10th overall.
Kyle Lohse leads the Reds in WHIP at a rate of 1.02, good for 15th overall.
Kyle Lohse leads the Reds in opposing team batting average with .236, good for 35th overall.


Edwin Encarnacion leads the Reds with 3 errors, tied with many for 22nd overall.
Juan Castro at shortstop & Josh Hamilton lead the Reds in fielding percentage, both at 1.00. The three lowest figures are all for third basemen, with EdE being the worst in regular duty at .930, and Castro & Freel worst overall in spot duty, with both at .750.
Brandon Phillips has been involved in the most double plays for the Reds with 13, tied with many people 28th overall.

Mock Draft

Kirwan's finale leaves him where he started - with JaMarcus Russell:

The longer you watch him on tape, the more he is the right pick for the Raiders. He is a rare athlete with a great arm and all the throws. He can make the line calls, escape pressure, and end the run of passing on quarterbacks -- which includes Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler. The plan sounds like getting a veteran like Josh McCown to start off the season and let Russell learn from the sideline for a year. The Raiders still have to fix their offensive line, and there's no reason to put Russell on the field until the supporting cast is in place.

Reds 10, Cardinals 3

Almost as good as the Reds winning and the Cubs losing is the Reds winning and the Cardinals losing. Did anybody see the same team that played at home? What are they, the ultimate road team?


The ace back on the mound. Harang pitched very well and got way too much run support, therefore he leads the club with 3 wins. He almost got out of the 8th inning, but had 119 pitches and a man on second base. Stanton allowed that run to score, so Harang was charged with 2 earned runs when it could have been just the solitary 1. As it stood, with those 2 ER's, Harang allowed 5 hits, 1 walk, and 5 K's. Well done. Stanton allowed that run and got a groundout on Edmonds' ball. Todd Coffey came in to do the 9th and was pretty sloppy, allowing 3 singles to lead things off. Bases loaded, nobody out. Only ends up with 1 run out of the deal due to a double play ball and another grounder, so thankfully that was all the damage.

Nice to see some bats woken up out there. Interesting how the bats come alive when the pitching is pretty dominant as well. I wish they could figure out when to save the runs for the times they actually need them. Anyway. Did anybody catch Gonzo last night? The man was on fire, starting the scoring off in the 2nd inning with a 2-run homer. Then he did the same in the 5th inning, this time a 3-run blast. He also had a double and a single, going 4/5 with 4 runs scored and 5 RBI's. An awesome display out there. Hamilton & Phillips both got 6 at-bats at the top of the order, and both had 2 singles. None of those scored a run, nor did they score themselves. Adam Dunn seems to have fallen on hard times as of late, going 0/3, but did take 2 more walks. Welcome Back Ken Griffey Jr. He had a 2-run home run for his first of the year, passing Reggie Jackson and taking sole possession of #10 in the all-time homer list. Pretty impressive stuff. EdE was 1/4, but got hit with a ball and scored both times he was on base. Hatteberg was 3/5. Even David Ross got in on the action, going 2/5 with a late RBI. More from this guy would be good. Jeff Conine had a pinch-hit RBI, the guy is a beast, I must admit. Even Harang got in on the action, hacking a flyout just far enough that it counted as a sacrifice fly.

Fielding & such:
Phillips got picked off first base, which is worse than getting caught stealing in my opinion, but was also a part of a double play with Gonzo. Rolen got caught stealing on Harang & Ross.

April 24, 2007

Avery Johnson 3rd in Coach of the Year voting


Johnson, who won the award last season then guided the Mavericks to a 67-15 regular-season record in 2006-07, finished third in the voting. Toronto's Sam Mitchell won the award, and Utah's Jerry Sloan finished second in the voting.

This is quite ridiculous. If a coach deserved to win back-to-back awards, it would be Avery Johnson. He took a team that blew a colossal lead in the Finals and turned them into a better team. Sure, they were expected to be good and many expected them to be #1 in the West, if not the NBA. They did those things, but does that mean that we should shrug off his efforts? No. The Mavs could have gone 1 of 2 ways - the NFL way, in which the losing championship team sucks for many years, or the way he did take them, crafting the team in a way that improves their strengths and masks their weaknesses as much as possible. Not only that but they recorded the best record in the league, the best record in franchise history, started 0-4 and still ended up with the 4th-best record in NBA history with many many record-breaking stats, including four 10-game+ winning streaks. Dallas has turned itself into a beast and much of that is because of all the work Avery Johnson puts in.

Hard to understand this one, although everyone goes for the surprises. It's always a vote for the "surprise" which is dumb. Sure, nobody expected Toronto to be as good as they were, but they ended up getting the #3 seed in the East, which means nothing these days. Just because they had the biggest turnaround of any team in the league, does that mean the coach should get the award? Of course not. Turnarounds are nice, but it goes beyond coaching although that plays a great role. If Toronto actually did anything worthwhile, maybe I would reconsider. But they haven't. Sloan was expected to be in the running and there he was, also ahead of Avery Johnson with the Utah Jazz. Another surprise-type move, though not as much. The Jazz were much better than people gave them credit for and I would have given Sloan the award at the halfway point of the year, but not the entire team. The Jazz were the hottest team in the league at the start. They were simply amazing for a while. Now they are #4 in the West, but basically being treated as the #5 since they don't have home-court advantage. They dropped the first 2 games to the Rockets. Sloan has always been a good coach, and he should have been given consideration. But the Jazz didn't pan out the entire year, so it doesn't make sense that he should get more votes than Johnson, as he should have gotten more votes than Mitchell.

1) Johnson
2) Sloan
3) Mitchell

That's how it should have been, folks.

April 23, 2007

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

Double dosage.

"Obviously, the pressure's all on us," Nowitzki said. "No one expects them to win. Obviously, shooting 35 percent [as a team] on our home court won't get it done."

Raiders release Badger, Johnstone

From Scout:

The Oakland Raiders released defensive end Lance Johnstone and offensive lineman Brad Badger on Friday. They also signed defensive back Kris Richard and defensive tackle Josh Shaw.
I know neither one produced as much as the Raiders would have liked, but does this surprise anybody like me? Particuarly Badger, who had been a serviceable backup for a long, long time. Well, I guess Kiffin is making the team his own. Which could be good, but who knows for sure? I think we are all prone to inordinate amounts of optimism for the product we have seen on the field for so many years, but that's just me right now.

Devils 3, Lightning 2 - Devils host Senators

This one was fun to watch, as it was actually on TV.

Although he let in two goals as opposed to shutting them out, Brodeur was the man in this game. Sure, Gionta got two goals and huge ones at that. But Brodeur made the difference and should have been the first star of the game, stopping 32 of 34 shots. He was dang good. Richards had his number, twice turning 2-goal leads into a single goal difference, both times on the power play. That is one aspect that the Devils will have to clean up. They took way too many penalties, and it cost them twice in this game and it could have been even more times, but thankfully that was all they were allowed. Still, this is a problem area. A lot of the time they were just skating around and poking at pucks instead of attacking the puck or at least the puck-carrier. Way too much time spent in the Devils zone.

As for the positive things, the Devils got a lot of rushes. They were content to play in their zone or in neutral ice, but recognized when they had the opportunity and took advantage of it. Elias had a nice pass to Gionta and Gionta was able to rip it past Holmqvist. Looked like a basic shot, but Holmqvist didn't square it up and he paid the price. That was a power play goal, as was the next one as Rafalski slammed one in there at the beginning of the 2nd period to make it 2-0. Richards came back with a goal. Then Gionta got his second one of the day on an extremely easy play. He and Elias were in front of the net and Kuba crashed into Holmqvist while Gionta was plenty patient with the puck, finally putting it past the goalie when he had no chance to stop it. Richards then got another power play goal and that was it for the scoring. No scoring in the third period, but still intense action. The Devils actually looked better at the end of the game when Tampa pulled the goalie. That was pretty weird. But they were able to control the final few minutes and celebrated the moving on to the Eastern Semis to face the Ottawa Senators.

It's weird because I watched the game, and I've hardly seen any Devils games this year, and I don't have much to write about. It was cool. It was very nerve-wracking at the end of the game, when I was waiting for the inevitable tie game because the Lightning always get 3 goals. But not this time. 12 goals the first 4 games, and 2 goals the next 2.

A winnable, but hard series is coming up with Ottawa. Due to re-seeding, the #1 Sabres will face the #6 Rangers while the #2 Devils will face the #4 Senators. I was very nervous about this series with Tampa Bay and their offense, but the Devils were able to roll off 3 straight wins and they looked decent at times and very good at other times. I am particularly glad to see Brodeur back on top of things, he seems to be in the zone. Ottawa has a very capable offense as well and a goalie who doesn't mind dropping the gloves and decking somebody in the face. Should be a good series. Rock on.

Warriors 97, Mavericks 85


One of two things will happen next.

1) The Mavericks will find themselves in a dog fight, slugging it out until late in the series where they will either barely lose or barely win.

2) They find some motivation, some desire, some sense of shot-making ability and slap themselves in the face and win the next 4 games.

This was a sad state of affairs, but that's why they play a 7-game series, I guess. Though if the Mavs keep playing like this, they won't last that long.

This was a game where everyone was giving little advantage to Golden State. Sure, they had beaten the Mavs 6 out of the past 7 times, and now 6 in a row. Sure that happened, but let's give you some excuses as to why none of it mattered. Well, it mattered last night. This team has figured the Mavs out, and they were the better team the entire way through. Nowitzki was a non-factor at best, nobody could make a shot, they gave up on defense far too quickly, and walked away with a deserving loss. On the other end, the Warriors were flying, grabbing tons of rebounds, making little plays and big plays, scoring like crazy, and letting Baron Davis take over in the late stages of the game. He ended up with 33 points to lead all scorers. He also had 14 rebounds and 8 assists. He could not be stopped. He hit three 3-pointers at the late stages of the third quarter to put just enough distance between the Warriors and the Mavs to allow them to win it. Stephen Jackson had 23 points.

For the Mavs, team shooting was 35%. Howard led the way with 21 points, most of those coming early in the game. He was only 8/21 shooting. He did snag 13 boards, though. He also played a ridiculous 43 minutes. Nowitzki had 14 points and and 12 rebounds, and was 4/16 shooting the ball. The Mavs actually had more success when he was on the bench. Terry and Harris were cold for sure. Stackhouse played 20 minutes and missed all of his shots. Dampier only played 2 minutes.

Stats don't really paint as clear of a picture as watching the actual disaster, but here they are nonetheless. Team shooting for the Warriors was only 43%, so the damage could have been much worse. Both teams were awful at the beginning of the game. The Warriors attempted 11 more 3's than the Mavs and made 4 more. Free throw shooting was about even, Mavs with a slight edge, but misses are a concern. Dallas actually ended up outrebounding Golden State, which is hard to figure out, because it didn't appear that way. Must have been late in the game. Assists were tied up at 16 a piece, Golden State had one more turnover, Dallas had 3 more steals. Blocks were even at 6. So stats paint a better picture for the Mavs, but the paintbrush was sweeping toward Golden State's direction.

You can expect Dallas to come out on fire next game. They better.

Reds lose back-to-back games to Phillies, drop below .500


First was Guaranteed Loss Night, as Milton dropped his 3rd. Yet again, he pitched like a mediocre pitcher. He's done decent work, but he and other things happen to make sure the Reds lose. Like Cole Hamels, Phillies pitcher, lighting up the scoreboard with 15 K's, most of any pitcher this year. Or David Ross grounding into a triple play, first of the year. Those types of things. Multiple errors by the Reds, small ball and all that. Costly errors. Biggest crowd of the year and first sellout for Cincy and they suck it up. Did the fans know Milton was pitching? What gives? First sellout and Milton is on the mound against the worst team in the majors? Go figure. The game sucked. Conine hit a homer, though.

Second was Ryan Howard Welcome Back Night and Please Don't Forget to Hit a Home Run. Freddy Garcia came over from the White Sox and got the win, Belisle pitched 5 innings, allowing 8 hits, 1 walk and 6 K's for 4 earned runs and the loss. Phillips got hit by pitches twice times. Freel got a triple. Hamilton stole his first base. Little things. A sac fly and an RBI double for some runs, but not nearly enough. Errors killed again in this game.

April 21, 2007

Devils 3, Lightning 0

There it was. The game we've all been waiting for.

If you look at the stats, particularly the 31-14 shots on goal in favor of Tampa Bay, you never would have guessed that this was the game the Devils win 3-0. It just didn't look like it. But it was all about Martin Brodeur, and to a lesser extent, about the multitude of blocked shots by the Devils defensemen.

It's hard to complain when you win 3-0, that's for sure. The extremely low shots on goal tally was a nuisance, though. But you can't say the Devils didn't play smart hockey. They did. They contained and were physical. The defense had lapses as they always do, and some of them almost cost the Devils, but Marty was there making 31 saves on 31 shots. It's about dang time. That gets everybody pumped up, and a huge win to push the series in the Devils favor. They will be riding the momentum high tomorrow afternoon as they try to wrap it up in Florida. Andy Greene got the scoring going midway through the first, Gionta had a nice goal on a very nice play midway through the second period, and Gomez threw one into the empty net in the late stages of the game.

Not much else to say, it was beautiful. The energy was definitely there, and the intellect as well. What was annoying happened at the end of the game when Torterella thought it appropriate to rack up as many game misconducts and fighting penalties as possible, sending out the goons to rough up the Devils players. It was a classless act, and one that hopefully not only gets the Lightning revved up, but also gets the Devils ready to deliver some punishment. I understand he needs to send a message to his team, but that was pretty dumb. Other than that, no complaints about the game. A good one, a truly good one.

The Devils are the only team left in the East still battling in a series and that outcome will decide many things in the East due to re-seeding. Either the Devils will host the Senators or the Sabres will host the Lightning.

Reds 2, Phillies 1 (10 innings)


Pitching: Does it get any better from Kyle Lohse? This man is simply a beast, ladies and gents. I have no doubts he'll have a rough outing sooner rather than later, but what a workhorse. I don't think anybody called this, though I may have been the closest. 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 unearned run, mixing in a walk and 4 K's. Beautiful stuff. It almost wasn't enough, either as Lieber on the other side was shutting the Reds down in a similar fashion. Lohse didn't get the win, though. That was given to little ole' Jonny Coutlangus, pitching the top of the 10th for a K, hit batter, and a double play. In between was Stanton with a clean 8th, nearly identical to Coutlangus' inning, with a pop-up, hit batter, and double play. What's up with the Reds pitcher hitting guys? Is that some newfound fetish? Hard to say for sure. Coffey got the 9th and gave up a single, but K'ed 2. Nice effort from top to bottom tonight with 0 earned runs among 4 guys.

Hitting: The good news for the Reds is that, even though they were getting mowed down by Lieber, he left the game in the 6th inning after only throwing 77 pitches. Not sure what the rational behind that was, but it helped though not quite as much as I had been hoping. Lieber gave up a hit and a walk, and that was it. Nothing too dangerous. He was pulled in the 6th after Freel got on and advanced on two different errors. Bases were loaded for the Reds, but EdE grounded out to end the threat. And so the end of the game, or so it seemed. But in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 outs, the legendary comeback scenario, Hatteberg hit a home run off of Tom Gordon and we go to extras. Phillies go 1-2-3. Reds load the bases on a walk, a single, and a walk. Phillips up to bat and he puts a single past the infield. Game over, Reds win.

Fielding & such: Wasn't great for anybody, really. Nunez & Lieber had back-to-back errors that allowed Freel to get to third base and may have taken Lieber out of the game, helpful to the Reds. The only run the Phillies got was on a double error by Hatteberg and Phillips, oddly enough the two guys who would tie and win the game for the Reds. So you roll the bad karma with the good karma and that's what you get on this day. Phillips also stole a base, and was involved in 3 double plays with Gonzo. Good stuff there. Not a bad game, actually. Just this sinking feeling the entire time and then the heroic situation for Hatteberg. Good stuff. Phillies are the worst team in the league, keep in mind.

April 20, 2007

Astros 8, Reds 6

Not again.

These losses are the hardest ones to take.

Bronson Arroyo is getting more and more similar to Eric Milton all the time, while at the same time they are growing more and more apart. The similarity exists with the idea of Guaranteed Loss Night, and that's just about where it ends. For whatever reason, when Arroyo pitches, he has a hard time picking up the win and even when he does everything to deserve it, he still doesn't receive. He has clearly been our best pitcher (ahead of Lohse, lest ye forget who is #2) and has nothing to show for it. On a night where the offense is bailing him out, it still doesn't work. Now the bullpen, along with the defense, is out to undo him. I'm sorry, Bronson. It shouldn't have happened this way.

It all started so well. You had another Brandon Phillips homer, Adam Dunn striking out left and right, and Josh Hamilton hitting yet another homer. Before you know it, it's 6-1 Reds and then Arroyo gives up another run before his exit, trotting to the bench, savoring his first victory. And then, much like the other night, it all goes to hell in the 8th inning and another solitary run in the 9th just to rub it in a little bit. Instead of Todd Coffey being the scapegoat, it was much pretty much everybody else. Saarloos (remember when we thought he was good?) started it off and gave up a single and a walk. Couldn't throw a strike. He's out, Stanton is in. Berkman switches from the right side to the left side, Stanton still in. Gives up one of Saarloos' runs on a single. He's out, Weathers is in. 6-3 Reds. Carlos Lee grounds out, NO WAIT, Gonzo bobbles the ball and everybody is safe. Luke Scott doubles to straightaway center, almost a homer, and everybody scores. Phillips makes the error this time and Scott is on third, in perfect position to score on Ensberg's sac fly. Astros 7-6 after that disaster. Then they get one off of Coutlangus in the 9th. And Arroyo just sits there and shakes his head, and everyone gets pissed.

Seriously, what the flip? How annoying, how frustrating. It shouldn't happen like that, especially in back-to-back winnable games. Everyone was all excited about the bullpen, a good mix of young and old, and it was that way the first 10 games or so. It was fly for a white guy. Now there's nobody you can really count on, except probably Stanton.

Maybe next time. Sorry Mr. Arroyo, it shouldn't have gone down like that.

April 19, 2007

2nd Round Pick Important, Too

Jon Elliott has a good point:

Amid the rumors circulating and all of the so-called "experts" weighing in with their opinions, it has been lost in the mix that the Raiders will have the first pick of the second round, too. While that choice obviously isn't nearly as dynamic as No. 1 overall, there are several positions that need addressing, and the 33rd pick could certainly help.
Nobody is thinking too much about the first pick of the 2nd round, but they should be. I have selected Michael Bush as the man to pick up there, but wouldn't be surprised if he was taken in the first round, and not surprised if he wasn't picked until the third round. In other words, he could go anywhere. But he would be a great pick there, perhaps not a true needs pick right now, but he will be the man years from now. Also, many people predict Dwayne Jarrett of USC will be taken there, due to needs at wide receiver if Calvin Johnson is not picked as well as the Lane Kiffin ties. Either of those picks would be just fine.

The interesting thing about Elliott's article is that he doesn't advocate either of these positions - instead, he argues for the Raiders to maybe look at QB with that pick, getting a sleeper pick. It's an interesting possibility, but he is clearly in the minority in that regard.

Mock Draft

Derek Harper (wait, wasn't he jacking up 3's for the Mavs in the 90's?) picks JaMarcus for the 5.0 version of FOX Sports:

Calvin Johnson remains a strong possibility if the Raiders can land a veteran quarterback to compete with Andrew Walter. Josh McCown skipped the Lions' minicamp and reportedly wants out of Detroit. But the Lions are highly unlikely to ship McCown to the Raiders, only to watch Oakland pick Johnson and hurt Detroit's chances of trading out of the No. 2 spot. The Raiders bolstered their offensive line by signing OG Cooper Carlisle last week. The bet is still that they take the big-armed Russell unless they deal WR Randy Moss in the next two weeks.

Devils 4, Lightning 3 (OT)

With the Devils up 3-1 during the 2nd period, I jokingly made a comment that the game would go into overtime. When that happened, I was a little surprised. When overtime started, I made the comment (again, somewhat jokingly) that the Devils were guaranteed the win since Tampa Bay only scored thrice a game. Once again, I was right. Very weird. There it is again. Tampa Bay scored 3, the Devils just need to find a way to get more goals. They have done that twice out of the four games thus far and hopefully can find two more times in their soul.

Those self-seeking comments aside, just a HUGE sigh of relief right now. With the Devils up 3-1 and looking alright, goals in middle-to-late stages of the second period for Tampa Bay made it seem like the inevitable loss was coming. Brodeur was able to batten down the hatches in the third period and in overtime as the Devils got the overtime goal to even the series. What a huge goal. What a huge game. It just had to happen, and it did. There is quite a difference between a series being at 2-2 as opposed to 3-1. And we find ourselves tied, quite luckily I might add.

Even though they got the win, the Devils still did not inspire me. They just happened to win. They didn't quite accomplish many of the things they set out to do, namely being more physical as well as keeping St. Louis & LeCav in check. But they did win, and that makes it all the more better. If they would have lost, I would be harsher, it's true. As would we all. But I don't see much in the win to get excited about, it was the same story, just ended up with New Jersey scoring more often this time. Not anywhere as promising as Game 1, but that doesn't mean we can't get back there. I think it will help going back home, but maybe not. Nobody goes to watch.

It started off promisingly enough. There was no real fire from the Devils, but they caught a break and Oduya made a sweet play to get Gionta the puck and he was able to score early. Tampa Bay was able to get a goal not long after that, but then Zach Parise scored his 5th late in the period for a 2-1 Devils lead. The second period was just the reverse with 1 Devil goal and 2 Lightning goals. Parise started it off with a power play goal midway through the 2nd for his 6th of the playoffs (most of any skater). That was followed by the inevitable goals from St. Louis & LeCav back-to-back to tie things up. The third period was a stalemate, 10-7 in shots on goal favoring Tampa Bay as Broduer was able to stop them all. Overtime was fairly even, though the Devils finally looked awoken for a moment: realizing they were able to weather the storm through regulation, they knew there was a big difference between a loss and a win and they went after it in overtime. Brodeur stopped all 5 shots he faced, most of which came on an early power play. That could have been disastrous, but Marty was there to answer the call. Holmqvist stopped the first 7 until Gomez caught a nice bounce off a blocked puck and raced down the length of the ice, shooting it past Holmqvist for the win.

Not sure how the Three Stars system works, but Parise is nowhere to be found. In scoring two goals, his 5th & 6th of the playoffs, most of anyone (all things I've already said), his name is nowhere to be found. Gomez is the first star, because he won the game, so you give him that. Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist, so maybe. And Holmqvist found his name there again, with 33 saves. Sad to see Holmqvist on there twice during the series and Brodeur not once. But that's how it goes sometimes. I think this game, particularly the late stages where Brodeur stopped all 15 late shots, will help him immensely heading into Game 5. That's the idea, anyway. Still didn't see a whole lot to get excited about, though the overtime was pretty decent. More of that mentally would be helpful, as well as even more physicality. And maybe some way to stop the two best shooters in the game? It's a tough task, but it can be done. Go Devils.

Mavericks 106, Sonics 75

As much as the Warriors game was a meaningless loss, this was as meaningless win against the Supersonics tonight. The Mavs played all their stars in a "tune-up" game for the playoffs and showed their dominance, which I think helps going into the playoffs after playing weak as of late. Good to see this outcome. But also easy to see because the Mavs have dominated the Sonics over recent years, and I doubt much was on the mind for Seattle players except for ending their dang season and taking some vacation.

Apparently there isn't going to be a team in Seattle next year. How did I miss that? Did you miss it? Let me know. If so, sad to see it end after such a horrible season and a horrible final home loss. That won't leave a good taste in the mouths of Seattle's fans, especially since they won't be able to redeem themselves. Better turn to the Mariners or college sports instead.

Hard to understand such domination when the leading scorer for the Mavs had 20 points. That would be Nowitzki, who ends another year without a triple-double, but is leading the pack of MVP candidates according to the world. He also had 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Josh Howard had 15 and will need to pick it up if the Mavs are to have any chance of winning during the playoffs. Nothing else very noticeable, just that the Mavs took 81 shots which is a lot, and made 43 of them, so they were shooting smartly. On the other end, Seattle only shot 69 times and made only 29 of them. Yikes. Superstar Rashard Lewis had a team-high 14 points for Seattle. Team-high. 14. Yuck. They were interested in making free throws, grabbing rebounds, or recording assists. It was pretty obvious.

So there it is, folks. The end of the regular season 2006-07. The Mavericks tied for the sixth-best record in NBA history at 67-15. That's pretty sweet stuff. They will play the Golden State Warriors, and like I said, I'm worried that they will take them lightly. I don't think they will, but there's a chance. It's sort of like the Devils with the Tampa Bay Lightning right now, #2 vs. #7 but the Lightning knew how to beat the Devils up. This could be similar, but let's hope not. It's playoff time, so maybe another first-round sweep is in order, which would be amazing. Clippers are out and the Lakers stay in #7 although they tried desperately to fall to #8. So here we go. Good stuff. See you when it counts.

Astros 7, Reds 2

The bullpen, oh the bullpen. What has happened to thine bullpen?


Pitching: Harang pitched well enough to get the win and was on his way to doing that very thing, but it wasn't meant to be. He went 6 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 8 K's for an earned run. Very well done. He got 2 strikeouts when the bases were loaded in the 4th, that was very awesome. Nothing quite as cool as that, just like Lohse the other day. Then he gave up a run in the 6th, but it was earned through effort on their part. Santos came on in the 7th and did his magical thing, going 1-2-3. Then the trouble started in the late innings and it was Todd Coffey as the culprit again, though not as much as Rheal Cormier. The first guy he hit, and he's been doing that lately. Very odd. He got the next two guys, and then it was an RBI single that tied the game. Coffey then walked Lee and in came Rheal Cormier to give up an RBI single and a 3-run homer to Jason Lane. That about ended it on this day. But then he got the final out of the 8th and did so well that Narron gave him the 9th to work and he gave up another run there as well. Does anybody like Cormier? Does anybody want to see him pitch? He is clearly the weakest link right now and thankfully we haven't seen him that much. This is the most we have seen him and that's about enough for me. Gotta get the guy out of here. Any thoughts on Coffey? Where is his edge? Wasn't he pretty dang good the past couple years? That's what I thought anyway. Tough stuff. He didn't do that badly, and probably would have done a much better job than Cormier in finishing that inning.

Hitting: Freel & Hamilton did not have the type of success they enjoyed last night, but that's to be expected. Freel had a single. Hamilton had a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 4th which was pretty awesome. The guy is just cranking out homers left and right. That was all those guys did though. Dunn was 0/4 with 2 K's. Griffey was 0/3, and I don't know about putting them back-to-back, especially when they become such black holes offensively. Phillips had a home run of his own, and those two homers were the only runs of the day. Hatteberg had 2 singles, and that was all for your hitting, folks. Sampson & Wheeler pretty much shut us down on this night.

Fielding & such: Freel had another error at 3rd, and one that let in a run. Not sure what that means for EdE. Some are speculating that he is on the trading block, but I find that difficult to believe. He does find himself in Narron's doghouse easily, and the big talk is how Narron holds him to a different standard of hustle than anybody else. If Krivsky is a big EdE fan and Narron does something else that displeases him, Narron could be watching his back pretty soon. Phillips & Gonzo turned a nice double play after Freel's error.

Mock Draft

Murphy goes for 6, comes up with JaMarcus again:

The Raiders will hear plenty of trade proposals in the next 10 days, but they are putting on a strong game face by letting observers believe they are committed to Russell. Any potential deal likely would not occur until teams are on the clock.
You can bet that the closer we get to Draft Day, that the rumors of a trade for the top pick will pick up steam and then go through the roof. Anybody excited to hear, "The Oakland Raiders are on the clock?" I know I am.

April 18, 2007

Reds with/without Hamilton

It's early, but here's a key stat:

The Reds are 4-1 when Hamilton starts and 4-5 when he doesn't.
Chew on that for a bit.

Mock Draft

#8 from Pat Kirwan sticks with Russell:

The Raiders have lots of needs, but as long as quarterback is one of them, they have to respond by selecting the guy with the great deep ball, JaMarcus Russell. As I said previously, the Raiders are pushing forward to trade for Josh McCown. The compensation the Lions rejected was a fifth-round pick, but it appears they could move up a pick in the first round to close the deal. The Lions aren't going to give McCown away, but a quarterback that has one year left on his deal and didn't play a down last year can't be worth more than a fourth-round pick. I'm sure the Raiders would love to have McCown in a Raiders uniform to start the season until Russell is ready. The biggest point about the Raiders' intentions to use the mobile McCown until Russell is ready and then make the switch is that Oakland is not looking to renegotiate McCown's $2 million salary to make the trade happen.

Warriors 111, Mavericks 82

What did you expect? No Nowitzki, Howard, Stackhouse (or Dampier). Avery was resigned to lose this game, which is sad in a way. I am not so sure it's wise to take the Golden State Warriors lightly. They swept the regular season series, although this game doesn't really count. But this is the team that can give the Mavs problems. I wouldn't much want to see the Lakers in the #8 seed either, but the Warriors are scary and have lights-out shooters that when they get hot are hard to stop. The Warriors could be the #8, that's the most likely case. The Lakers could fall to #8 and the Clippers could rise to #8. We'll know soon enough.

Hard to draw much from this game, though. When the leading floor players are Buckner, George, Ager, and Barea, you know that's not the usual Mavs out there. Moe Ager actually didn't perform all that poorly and ended up with a team-high 20 points, along with 6 rebounds. He made all of his free throws, too. Harris & Barea got 13 points apiece, and little Barea got 10 rebounds somehow. Must have come right to him. Devean George had 12 points.

For the Warriors, just like the Mavs, only one guy scored 20 or more. That guy was Mickael Pietrus of all people, with 22 points. Superstars Richardson & Davis had only 14 and 12, respectively. Barnes got 19. Weird game.

What did it was the poor shooting. The Warriors were consistently better on overall shooting, 3's, and free throws. They also killed on assists and had far fewere turnovers. Nothing to get excited about here.

Reds 11, Brewers 5


Belisle started and wasn't terribly effective, starting and getting the first out in the 6th before sitting down. He left with 8 hits, 2 walks, 1 wild pitch, and 2 K's for 5 earned runs and the Brewers lead. He would not end up with the loss on the day, however. The day after the bullpen was the goat, the bullpen was the saving grace. That's how it goes sometimes in baseball, but this was good to watch. Excluding Rheal Cormier, who hit the only batter he faced, the bullpen was quite solid. Saarloos came in and got two groundball outs, one of which scored a runner, but that was attributed to Belisle. Not much Kirk could have done in that situation. It was lights out from there. Stanton pitched the 7th and 8th and was simply the man. Only one man was allowed on base and that was due to error. Stanton had 3 K's. And a good turnaround from Todd Coffey as well, pitching a clean 9th with a strikeout mixed in for effect.

Well, it's about dang time. This is what it was supposed to be, let's put it that way. The big story was Freel signing a new 2-year deal with the Reds and how the focus of his press conference wasn't himself but Hamilton as Freel keeps gushing over how incredible Hamilton is and says that he, Freel, needs to play less. So Narron wants to play them both, doesn't want to play EdE, so he moves Freel over to third base for the first time in a while and Hamilton goes to center field. Aside from Freel's error at third, the move works out masterfully as they batted in the top two spots in the order. Freel & Hamilton led off the first inning with singles and scored, and led off the 7th inning with singles and scored. Well done from those lads. Freel ended up being 4/5 with 3 runs scored and his first RBI of the year, clearly one of his best games in a long time. Hamilton followed him with a 2/4 evening, 2 runs scored. Dunn was 1/5, getting an RBI on a fielder's choice and scoring on Griffey's double. Griffey had another double, making him go 2/5 on the day with 2 RBI's. Phillips was also 2/5 with 3 RBI's, one of the hits was a sweet triple, the first of the year for the Redlegs. Gonzo, who everybody counted out because he would be too emotional, was smart enough to go 1/2 along with drawing 2 walks, including an RBI walk. Valentin was 2/4 with a bases-clearing single in the 7th. 15 hits on the day. Great stuff to watch.

Fielding & such:
Mentioned in the first two sections is the error on Freel on a routine groundball. It's bound to happen, especially since the guy is new. He made some stops out there as well. Adam Dunn, newschool baserunning phenom, stole his 4th of the year in the 5th inning.

April 17, 2007

Brewers 10, Reds 6

Guaranteed Loss Night. Therefore, a loss was to be had.


Pitching: Eric Milton was the starter, therefore nobody showed up to watch the Reds lose. And although, yes, he was the losing pitcher, that honor should have gone to Todd Coffey, who blew chunks. Milton would have gotten out of the first inning were it not for Griffey's error. Milton did give up a homer as he is prone to do, but it was a solo job. Then he settled down, gave up a double in the 6th and was pulled. That was enough for the loss. 5 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks and 4 K's for 2 earned runs and the loss. Not that bad, all things considered. Todd Coffey, as mentioned, was the goat today. Was he on crack? It's possible. After Santos was relatively inefficient in the 6th, Coffey got into the 7th inning, hit two batters, and gave up a single to load the bases. Narron played it smartly (not really) by leaving him in there to give up the grand slam to Bill Hall. Coffey then got an out (yay!) and gave up a single to Mench. That was it for him. Coutlangus was in for Coffey, picking up the rest of the 7th, giving up a a run. It was unearned though, on EdE's error. He got out of the 8th, but wasn't all that great. His line looks better than what he pitched: 1.2/3 innings, 1 hit, 2 K's, 0 earned runs. He also hit a guy. Saarloos has lost his edge, as the 9th wasn't great. 2 doubles and a walk for an earned run. Nothing to get excited about today, the bullpen was not ready to play. I almost feel bad for Milton.

Hitting: Freel led off and was 1/5. Phillips was 2/5, Dunn was 3/5 with a double. David Ross got a hit. Reds were making Capuano look like an ace until the 6th inning, when things got interesting. An error and a couple singles and the Reds were in business with no outs. Conine got royally SCREWED as he hit an infield pop fly that went past the 2nd baseman's glove. The umpire somehow called the infield fly rule, even though Freel scored. Narron was rightfully upset on that call. EdE got a 2-RBI single, his only hit of the day but a big one. Score was 4-3 Brewers until Coffey's fateful inning. Griffey hit a nice RBI double. The real story was Josh Hamilton, as it always is. Bottom of the 9th, for those lucky handful of fans that stuck around, saw Hamilton rip a pinch-hit 2-run homer.

Fielding & such: 3 errors, 2 big ones. Griffey misplayed a ball in right field in the first inning, which set the tone for the game. An unearned run for Milton, but a run for all the rest of us. An error on EdE would have saved another run in the 7th inning. The new guy, in for Gonzo, E Cruz had an error in the 9th that could have turned disastrous, but didn't. A double play was turned in the 9th inning, which if not turned, would have turned out far worse for the Reds. Saarloos to Phillips to Hatteberg. Sloppy game overall.

April 16, 2007

Lightning 3, Devils 2

The Devils cannot afford to hand the Lightning 3 goals every game.

Have you ever felt so little faith in a goaltender who broke the single-season winning record?
Have you ever felt so little faith in a #2 seed?

Do you remember the Devils teams of old, especially come playoff time? Could you perchance round those Devils up and get them in uniform, preferably before the next game? Thank you, sir/ma'am.

Freel signs 2-year deal with Reds

That's my guy.

Reds 1, Cubs 0

What a (weird) game.


Hats off to Kyle Lohse. What a beast. I knew he was capable of doing something like this, but had all but abandoned hope in the guy. Not for being average or decent, I thought he could do that. But I about gave up on him being a master, and he was simply masterful today. Even when he got into some jams, he got out of it. He actually pitched better when men were on base. The 6th inning was the best, with runners on the corners with 0 outs. Lohse fooled Jacque Jones all around the zone and got him hacking. Derrek Lee didn't even swing the bat, looking at 3 beautiful strikes, and then Barrett flied out to end the threat. All in all, he went 8 innings of shutout baseball, walking 1, giving up 4 hits, and striking out TWELVE batters. Whoo baby! This is the Kyle Lohse I enjoyed watching with the Twins back in 2003. When I was watching, I was getting nervous because the Cincy bats were not swinging well and I was going to be very annoyed if the Cubs pushed across a couple runs and Lohse would get the loss. He deserved the win and thankfully got it. Stanton got a groundball, and Weathers got the save, walking 1 and almost allowing Barrett to rip a double, but thankfully it hooked foul. Weathers likes to be reckless with his chances. It would be nice to see a 1-2-3.

What can you say? Same problems every time. I was nervous to see Ted Lilly on the mound, because he has a good chance of being the 2007 Reds Killer. He is certainly the leading candidate thus far. He pitched a pretty dang good game himself, going 6 innings, allowing 2 hits and a walk for a run scored, and K'ing 10. Freel had a bad leadoff day, going 0/4. Phillips walk and stolen base were enough as Jeff Conine got the only RBI today. Hamilton was 0/4, tear tear. Griffey got the other hit. Just two hits. Thankfully it was enough, but it was sad to see. Lilly is good, no doubt. But Cincinnati looks all out of shape up there, they just look flat-out bad, and I am particularly sad about Brandon Phillips as of late, though he did manage that walk that was huge. He just doesn't look good up there, but neither do most people this year. Plate discipline is lacking in the worst way.

Fielding & such:
Jackie Robinson Day, which Griffey started and wore #42. It turned into this whole thing where entire teams were wearing the number or only the black players were wearing it. It was supposed to be cool, and I guess it was. I think Griffey's idea was better, though. No errors on the day, which is a bonus. Already mentioned Phillips' stolen base, which was pivotal today. Jeff Conine got his own stolen base, which is beyond ridiculous. Who is this guy? This guy who I hated on for so long is being incredible and thankfully he is because nobody on this team is right now. Good for him.

Mavericks 91, Spurs 86

Oh, it's always great to beat the Spurs.

This game appeared to be surprisingingly meaningful, as Dallas saw fit to play their superstars as if it were a real game. Not quite sure the logic in that, but it worked as they pulled out the victory. Although the win wasn't quite as meaningful as it could have been since Tim Duncan was out for the entire fourth quarter because he got ejected. That was the story of the day for sure, and rightfully so. I have never liked Tim Duncan. Maybe he's a cool guy, I think he plays basketball pretty well, but he's one of my least favorite guys. He is a constant complainer and everyone calls him otherwise, and so does he. Does it seem like he truly deserved to get quicked out? Not really, but I still choose to enjoy it because it's funny to me. Here's the money quote from official Joey Crawford, who kicked him out:

He's complaining. He was constantly complaining. He was complaining when he was on the court. Then he got on the bench and kept doing the same stuff. So I just ejected him.
Great stuff right there. The only downside is that it's hard to figure out if the Mavericks would have won the game had he stayed in. Chances would have been pretty tough, since they were already down late and went on a 9-0 run to win the game. Odds are likely the Spurs win and the teams finish with yet another split in the series, 2-2. As it stands in the real standings, the Mavericks won the season series 3-1.

Nowitzki & Devin Harris led the way with 21 points. Josh Howard had a poor shooting night and ended up with 15 points. Stackhouse added 14 off the bench.

Shooting was fairly even, 3-point shooting was very low, and the Mavs had the edge in free throws. Spurs barely had the rebounding edge. Not much there of substance, just the big Tim Duncan story. Maybe he didn't deserve it, but it was a long time coming.

April 14, 2007

Lightning 3, Devils 2

First Period: Filip Kuba, Lightning (shorthanded) (Perrin, Richards)
Zach Parise, DEVILS (PPG) (Rafalski, Langenbrunner)

Second Period: Jamie Langenbrunner, DEVILS (PPG) (Gionta, Elias)
Martin St. Louis, Lightning (Richards, Ward)

Third Period: Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning (Ranger, Prospal)

Shots on Goal: 36-20 DEVILS

Penalties: Devils - 6 minutes, Lightning - 10 minutes


Not a bad pace to start things off. Seems both teams are playing smart and within themselves. Rasmussen takes the early penalty for the Devils tonight, but luckily nothing got going for Tampa Bay. Brodeur got some good saves, but the Lightning don't look like they are shooting much, at least not yet. No more penalties, though. Devils have had some chances but they are playing pretty conservatively right now. Elias draws the first penalty for the Lightning, gotta go for the first goal of the game here. I smell it. Oh wow. I smell it alright, there was indeed a goal. For Tampa Bay. What a joke. This is no fun for anyone, no fun at all. The Devils were known during the year as giving up shorthanded goals, especially to Tampa Bay & Atlanta. Well, they got one here. They couldn't score on their own power play, but they scored on the Devils' power play. Frickin' junk, man. Time to stop playing conservatively. Yes, time to abandon it already. They have shot only 3 times compared to Tampa Bay's 7 already. And that gap is only going to get bigger as the Devils are going to the penalty box again. HELLO!!!!!! Wake up, people. The Devils kill another one, no damage done. Some discipline would be nice. Along with shots. Many shots. Throw the puck at the net and see what happens. It will probably work. They aren't playing very well thus far. Another power play for the Devils and nothing happens. Power play is weak thus far. Another power play for the Devils, and they almost give up another shorthanded goal. Yikes, man. And they get it done!!! Who else but Zach Parise?? The kid is A BEAST!!! That was a big one. Very nice goal right there, especially being only the 6th shot on goal. Holmqvist maybe a little shaken up mentally, that's the hope anyway. The power play wasn't particuarly amazing, but Parise was setting up shop when the rebound went right to him and he just banged it in. That always helps. Always good to get that first goal, and important to get the equalizer before the end of the period. Who is this Zach Parise kid? He's dang good is who. Wow, thankfully the Devils got out of that period as Tampa Bay applies the pressure late amidst Devils turnovers and lack of defensive pressure. Sound familiar? Look at the Game 1 recap. Dang man, I thought we were going to try and WORK on these problems. Ah, maybe not. Oh well. Tampa Bay was for sure the better team, but the scoreboard says we're even. I'll take it.


Devils look a little shaky at the beginning of this period, but nothing too severe. They look like they just need to settle down. But honestly, that should be easy for this team. Why do they look like they haven't done this before? They are having trouble clearing pucks away from the zone, a problem from the first period that is continuing so far into this one. The only thing to really get excited about is the play of Zach Parise right now, as he continues to fly around the ice and do fun things. I think the Devils have had either 3 or 4 offsides penalties in a row. At least they are trying to set things up in Tampa Bay's zone, but these offsides calls are really killing them. They need to get shots on goal and still can't quite figure out how to do that. Maybe soon. Parise registers the first shot in the second period, naturally. Zajac gets his turn and blasts one straight on at Holmqvist for the easy save. Not a bad shot, though. Heck, it was a SHOT. More of those, please. Madden and Pandolfo get in on the action and the Devils appear to have woken up a little bit, thank goodness. Tampa Bay presses and gets some shots of their own, but Broduer sees them all cleany. Brylin gets a miniature breakaway but can't get one past Holmqvist. Next time, buddy. Devils are looking much better this time around, moving the puck around quite well and taking some good shots, the shots are just not falling in the right place. They are doing well keeping things in Tampa Bay's zone, which has been hard to come by in this series. The forecheck has marginally improved, but even a marginal improvement is a big one, if that makes any sense. Holmqvist does look quite a bit different tonight, he's got the edge. Which is annoying, but you gotta figure he's going to bring it this time around. Oh, the Devils had a couple of amazing chances, but Holmqvist denied Parise and then Gionta. Dang. The Devils have really picked it up and they are taking it to the Lightning right now. Just nothing worked out for them. They better not get discouraged, because if they keep doing that, things will fall into place. Weird, no penalties called in this period so far. I don't really mind that too much as it clearly favors the Devils. I guess it makes sense that Tampa Bay was the better team the first period, the Devils are the better team right now, and it's tied. It makes sense. I just think the Devils easily could be up 2-1, but Holmqvist for his part has been handling things pretty well. Shots are 11-2 in favor the Devils, that's just ridiculous. Great stuff, but nothing going on. First penalty called, it's on Tampa Bay. Which could be good or bad, considering goals for both teams were scored on Devils power plays. Devils look decent, but not much going on. Ooh, a PRIME opportunity now as Elias gets taken down. 5-on-3 for a little bit. No excuses now. No excuses at all, as Jamie Langenbrunner puts it home!!!! The Devils are one of the better 5-on-3 teams, but 5-on-3's are nice for everybody. Good movement, good spacing, good puckwork and finally found the wide-open Langebrunner in front of the net. Holmqvist had some nice saves before then, but he missed Jamie L. Very nice work right there. The Devils are doing what everybody wants them to do and that is throwing the puck at the net. 17-2 shots on goal right now, crazy stuff. Not just throwing pucks either, they are being smart about it. Big save Brodeur on LeCav, I almost forgot about Brodeur as Tampa Bay has simply not been shooting the puck this period. You have to be kidding me. Tie game. St. Louis of course. With a rifle. Brodeur might have had a chance, but dang. That's a tough one. New Jersey DOMINATED the period and they get nothing out of it, it's a tie game once more. Late goals have hurt the Devils many times this year and this one really hurts as they should have gotten out of the period with a lead. They better not get too disheartened about it, another period like this one and they win it. It's just a tough thing. Gotta shrug it off. Regroup.


Early goal by LeCav. Is he truly that unstoppable? Fairly even, but sloppy play. Sloppy being the Devils for the most part. What can they do? If they can't play good defense, they have no chance just because the Lightning are one of the best offensive teams in the NHL. They can turn it on at a moment's notice. All of this stuff was said last game, so I hate repeating myself but the same symptoms are showing themselves here. I thought Lou was all about discipline and awesome things, but I am not seeing many awesome things except the many shots in the second period. Devils still own on shots on goal and will no doubt end the game on top. Sadly, that makes Holmqvist the more effective goaltender with a far better save percentage. Brodeur may have had better individual saves, but he has been the 2nd-best goalie tonight. Which is pretty dang sad when you think about it. Credit Holmqvist for most of that, though. Devils are trying, but they are not playing with the sense of urgency they will need. I would imagine that to change as time is flying by and the minutes are winding down. Brodeur has shut down the few Tampa Bay chances, it's up to the offense to get it going now. Not much time left. Gomez with a chance but another offsides. Is anyone keeping a tally on how many times? Absurd. Devils with some good chances late, but not enough. Penalty on the Devils as they turn it over for about the 25th time and that just about seals the deal. No chance now. Brodeur is off and it's 5-on-5 again. Very risky move, but LeCav takes down Gionta and now it's 5-on-4 for 18 seconds. It could happen. Very slim chance, but it's worth hanging around for. Gionta with a nice chance, but it's not enough. We're headed to Florida with the series tied. If the Lightning continue scoring 3 goals every game, the Devils are done for.