Continuing Coverage


Browns’ decision to start Osweiler perplexing to some, amusing to others

Published: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 @ 12:58 PM

Former Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, shown here in a Jan. 14 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., will start the Browns' first preseason game Thursday, against the Saints.
Getty Images
Former Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, shown here in a Jan. 14 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., will start the Browns' first preseason game Thursday, against the Saints.(Getty Images)

A few eyebrows were raised when Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said that quarterback Brock Osweiler will start Thursday’s preseason opener against the Saints, but veteran NFL observers are far from convinced that the former Bronco/Texan has pinned down the job for good.

The Browns seem excited about this, as they pushed out this promo (audio included):

Reaction to this on Twitter has not been especially kind.

Long-time USA Today NFL columnist Jarrett Bell is particularly skeptical since Jackson said of the QB competition in Berea, It’s not over.”

Bell writes:

No, it can’t be over when Jackson, during an interview with USA TODAY Sports, referred to Osweiler as “a good bridge for our team for right now, unless these guys go and catch him. That’s where we are.”

In other words, for the moment it’s Osweiler.

There’s plenty of twisted analysis surrounding the derby in Cleveland, where Osweiler, rookie DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are competing for the job.

For example, NFL.com writer Dan Hanzus suggested that Osweiler and the Browns are falling for each other.

Meanwhile, NFL.com colleague Chris Wesselling wrote that, “the primary takeaway from Monday's revelation is not that Osweiler is in the driver's seat. It's that early-August proclamations are too often rendered premature.”

Who do you think will be starting at quarterback for the Browns when they play the Bengals Oct. 1 in Cleveland and Nov. 26 in Paul Brown Stadium?

Dragons whitewash Whitecaps, next month’s playoff foe

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 12:47 AM


            Dragons second baseman Hector Vargas makes a play during Wednesday night’s 7-0 defeat of West Michigan at Fifth Third Field. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED
Dragons second baseman Hector Vargas makes a play during Wednesday night’s 7-0 defeat of West Michigan at Fifth Third Field. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED

The West Michigan Whitecaps (36-1, 81-37) are enjoying one of the best seasons of any pro baseball team in 2017, and they’ll be waiting for the Dragons in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs in September.

After clinching a wild card berth in the first half, the Dragons have stumbled through the second half (16-36, 57-65) with the league’s worst record.

But if manager Luis Bolivar can get the five shutout innings lefty starter Scott Moss delivered during a 7-0 win Wednesday at Fifth Third Field, Dayton may be tough to eliminate.

Moss struck out five, gave up three hits and surrendered two walks while improving to 12-6 and lowering his ERA to 3.48.

“He can mix his pitches well. He has a good fastball. He can locate it on both sides of the of the plate and a nice curveball, and he’s used changeups more lately, so he can keep all batters off balance,” Bolivar said.

Moss spent time on the DL in July for rest purposes, but the 6-foot-6 southpaw doesn’t know how the time off will affect his future, because this is his first full season of pro ball. He was drafted in 2016, and spent the rest of season playing rookie ball.

“[The time off] was a big help to me,” he said. Moss added that his time on the DL really may help in his next four to five starts.

While the second half has trended in the wrong direction, Dayton has proved it can hang with the Whitecaps. The Dragons have won two of the last three against the Detroit Tigers affiliate, and have taken the season series, 10-8.

“… Since the beginning of the season, we’ve been playing good against them and it’s carried over to the whole season,” Bolivar said.

Game changer: Moss got all the support he’d need in the first inning thanks to Taylor Trammell’s two-run homer.

It was Trammell’s 11th of the year and was set up by small-ball aggressiveness at the top of the order. Jose Siri led off with a bunt, easily beating the throw from pitcher Tom de Blok. Carlos Rivero moved Siri to second with a sacrifice.

But after striking out Tyler Sparks, It looked like de Blok might escape the inning unscathed, until Trammell tattooed his first-pitch offering.

Trammell’s home run was the first of three the Dragons would club.

Dragons tales: Siri rewrote some Midwest League’s history books with his record 39-game hitting streak. Now he may be looking to add his own chapter. If Siri can slug one more homer and steal three more bases, he’ll be the first Midwest League player since 1982 to hit 20 homers and swipe 40 bags.

On deck: Tony Santillan (6-7, 3.64 ERA) will start for the Dragons, while Anthony Castro (9-4, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Whitecaps in tonight’s series finale at 7:05.

WATCH: Homer Bailey fans 10 Cubs in loss

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

St. Louis Cardinals' Jose Martinez celebrates his grand slam off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Cincinnati.
AP Photo/Gary Landers
St. Louis Cardinals' Jose Martinez celebrates his grand slam off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Cincinnati.(AP Photo/Gary Landers)

The Reds’ rally fell just short in an 8-7 loss to the Cubs Tuesday.

Starter Homer Bailey gave up six runs, but at least showed something positive in setting down 10 Cubs for strikeouts.

The Reds will hope, as Bailey works to regain his old form, the runs allowed decline and the strikeouts become more consistent.

Bailey has an 8.44 ERA on the year.

Reds lose another one on a wild pitch

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 12:20 AM

The Cincinnati Reds scratched, clawed and gouged at the Chicago Cubs Wednesday night.

In the end, they lost it, unbelievably, on a walk-off wild pitch by Blake Wood in the bottom of the ninth inning, 7-6.

Wood had two outs with runners on third and second. But his first pitch to Kris Bryant, a slider low, wide and ugly bounced off lunging catcher Tucker Barnhart and Javier Baez scored standing up.

Amazingly, it was the second time on this trip the Reds lost on a walk-off wild pitch, a wild one thrown by Tim Adleman in Milwaukee.

WHAT WAS SO PAINFUL to the Reds was that they trailed by five runs with two outs and nobody on in the seventh inning.

Usually, when that’s the case for the Reds in Wrigley Field they can pack up the gear early and go back to the hotel for a midnight snack.

But the Reds scored three in the seventh and two in the eighth to tie the game, 6-6.

And it began when Phillip Ervin, just called up from Class AAA Louisville earlier in the day, ripped a two-out home run with two outs in the seventh, his first major league hit.

That made it 6-2 and Billy Hamilton followed the home run with an infield single and Zack Cozart crushed his 17 th home run to make it 6-4.

THEN IN THE EIGHTH Eduardo Suarez led with a double. Adam Duvall, pinch-hitting on this night, drove his first-ever home run in Wrigley to tie it, 6-6.

Wandy Peralta, who walked the first two batters he faced Tuesday night, gave up a double to Javier Baez to open the ninth. That brought up pinch-hitter Jon Jay. He faced Peralta Tuesday and tried to bunt, but Peralta walked him. The same thing happened Wednesday. Jay, pinch-hitting, was sent up to bunt but Peralta walked him.

Then came some controversy. Ben Zobrist tried to bunt and was hit by the pitch. But first base umpire Chris Conley said Zobrist tried to bunt the pitch and it was a strike.

Manager Joe Maddon was ejected arguing the call. But Zobrist then dribbled one up the third base line to advance the runners to third and second.

MANAGER BRYAN PRICE BROUGHT in Blake Wood and he struck out Albert Almora Jr. for the second out. But his first pitch to Bryant was wild and a game-ender.

It was a good-bad night for Reds starter Homer Bailey. The Reds gave him a 1-0 lead in the first, but it should have been much more because the Reds had the bases loaded with no outs.

One run scored on a sacrifice fly by Eugenio Suarez and Zack Cozart moved to third. Scooter Gennett flied to left and for some reason Cozart, still slowed by his quad problem, tagged and tried to score but Kyle Schwarber threw him out.

Then came the bottom of the first and Bailey gave up two singles and a walk to the first three Cubs. The walk was to Bryant and what appeared to be a perfect strike.

PERHAPS UNNERVED BY THE missed call, Bailey’s next pitch was right down the middle and Anthony Rizzo ripped it for a grand slam home run and a 4-1 lead.

The Reds had runners on third and second with no outs in the second and the bases loaded with two outs and didn’t score against John Lackey. With runners on third and second and no outs, Lackey fell behind Tucker Barnhart 3-and-0, but he popped up to second base.

Before that, Barnhart had 3-and-0 counts 28 times this year and walked all 28 times. This time he swung and popped it up.

AFTER THAT THEY HAD only one single over the next four innings against Lackey. Bailey gave up two more runs. Over 5 2/3 innings he gave up six runs, seven hits, five walks and struck out 10. After Rizzo’s grand slam, Bailey struck out five of the next six Cubs.

Joey Votto singled in the first inning, but it was the only time he reached bases and his streak of reaching base two or more times in a game was stopped at 20, one game shy of tying the major league record set by Ted Williams in 1948.

Votto flied to the wall in the third, lined one hard to the mound that Lackey snagged in the fifth and grounded out to first to end the seventh. And he was on deck when Zack Cozart flied to right to end the top of the ninth.

There were three day games Wednesday that ended with a 7-6 score and unfortunately for the Reds they participated in the fourth 7-6 game and they had the 6.

 

VIDEO: Phillip Ervin’s first career hit leaves the yard

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 7:50 AM

Dragons outfielder Phillip Ervin at bat against the South Bend Silver Hawks (Diamondbacks) at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Staff Writer
Dragons outfielder Phillip Ervin at bat against the South Bend Silver Hawks (Diamondbacks) at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Welcome to the bigs, Phillip Ervin.

Recalled Tuesday when Devin Mesaroco hit the disabled list, the Reds’ new outfielder collected his first career long ball in Wedneday’s 7-6 heartbreaker loss to the Cubs.


And it was also Ervin’s first career hit. He joins Boston’s Rafael Devers and Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies as rookies to homer for their first hit in recent weeks.