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Sports Today: Another Vontaze Burfict letdown for the Bengals

Published: Friday, April 13, 2018 @ 9:37 AM

Lewis defends Burfict, hit that drew suspension

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Vontaze Burfict has been suspended by the NFL

I happen to agree with those in charge of the Cincinnati Bengals who have suggested Burfict gets a bad rap at times, but how long can the team continue to rely on a player who is so often unavailable to play in its games? 

>>>Marvin Lewis: ‘I think Vontaze has changed quite a bit’

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At least his new contract allows the team to recoup some of the money it owes him if/when he gets in trouble. 

The suspension will cost Burfict a little more than $1.6 million, according to overthecap.com. He will lose $896,470 in game checks, plus another $562,500 in 46-man roster incentives that were worked into the three-year, $32.5 million contract he signed in September.

The contract also subjected his signing bonus to forfeiture, resulting in a pro-rated docking of $223,529.

One has to wonder if this makes linebacker more of a priority in the upcoming NFL draft. 

Especially without Burfict in the lineup, the Bengals defense needs more playmaking from top to bottom.

(I also felt that way last year when they passed on Malik Hooker to take a speedy receiver from Washington they really didn’t need.)  

The unit has been sound for a while (and that will take you a long way), but the focus this offseason seems to be on being more dynamic. 

That’s a pretty good focus, especially with the offense likely to continue to be held back by the quarterback and offensive line… 

The Reds lost again last night. 

It was even worse than most, if not all, of their other losses this season, and there are a lot to choose from. 

Do we really have to get into it? 

Let’s just stuck with David Jablonski’s summation

Jose Peraza had a good day at the plate. The sun came out. Everyone got to wear short sleeves.

Utility infielder Cliff Pennington finished the night on the mound for the Reds. 

He posted a better line than two of the four relievers if that tells you anything. 

Rookies Zach Weiss and Tanner Rainey were put in a tough spot in the seventh inning and failed beyond any reasonable expectation. 

Manager Bryan Price had to rely on them in that situation in large part because he had so badly mismanaged the previous three games in Philadelphia. 

OK, enough of that for now… 

At Fifth Third Field last night, Jeter Downs drove in a the winning run in the ninth inning as the Dayton Dragons completed a sweep of the Lake County Captains with a 10-9 win

Downs’ heroics at the plate made up for an error in the top of the frame that allowed the tying runs to score. 

While the big-league club continues to scuffle, it’s good to see such mental toughness from a potential part of the Reds’ future — especially one who is still just 19. 

After losing their first three, the Dragons have won five in a row. 

Hunter Greene is scheduled to pitch tomorrow against the Great Lakes Loons…

Dragons celebrate with Jeter Downs following a 10-9 defeat of Lake County at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Big congratulations are in order for Kelsey Mitchell. 

The Ohio State point guard was taken No. 2 in the WNBA draft Thursday night. 

The Cincinnati native won’t have to move far to begin her pro career, and she’ll have at least one familiar face. 

The Indiana Fever drafted Ohio State center (and Indiana native) Stephanie Mavunga 12 picks after tabbing Mitchell, marking the first time multiple Buckeyes have been taken in the same draft… 

  

Ohio State will play a football game Saturday. 

The start time has been moved up from 1:45 p.m. to 11:45 a.m. in hopes of avoiding the worst weather of the day.

A rainy day might make it harder to get much done, but then again it could also give Urban Meyer and his staff a chance to see quarterback competitors Dwayne Haskins Jr., Joe Burrow and Tate Martell in less-than-ideal conditions. 

Not a bad data point to add in evaluating them, but then again it might not be worth it to increase the risk of injury across the board. 

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Reds end 36-year home run drought in All-Star Game

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

Cincinnati Reds: All-Star Game history

In his first All-Star Game at-bat, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett saved the National League — for one inning.

Gennett’s two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth tied the 89th All-Star Game at 5-5, but two Houston Astros, Alex Bregman and George Springer, hit back-to-back home runs in the 10th and the American League addded one more run to win 8-6 Tuesday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

The AL has won six straight All-Star Games. Bregman was named the game’s MVP.

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» POLL: Reds player named friendliest in baseball

Gennett’s home run was the third game-tying home run in the ninth inning or later and the first since Fred McGriff’s in 1994. The only other was hit by Ralph Kiner in 1950.

Gennett also became the first Red to hit a home run in the All-Star Game since Dave Concepcion in 1982.

With that streak over, Joey Votto hit a home run in the 10th inning to draw the National League within one run. That was Votto’s first hit in an All-Star Game. He was 0-for-12 in six games after starting this game 0-for-2.

» ALL-STAR COVERAGE: Schwarber falls in Home Run DerbyVotto praises interim manager Riggleman

An error by Votto almost cost the National League the game in the eighth inning.

Votto dropped a foul pop off the bat of the Seattle Mariners’ Jean Segura. It wasn’t the easiest play. Votto was about to run into the rail by the dugout. He still received an error.

» RELATED: Manfred says DH not coming to NL anytime soon

Segura hit the next pitch into the stands in left for a three-run home run, giving the American League a 5-2 lead.

Votto and another Reds All-Star, third baseman Eugenio Suarez, entered the game in the top of the sixth. This was the first All-Star Game for Suarez, who ranks second in the National League with 71 RBIs. In his first at-bat in the seventh inning, he was hit by a pitch. He struck out in the ninth.

           

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British Open: 5 players who could win this week in Scotland

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:43 PM


            CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16: Tommy Fleetwood of England plays a shot during previews to the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 16, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16: Tommy Fleetwood of England plays a shot during previews to the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 16, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

I’m going to change things up a bit as we tee up golf’s third major championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland this week.

Even though Dustin Johnson is the betting favorite to win The Open Championship, the world’s top-ranked player is not on my list.

»RELATED: Playoff chip-in sends Centerville native to U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach

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Johnson faded on the final day at Shinnecock Hills, and although his game seems to suit most courses on the PGA Tour, I’m going to look elsewhere for a winner.

Let’s start with the best player to never win a major — Rickie Fowler. Ye, he shot an 84 in the third round at the U.S. Open, but he still finished 20th and he warmed up with a top-10 finish last week in the Scottish Open.

Speaking of the last major, Tommy Fleetwood almost stole the U.S. Open with a remarkable 63 on the final day. The Englishman will be in the hunt on Sunday.

»RELATED: Wenzler fires 62, set to make PGA Tour debuit

Here’s one that might be off the radar a bit. Tony Finau owns top-10 finishes in both the Masters and the U.S. Open this year. He makes a lot of birdies and that’s never a bad thing.

Henrik Stenson won with a record 20-under par total two years ago at Royal Troon. That alone gives him a chance to do some damage at Carnoustie.

And finally, Justin Rose is going to win another major sooner than later, although his best finish the Open was the first one he played back in 1998 as an amateur — a tie for fourth.

Jordan Spieth is the defending champion and is listed at 18-1. Tiger Woods is right behind at 20-1 on the betting sheet with Phil Mickelson at 40-1.

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Michigan football sending local alumnus to Big Ten Football Media Days

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 10:15 AM

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 9: Tyree Kinnel #23 of the Michigan Wolverines intercepts the ball and scores a first quarter touchdown as Mike Boone #5 of the Cincinnati Bearcats gives chase at Michigan Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 9: Tyree Kinnel #23 of the Michigan Wolverines intercepts the ball and scores a first quarter touchdown as Mike Boone #5 of the Cincinnati Bearcats gives chase at Michigan Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)(Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Looks like Michigan football will count a player from the Miami Valley to be among its senior leaders on defense for the second year in a row. 

At least that’s one thing that can be gleaned from Tyree Kinnel being among the Wolverines’ representatives at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago next week. 

Kinnel, a fourth-year player from Wayne High School, earned All-Big Ten honorable mention last season when he had 70 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and defended nine passes. 

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The 5-foot-11, 201-pound safety was named the team’s most improved player on defense for his efforts. 

Joining him in Chicago will be running back Karan Higdon and defensive end Chase Winovich. 

Ohio State will be represented by receiver Parris Campbell, defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones and offensive lineman Isaiah Prince. 

Last year, Mike McCray II was among the prominent faces of the Michigan defense. 

After wrapping up his career at Michigan, Trotwood-Madison grad Mike McCray II laid out his goals for pro football and beyond. Plus an update on his father’s status as an Ohio State fan. The elder McCray was a Buckeye

The senior linebacker from Trotwood-Madison was the only returning starter. 

He was eventually named captain, a distinction his father, Mike McCray Sr., held at Ohio State in the 1980s. 

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Scoochie Smith weighing his options after strong performance in NBA Summer League

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 5:08 PM

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15:  Scoochie Smith #12 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives between Giddy Potts #20 and Rawle Alkins #1 of the Toronto Raptors during a quarterfinal game of the 2018 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 82-68. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15: Scoochie Smith #12 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives between Giddy Potts #20 and Rawle Alkins #1 of the Toronto Raptors during a quarterfinal game of the 2018 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 82-68. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith always felt he could play in the NBA. He showed he deserves a chance with his performance in the NBA Summer League.

Smith spoke to the Dayton Daily News on the phone from Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday as he prepared to leave town after playing seven games in 11 days with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While Smith had confidence about his ability to play at the next level, he said, “Sometimes you’ve got to reassure the people. That’s what happened.”

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» ALUMNI NEWS: Bonsu finds job in NBA

Smith earned an invitation to training camp with the Cavaliers and said while he would probably accept it, he hasn’t made up his mind yet. He’s keeping his options open in case other teams express interest in him.

Smith averaged 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 16.9 minutes per game in Las Vegas. His role grew as the Cavaliers advanced past the preliminary round into the Summer League tournament.

Smith, who finished his Dayton career with 1,289 points in 2017 and ranks 28th in school history, said he learned to be more aggressive and stay in attack mode.

“I think that will help me a lot,” he said.

In a 112-109 double-overtime loss to the Lakers on Monday in the semifinals, Smith had 14 points, five rebounds and a team-high five assists in 27 minutes. He made 4 of 12 shots from the field.

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Smith’s best performance came Saturday in the second round of the tournament. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.

“I was just waiting on my moment,” Smith said. “I was fortunate enough it came during that Houston game, not right at the end of the tournament. I still got to showcase some more.”

Smith said the Cavaliers were happy with his play, and he thought they were maybe a little surprised by how well he performed.

“I think they learned a lot about me,” he said.

» RECRUITING: Dayton among the teams pursuing Xenia senior

This was Smith’s second experience in the Summer League. He played with the Boston Celtics in the Summer League a year ago but saw limited playing time.

“They drafted about four guys, so it was kind of tough for me to find an opportunity,” Smith said. “Staying positive and doing what I did in my first year (in pro basketball) helped me get the opportunity this week.”

Smith started his professional career last year in Australia and played in 27 games for the Cairns Taipans, averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Smith then returned to Ohio to play for the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ affiliate in the NBA G-League. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 52.3 percent from 3-point range. He had his best game — 26 points and 10 assists — in the final game March 23.

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