Friday, October 22, 2010

NBA is almost here

The NBA regular season is right around the corner and I cannot wait! I have said on here a number of times that the NBA is back. There are so many story lines to follow this season and so much pairity in the NBA I think this is going to be a fun year. With no team in Cincinnati I have the luxury of being a casual NBA fan. I can't say that I have any one team that I call my favorite. Here are a few that I will be following this season:

-Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are about as close as a home team that we have in Cincinnati. They have one of the best players in the league that no one knows about in Danny Granger. Granger has that game chaning ability and is just as electic as the top stars in the league. The problem is there is not much around him.

- Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant is my favorite NBA player to watch. Everything he does is incredibly smooth. He is humble, a team player, and very very good. The Thunder have a good cast of charachters that no one has ever heard of Westbrook, Sefolosha, and Krstic are all good role players on the team. I would expect the Thunder to hang around all season and have a better showing in the NBA playoffs.

- Miami Heat
Who isn't excited about watching the Miami Heat! With the much publicized addition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, the Wade, Bosh, James combo is without a doubt the most talented group in the NBA. We have never seen a team assembled in my lifetime with such dominating players. The problem in Miami anything less than a Championship would be considered a failure. That is a lot of pressure to get through a pretty balanced league.

- Boston Celtics I typically hate all things Boston but for some reason I have always been a little bit of a Celtics fan. Since they added thier big three (Allen, Garnett, and Pierce) I have followed their team very closely. They have made some interesting off-season additions in Jermaine O'Neil and Shaquille O'Neal if they can get some good split time from the two and take some pressure off of Kendrick Perkins this team could really get back to the NBA Finals.

-Los Angeles Clippers I can remember watching the Clippers about 4 or 5 years ago (I didn't look it up) when they made the playoffs for the first time in a long time. They were scrappy, dynamic, and played really hard. I fell in love with the Clippers then. Although most if not all of those players are gone they are still an interesting team. The get Blake Griffin this season who missed all of last year with injury, they have Eric Gordon who is coming into his own and Baron Davis who stil has some gas in the tank. I think the Clippers will make the playoffs this year and I am looking forward to watching.

In addition to following these teams I am looking forward to watching John Wall (Wizards) DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) and Patrick Patterson (Houston Rockets).

Back at it....

I think I have finally come out of my depression regarding the Reds. The emotional swing of just one week was pretty intense! I have to confess I didn't even watch the game on Sunday night. I was following via cell phone while on a business trip in San Francisco but after games 1 and 2 I knew a series loss was inevitable. As much as we wanted to rip on Colin Cowherd the numbers just didn't lie about this team. They were a good team who made a living beating up on bad teams. The Reds finished with losing records against teams in the upper echelon of the league. But I think the future is bright in Cincinnati. The nucleus of this team should be back next year with the addition of some good young talent.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Northern Kentucky University 2010-11 Men’s Basketball Preview

After a disappointing 17-13 season (8-10 in conference play), the NKU Norse men's basketball team looks to return to the top of the GLVC with a entirely re-shaped roster of D-1 transfers and several key returning players.

Although the Norse will be without David Palmer and Scott Bibbins (graduation), Dustin Maguire (medical setback - quit team) and Dennis Gagai (torn mcl - out majority of the season), the team has much to look forward to with four transfers, three from D-1 programs, including:

Josh Tabb (6-4, Sr.) - Tabb comes from the University of Tennessee. He started 11 games last years for the Volunteers and saw action in 33 games where he primarily served as the sixth man. He averaged just over three points and nearly two assists per contest. Volunteer coach, Bruce Pearl, suspended Tabb last year and gave no reason for Tabb’s suspension, other than saying he “hadn’t taken care of his business like we expect him to.’’ It was reported that Tabb withdrew from Tennessee to be with his ailing mother.

Malcolm Eleby (6-3, Sr.) - Eleby comes to the Norse from the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure, an A-10 powerhouse…Eleby started 57 games in three season for the Bonnies racking up nearly 6 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds per contest.

James Cotton (6-8, So.) - Cotton is a transfer from Maryland-Eastern Shore. He played in 19 games last season as a freshman, starting three times. He averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds per game last year.

Bobby Shannon (6-5, Jr.) - Shannon is a JUCO transfer who led the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference in scoring with an average of 23 points per game for Southern Maryland. In high school, Shannon led all Washington, D.C. area players in scoring during his senior year at Potomac High School. He averaged 27 points and led his team to a share of the Prince George's 3A/2A league title and the Maryland 2A South Region postseason championship. He originally signed with Marshall out of high school and was recruited by some big schools, including: Arkansas, Georgetown, Maryland, Villanova, Memphis, UTEP, George Washington and Iowa State.

The Norse also return:

Chris Knight, a 6-7 senior who averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds per game last season.
Corey Sorrell, a 6-5 sophomore who averaged 8 points and 3 rebounds per game.
Ethan Faulkner, a 6-1 sophomore who averaged 4 points and 3 assists last season.
Tony Rack, a 6-0 junior who averaged 4 points and shot 52% from 3-point range last year.

Although the team may be small, I feel they could put together a good showing in the GLVC this year. Team chemistry could be a problem early on as it may take some time for players to get used to all the new transfers and the changing in the offensive scheme due to the graduation of Palmer (averaged 17 points per game last season as the teams go-to guy in the post).

It's always tough to project a roster with so many new players, however, this is how I think things will pan out:

Starting Lineup
F - Chris Knight
F - Bobby Shannon
G/F - Corey Sorrell
G - Josh Tabb
G - Malcolm Eleby

Key Reserves
F - James Cotton
G - Ethan Faulkner
G - Tony Rack
F - Eric Stenger

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's only one game

So, it turns out that it really doesn't matter who pitched for us in game one last night. No one, not Arroyo, Wood, Cueto or Bob Gibson was going to beat Roy Halladay last night. It was just an amazing playoff performance and something that we may never see again. Halladay threw 29 balls all night long. He got up to three balls in the count just three times. He walked Jay Bruce on a close called ball 4, the only at bat that kept Halladay from perfection. The Reds obviously helped Halladay along the way. I was screaming at Brandon Phillips for swinging at the first pitch in the ball game...but it felt like they never did that again. Mike and Mike were talking about it this morning. Halladay threw first pitch strikes to 25 of the 28 batters he faced, 16 of those strikes were looking. The last three batters in the 9th inning, Hernandez, Cairo and Phillips all looked at first pitch strikes last night. Before the game, Dusty sat with Marty Brennaman and was adamant that the Reds had to be agressive and get after Halladay early. It was important that the Reds not fall behind. Well, that didn't work out last night.

Luckily we do live to play another day. The Reds will face former Reds killer Roy Oswalt on Friday night. We all know the history of Roy Oswalt against the Reds but this year has been a different story. In two starts this year Oswalt is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA giving up 17 hits and 9 runs in 12 innings. Of course, both of those starts were in an Astros uniform. Oswalt has been a different pitcher since the trade to the Phillies. In a Phillies uniform Oswalt is 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA. Dare I say, nearly unhittable, because he's only given up 53 hits in 82 2/3 innings pitched. I'm sure the Philly fans, and maybe the Phillies themselves are expecting no competition from the Reds on Friday night. I can only hope the Reds can prove them wrong!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NLDS Game 1 Lineups

The lineups are out, thanks to Lance McCallister's Twitter page!

Cincinnati Reds

2B-Brandon Phillips
SS-Orlando Cabrera
1B-Joey Votto
3B-Scott Rolen
LF-Jonny Gomes
RF-Jay Bruce
CF-Drew Stubbs
C-Ramon Hernandez
P-Edinson Volquez

Philadelphia Phillies

SS-Jimmy Rollins
CF-Shane Victorino
2B-Chase Utley
1B-Ryan Howard
RF-Jayson Werth
LF-Raul Ibanez
C-Carlos Ruiz
3B-Wilson Valdez
P-Roy Halladay

Reds Playoff Roster Set

There are two veteran players who did not make the Reds postseason roster, Aaron Harang and Jim Edmonds. I think everyone knew that Harang would not make the cut, which is really a shame because he has been such a pillar for this Reds rotation the last 5 years. But his stuff is just not there and there are younger arms who have surpassed him. Edmonds was the wild card, he has been dealing with injury all season and his strained oblique made him too risky to add him to the lineup.

RHP- Edinson Volquez
RHP- Bronson Arroyo
RHP- Johnny Cueto
RHP- Francisco Cordero
LHP- Arthur Rhodes
RHP- Nick Masset
LHP- Aroldis Chapman
RHP- Logan Ondrusek
LHP- Bill Bray
RHP- Homer Bailey
LHP- Travis Wood

Position Players
1B- Joey Votto
2B- Brandon Phillips
SS- Orlando Cabrera
3B- Scott Rolen
RF- Jay Bruce
CF- Drew Stubbs
LF- Jonny Gomes
C- Ramon Hernandez
C- Ryan Hanigan
OF- Chris Heisey
OF- Laynce Nix
IF- Miguel Cairo
IF- Paul Janish
IF- Jaun Francisco

Not on the Roster
C- Corky Miller
MI- Chris Valaika
UT- Jim Edmonds
1B- Yonder Alonso
UT- Willie Bloomquist
P- Mike Leake
P- Aaron Harang
P- Micah Owings
P- Sam LeCure
P- Jared Burton
P- Carlos Fisher
P- Matt Maloney
P- Jordan Smith

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Checking up on our Predictions

Only three NKYSportsWorlders put their MLB Predictions up this season. And the picks weren't that far off. All three had Philly winning the East, not a real shocker. Only one person picked the Reds to win the Central (this guy) and Redleg2420 had them winning the Wild Card. No one picked the Rays to make the playoffs, and surprisingly no one took the Rangers!

Redleg2420- 5 correct picks
SHU- 4 correct picks
Adam- 4 however DQ'd because I picked two Wild Cards! What an idiot!

Reds Playoff Schedule

Wednesday, 5:07 p.m. in Philadelphia (TBS)

Friday, 6:07 p.m. in Philadelphia (TBS)

Sunday, 7:07 p.m. (TNT) or 8:07 p.m. (TBS) in Cincinnati . Reds play at 8:07 if Yankees-Twins series ends in three games.

Monday, 5:07 p.m. if necessary (TBS) in Cincinnati. Moves to 7:37 if Giants-Braves series ends in three games.

Wednesday, 6:07 p.m. if necessary, TBS in Philadelphia. Moves to 8:07 if Giants-Braves series ends in four games.

Looking at the Lineups

One of the great things about Major League Baseball are the statistics. I have always been a statistics nerd and like to look at the numbers. The numbers never lie. Here is a position by position comparison of the starters for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds.


CIN- Ramon Hernandez .297 /7 HR/ 48 RBI/.792 OPS
PHI- Carlos Ruiz .302 /8 HR/ 53 RBI/.847 OPS

First Base

CIN- Joey Votto .324/ 37 HR/ 113 RBI/ 1.024 OPS
PHI- Ryan Howard .276/ 31 HR/ 108 RBI/ .859 OPS

Second Base

CIN- Brandon Phillips .275/ 18 HR/ 59 RBI/ .762 OPS
PHI- Chase Utley .275/ 16 HR/ 65 RBI/ .832 OPS


CIN- Orlando Cabrera .263/ 4 HR/ 42 RBI/ .657 OPS
PHI- Jimmy Rollins .243/ 8 HR/ 41 RBI/ .694 OPS

Third Base

CIN- Scott Rolen .285/ 20 HR/ 83 RBI/ .854 OPS
PHI- Placido Polanco .298/ 6 HR/ 52 RBI/ .726 OPS

Right Field

CIN- Jay Bruce .281/ 25 HR/ 70 RBI/ .846 OPS
PHI- Jayson Werth .296/ 27 HR/ 85 RBI/ .921 OPS

Center Field

CIN- Drew Stubbs .255/ 22 HR/ 77 RBI/ .773 OPS
PHI- Shane Victorino .259/ 18 HR/ 69 RBI/ .756 OPS

Left Field

CIN- Jonny Gomes .266/ 18 HR/ 86 RBI/ .758 OPS
PHI- Raul Ibanez .275/ 16 HR/ 83 RBI/ .793 OPS

There were a lot of things that jumped out at me in looking at the numbers. Comparing the two teams they are pretty close to each other by way of offensive production. The one that really shocked me was the comparison of Drew Stubbs and Shane Victorino. Before actually looking at the numbers I had considered this a weakness for the Reds and advantage for Philadelphia but the numbers did not support that. Stubbs has been just as productive as Shane Victorino this season.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Joey Votto should be National League MVP

Toward the end of the Major League Baseball season there were three players in the National League in the hunt for Most Valuable Player. Joey Votto of the Reds, Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. The only player to lead his team to the post season was Joey Votto. Here are the statistics:

(*) denotes NL rank
Joey Votto
AVG: .324 (2)
HR: 37 (3)
RBI: 113 (3)

Carlos Gonzalez
AVG: .336 (1)
HR: 34 (4)
RBI: 117 (2)

Albert Pujols
AVG: .312 (5)
HR: 42 (1)
RBI: 118 (1)

Looking at the numbers they are all pretty much on top of each other. I think most would say that Pujols is out of the race and it is down between Gonzalez and Votto. I think the fact that Votto has led the Reds to the MLB, has the best OPS in baseball, and had balanced statistics at home and on the road will give him the nod. Check out the splits for Gonzalez and Votto at home and on the road.

Carlos Gonzalez
Home: 114 Hits, 26 HR, 76 RBI, .380 AVG, 1.161 OPS
Away: 83 Hits, 8 HR, 41 RBI, .289 AVG, .775 OPS

Joey Votto
Home: 79 Hits, 18 HR, 56 RBI, .297 AVG, .951 OPS
Away: 98 Hits, 19 HR, 57 RBI, .349 AVG, 1.093 OPS

I find it interesting that Votto actually hit a little better on the road. But overall has a extremely balanced production. I have heard arguments that Gonzalez' numbers are inflated because of playing in Colorado, the numbers would support that. Apologists or people pulling for Gonzalez would say that Great American Ballpark is also a hitters park which would inflate Votto's numbers, but the statistics do not support that. Votto is the more balanced player and should be MVP.

If Votto did win the National League MVP he would be the 12th Cincinnati Red and the first in 15 years to win the prestigious award. His predecessors are the following:

1938- Ernie Lombardi
1939- Bucky Walters
1940- Frank McCormick
1961- Frank Robinson
1970- Johnny Bench
1972- Johnny Bench
1973- Pete Rose
1975- Joe Morgan
1976- Joe Morgan
1977- George Foster
1995- Barry Larkin

Can the Reds do it?

The Cincinnati Reds definitely have an uphill battle in the 2010 Postseason. Their reward for their 1st appearance in 15 years is a date with the Philadelphia Phillies, a team with the best record in baseball. The Phillies are a balanced team with a wicked pitching staff and a ton of professional hitters. And most of the guys on the Phillies have been there before when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

But look out for this Reds team. They have surprised people all season long, and they are young enough and maybe dumb enough to do it! When you back a man into a corner his instinct is to fight and I think this team might fight their way out of it. No one is giving them a shot and the most dangerous team in sports is typically the team with nothing to lose.

Reds Pitching Probables

We know the first game of the series is set.

Edinson Volquez (RHP) vs. Roy Halladay (RHP)

Volquez has an excellent career record against the Phillies going 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA and 16Ks in 12 innings pitched. Halladay is 1-1 against the Reds but has a blistering 33k's in 31 innings pitched.

Game two probables are:

Bronson Arroyo (RHP) vs. Roy Oswalt (RHP)

Arroyo is the only Reds starting pitcher with playoff experience pitching for Boston in the early part of the decade. Oswalt has traditionally been a Reds killer with 23 career wins against the Reds. But this season Oswalt has been 0-2 against Cincinnati with a 6.75 era in 12 innings pitched.

Game three in Cincinnati probables:

Johnny Cueto (RHP) vs. Cole Hamels (LHP)

Cueto has been better at home this season than on the road. And Dusty wants to go Power pitcher, spot pitcher, power pitcher against Philly. Hamels is 1-0 against the Reds with a 0.00 ERA this season. And in his career Hamels has never lost to the Reds going 6-0 in 7 games with a 1.07 ERA.

Bengals all over the Board

The Bengals lost to the Browns. That cannot happen. The Browns are terrible yet they always seem to find a way to play us tough. Football takes a different turn when you play in the Division. There is so much familiarity within the Division it is tough to win every game (which makes what last years team did even more impressive.) But this Cincinnati team should not lose to the Browns, plain and simple.

Thinking back on the game what do you attribute the loss to? Carson Palmer has been the whipping boy in losses (and wins) this season. But yesterday Palmer played pretty good throwing for 371 yards, two TD's and 0 INT's (although there was a botched handoff and a fumble from Palmer.) But here is an interesting statistic that I read on When Palmer throws for more than 300 yards the Bengals have lost 3 straight and seven of their last eight games. This team is built for the run and they need to utilize our backfield to be successful.

There were a few costly penalties yesterday that really hurt the Bengals as they tried to come back. The call on Chinedum Ndukwe on Ben Watson was a joke. Ndukwe did not lead with his helmet did not unnecessarily hit Watson, it was a standard play from a safety trying to knock the ball loose. It turned a 21 yard catch into a 36 yard gain. Another big penalty came on the offense, with the Bengals driving in the 4th on 3rd and 3 Ochocinco gets called for offensive pass interference which pushed us back out of Field Goal range.

I would have to say that overall the game was sloppy. There were some dumb plays, some bad plays, and just overall bad game for the Bengals. You cannot put yourself in that much of a hole against any team in the NFL. There are a lot of things not clicking right now for Cincinnati and they will need to figure that out very soon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seriously Cincinnati, just enjoy the Moment!

Just two days after our Cincinnati Reds locked up the National League Central Division Championship there were two stories crowding the airwaves in Cincinnati.

- First, you have a ton of people calling in to local radio shows complaining about Dusty Baker's post-clinch lineup. Dusty was resting his starters for the playoffs. It happens all over the NFL, NBA, and NHL. For one game Dusty Baker gave his studs a break and the backups some valuable time. Yet, people in this city want to begin the serious criticism of the decision and spend the day railing on Dusty rather than enjoying the position that we are in.

- Second, the 5 individuals who filed complaints with the Cincinnati Health Department for the Reds smoking Cigars indoors need to really get a life. As one blogger put it "they were not disturbing your meal at Olive Garden."

It has been 15 years since this team has been in the playoffs people. I recommend stopping and enjoying the moment. I think the years of losing has most "fans" wired to just bitch and moan. Relax people!