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Published: Monday, January 01, 2018 @ 7:51 AM
— The NFL playoff field has finally been determined. Over the next few weeks, 12 teams will vie for berths in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, which will be played Feb. 4.
The top seeds in the AFC and NFC are the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively. Both teams will receive a bye during the first week of the playoffs. The No. 2 seeds, Pittsburgh (AFC) and Minnesota (NFC) also receive a bye.
Rounding out the seeds in the AFC are No. 3 Jacksonville, followed by Kansas City, Tennessee and Buffalo. The Los Angeles Rams are the No. 3 seed in the NFC, followed by three teams from the NFC South -- New Orleans, Carolina and Atlanta.
Here is the playoff schedule for both leagues. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.
The Wild Card round begins Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, as Kansas City hosts Tennessee at 4:20 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN. The second game of the day pits Atlanta at Los Angeles in an 8:15 p.m. game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. That game will be televised by NBC.
On Sunday, Buffalo makes its first playoff appearance in 17 years as the Bills travel to Jacksonville for a 1:05 p.m. game that will be televised by CBS.
In the NFC that day, Carolina travels to New Orleans for a 4:40 p.m. game that will be aired on Fox.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:45 PM
DAYTON — Always athletic and tall for his age, Montrell Marshall was a natural at football and basketball while growing up in Pinehurst, North Carolina. That’s also prime stick-and-ball country; golf.
“I’m not a good golfer, but I pass by it all the time,” the Dragons first baseman sheepishly admitted.
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A solid 6-feet-5 and 215 pounds, Marshall gave up football at his mom’s insistence. “I didn’t play after middle school,” he recalled. “My mom, she was terrified of it.”
Basketball, too, is a distant memory.
Apparently headed to Auburn University to play baseball, the Reds took a chance and drafted Marshall out of high school. The rest is developing minor-league baseball history.
“It was a tough decision to make,” said Marshall, who was drafted by the Reds in the 12th round of 2014 and spent the last two seasons in rookie ball at Billings, Mont.
“I really liked Auburn. They showed me a lot of love. That’s a fun atmosphere and my best friend was going there the year after. It was a tough decision.”
Marshall is among a core group who graduated from Billings last season to low Class A Dayton in the Midwest League. On Thursday night, his run-scoring single was the difference in a 3-2 defeat of visiting South Bend at Fifth Third Field. That was noteworthy for all the right reasons.
• It was the Dragons’ eighth straight win. The last time that happened was in May of 2011 when Billy Hamilton was setting stolen base records for the Dragons.
• The win streak has all played out at home. That’s just two wins shy of matching the home win streak of 10.
• The Dragons (8-3) previously swept home series from Bowling Green and Lake County, and now have rung up South Bend, a Chicago Cubs affiliate.
• The Dragons did not commit an error in the three-game series. It’s the first time since August of 2016 that has happened.
Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary’s two-run single in the second inning evened it at 2-all. Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton (1-0) earned the win, going six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He also struck out four. Relievers Luis Alecis, Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel (third save) also pitched shutout innings.
“This is fun,” Marshall said. “I don’t think I’ve ever won eight in a row. It’s a fun team.”
Dragons tales: Wednesday was shake-up day for the Reds with the firing of manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins. Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said that wasn’t a hot topic among players.
“We don’t address anything with them,” he said. “They’re aware of what’s going on, but it doesn’t affect us much of what’s going on here. I don’t want them thinking about stuff. I want them concentrating on games and to get better.”
Reds special assistant Eric Davis, with the Dragons for practice and the game, declined to address Price’s firing.
• The Dragons took a roster hit Wednesday when closer Sarkis Ohanian was promoted to high Class A Daytona. Taking his place was former Dragon Dauri Moreta, who had been in extended spring training.
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Ohanian (1-0) had four appearances, collecting two saves and a 5.40 ERA. Moreta was at his best during the Dragons’ postseason last year. In his final 16 appearances he had a 1.85 ERA and earned a save in two playoff wins. He didn’t allow a run in four playoff games.
• The Dragons are at Fort Wayne for a three-game series beginning Friday, then at Lansing for a four-game series. Their next home game is Friday, April 27 to start a three-game series against Fort Wayne.
Dayton at Fort Wayne, 7 p.m.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:19 AM
— Turns out losing games actually does have consequences in Cincinnati.
That’s reassuring, I guess.
RELATED: What’s a manager worth, anyway?
The Cincinnati Reds firing Bryan Price might not make them better, but at least he will no longer be able to make them worse.
I wanted Price to work out as the team’s manager, and I don’t want to celebrate anyone losing their job.
He seems like a good man who knows baseball. I hope he lands on his feet, and I believe he will.
But he had to go.
Dusty Baker (Price’s predecessor) did some great things to help close the door on a decade-plus of losing, but he had taken the Reds as far as he could with his managerial style (good) and lineup-building foibles (bad).
Price, the architect of a great pitching staff under Baker, made as much sense as anyone to get the job four years ago.
He stumbled out of the gate with a flawed team, but he showed some progress as the manager even as the roster got worse and injuries multiplied.
Certainly making a change after last season would have been justified, but sticking with him wasn’t the worst idea, either, considering he had not really had much to work with and there was reason to think the Reds would be better this season.
With a 3-15 record, they are not, of course.
So far, this has looked like one of the worst Cincinnati teams ever, in fact, and Price blew multiple games last week with bizarre late-inning decisions.
The manager doesn’t swing the bat and he doesn’t make the pitches (or throw the ball over Joey Votto’s head), but he’s in there for some reason, right?
This team needs new direction.
They needed to do something to shake up the clubhouse before losing became a way of life for another summer on the riverfront.
After players’ managers like Baker and Price, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned butt kicker could do some good.
We shall see if Jim Riggleman is that man.
If not, well, we’ll see next year if it’s someone else.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:41 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:30 AM
— The Reds on Thursday fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins after the team got off to a disastrous 3-15 start to the season.
Here’s a sampling of reaction to the news on social media:
The #Reds have fired Bryan Price, which means that I can finally pop open the champagne that I have been sitting on since January when I was expecting to open it after the #Bengals announced their new head coach.— 34inXXIII (@34inXXIII) April 19, 2018
I was watching a lot of different baseball games yesterday afternoon and was surprised that Bryan Price was still the Reds manager. If any team in baseball needs a change in culture, it’s Cincinnati.— Drew Steele (@DrewMetal14) April 19, 2018
Firing Bryan Price doesn’t make the Reds roster suck any less— Zachariah (@Zvallee11) April 19, 2018
I tend to agree with the Reds that Bryan Price is a bad manager. That said, April 19 is a pretty insane time to be firing your manager and pitching coach, right?— Matt Janik (@MattJanik) April 19, 2018
You have a talent problem, not a management problem.
I'm trying to think of a reaction to the Bryan Price firing, but all I can come up with is that the Reds seem like a troubled franchise. So there. That's my take.— Jason Foster (@ByJasonFoster) April 19, 2018
On our Reds Facebook page, fans have already suggested Pete Rose, Chris Sabo, Barry Larkin and Dusty Baker as candidates to be the next Reds manager. Hopefully, the the Reds front office doesn't start their search by reading Facebook comments.— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) April 19, 2018
On the Reds: Not all rebuilding teams are going to succeed. Reds banking on young pitching, and at the moment their 5.42 ERA is worst in majors. If their pitching doesn’t develop, then what?— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 19, 2018
Difficult to sign free- agent pitching as a low-revenue team in a hitter-friendly park.
I’m not a Bryan Price fan by any means but this move doesn’t fix anything. It might fix a clubhouse in terms of a new voice but this roster is bad, bad, bad. Considering what went down, who would want this job. Front office has done nothing with this roster.— Dan Ryan (@DaMonkeyUC) April 19, 2018
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 7:59 PM
The Cincinnati Bengals will open the 2018 season at Indianapolis and end it at Pittsburgh.
The schedule, which the NFL announced tonight, has the Bengals playing three of their first four and three of their final four on the road. That means the team will play six of eight at home from Week 5 through Week 13.
The Bengals only have one primetime game, which comes in Week 2 on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.
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The league also finalized the dates and times for the preseason games.
The Bengals will play host to the Chicago Bears at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 before playing back-to-back road games at Dallas at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and at Buffalo at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. They close the preseason at home against Indianapolis on at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.
Fourteen of the 16 regular-season games begin at 1 p.m. The two exceptions are the Thursday game against Baltimore in Week 2 (8:20 p.m.) and the Week 14 road game at the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m.).
Here is the complete 2018 regular-season schedule:
Sept. 9: at Indianapolis
Sept. 13: BALTIMORE (Thursday night)
Sept. 23: at Carolina
Sept. 30: at Atlanta
Oct. 7: MIAMI
Oct. 14: PITTSBURGH
Oct. 21: at Kansas City
Oct. 28: TAMPA BAY
Nov. 4: Bye week
Nov. 11: NEW ORLEANS
Nov. 18: at Baltimore
Nov. 25: CLEVELAND
Dec. 2: DENVER
Dec. 9: at Los Angeles Chargers
Dec. 16: OAKLAND
Dec. 23: at Cleveland