Sports Today: At least Reds have some better problems to face this winter

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

The Reds' Adam Duvall, left, celebrates a home run with Scooter Gennett, center, and Eugenio Suarez in teh first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff
The Reds' Adam Duvall, left, celebrates a home run with Scooter Gennett, center, and Eugenio Suarez in teh first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff)

Major League Baseball’s postseason starts Tuesday night. 

The Cincinnati Reds will not be part of it, as you’re probably aware. 

After three consecutive 90-plus-loss seasons, what do the Reds have to do to earn some October baseball in the future? 

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The Hall of Farmer Hal McCoy laid out the offseason tasks for the Reds pretty well, and we’ve got all winter to debate what they should do. 

The good news is they have more knowns than they did this time a year ago, and many of their questions that remain have potentially exciting answers. 

Case in point: The outfield. 

I like Scott Schebler, but I’d trade him to make room for Jesse Winker to play every day along with Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall. That would also make more room for a utility guy who can play the infield or outfield and will need at-bats (more on this later). 

RELATED: 7 ways Joey Votto’s season really was a work of art

I haven’t looked at the potential market, but I’d try to re-sign Zack Cozart if I can do it without breaking the bank. Will be interesting to see what he gets offered from elsewhere. 

Bringing him back would of course create other questions, like where to play Jose Peraza. After he took a step back this season and with the emergence of Scooter Gennett, I would tell Peraza the team still thinks he has a bright future but he should be happy as a utility player until he proves he is more than that. 

That worked out for Gennett in 2017 — at Peraza’s expense — and it made the team better in the long run. 

The presence of Gennett and Peraza makes moving an outfielder much more sensible, but that’s just the beginning. 

We’ll have time to dive deeper into this as the hot stove cranks up. 

Got suggestions for how what the Reds should do to move the team closer to contention? I want to hear ‘em! Email me at marcus.hartman@coxinc.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook… 

How about the Bengals? 

That whipping of Cleveland was nice, but now that the season is back on, there is more to worry about. 

First up: The Buffalo Bills. 

They present a chance for a promising defense to continue to build on a great start to the season. 

Jay Morrison notes coordinator Paul Guenther made a habit of heavily rotating in the first month of the season, good news for the plethora of talented but unproven young players on the roster. 

READ MORE: Bengals find success with deep rotation

One thing this team has done a great job of for a long time now is keep an eye on the future. 

The advantage of continuity is being able to groom players, though it doesn’t always work out like you want it. 

Take the offensive line for example… 

No, take them please! 

So, yeah, keeping an eye on the future has not always worked out in present, but overall it’s been an effective strategy… 

College basketball season is one day closer to starting than it was yesterday, but recruiting never stops. 

David Jablonski reports Flyers coach Anthony Grant and his staff a sophomore point guard from Northwest Ohio named Zeb Jackson. 

Grant has already signed point guard Jaylen Crutcher from the 2017 class while getting a verbal commitment from four-star lead guard Dwayne Cohill for 2018. 

Think this is a position the guy who used to coach Russell Westbrook values? 

MORE: 2019 class could be big one for UD

Also of note: The Flyers reportedly are trying to get in the mix for Anfernee Simons, a 2018 recruit who decommitted from soon-to-be-NCAA-sanctions-ravaged Louisville. Simmons, of Orlando, Fla., is the 12th-ranked recruit in the nation… 

Lastly we check in on Ohio State. 

Today’s print story on the Buckeye offense made me realize the offense has gotten better even as the competition has arguably improved (to some extent at least).

Rutgers, a 56-point loser at home to the Buckeyes, certainly has the most talented defense out of the trio of Army, UNLV and the Scarlet Knights. 

SPORTS TODAY: Hartman on Bengals, Browns, Buckeyes

Anyway, it also occurred to me we’ve been asking the wrong question when it comes to some of the new stuff Ohio State has done with screen passes and RPOs and whatnot: Will they work against better defenses? 

That’s not really the point of running those plays. 

The goal is not to dink and dunk Penn State to death with horizontal passes. 

It is to discourage the Nittany Lions from utilizing some of the defensive tactics that have given the Buckeyes problems over the past couple of years — strategies first proven effective by the Nittany Lions back in 2014, as a matter of fact. 

MORE COVERAGE: Four takeaways from college football on Saturday

Maryland is better overall than any of the teams Ohio State played the last three weeks, but not on defense. 

Despite hiring a defensive-minded coach in D.J. Durkin, the Terrapins are 113th in defensive S&P-plus and 53rd on the offensive side despite having to use three different quarterbacks already. 

But hey, like I said yesterday: Maybe it’s time for someone to push the OSU defense a little anyway. 

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Former Ohio State football player passes away

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:55 PM

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: Mike Kudla #57 of the Ohio State Buckeyes recovers a fumble by quarterback Kyle Orton #18 of the Purdue Boilermakers for a touchdown during the fourth quarter on November 15, 2003 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeatede Purdue 16-13. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: Mike Kudla #57 of the Ohio State Buckeyes recovers a fumble by quarterback Kyle Orton #18 of the Purdue Boilermakers for a touchdown during the fourth quarter on November 15, 2003 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeatede Purdue 16-13. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

Highland Local Schools announced Monday afternoon the passing of former Ohio State football player Mike Kudla. 

No cause of death was released, but Kudla was only 34. 

After graduating from Highland in 2002, Kudla played linebacker and defensive end for the Buckeyes from 2002-05. 

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He was an All-Big Ten first-team pick in 2005 and had three sacks in a season-ending win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. 

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Dragons pitcher Naughton Midwest League player of the week

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:41 PM


            Dragons pitcher Packy Naughton is the Midwest League player of the week for July 9-15. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Dragons pitcher Packy Naughton is the Midwest League player of the week for July 9-15. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

Dragons pitcher Packy Naughton, who extended a scoreless streak to 24 innings during a defeat of Cane County on Sunday, was named the Midwest League (Class A) pitcher of the week for July 9-15 on Monday.

»RELATED: Dragons photo gallery

»RELATED: Streak ends but Dragons win

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Naughton is a left-hander from Boston and was a ninth-round draft pick by the Reds in 2017 out of Virginia Tech University. In his last four starts Naughton has allowed just two runs over 27 innings (0.67 ERA). He went six innings in a 5-3 defeat of Cane County and improved his record to 5-8 (4.04 ERA). His 104.2 innings pitched leads the league.

»RELATED: Former Sinclair, Hamilton pitcher wins

»RELATED: Dragons rally in 10th

In his prior start on July 9 Naughton was at his best, going eight shutout innings with nine strikeouts and allowing just two base runners in a 5-0 win at Great Lakes.

»FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton

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Votto: Riggleman brings ‘good energy’ to Reds

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:22 PM

Who is Joey Votto: Ten facts about Reds first baseman

The Cincinnati Reds shared a press conference with Joey Votto on Facebook Live on Monday, one day before the 89th All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.

Votto, a six-time All-Star, answered all manners of questions from reporters. Here are a few highlights of the session:

On former teammate Shin-Soo Choo being a first-time All-Star: “I was stunned when I found out it was his first time. If this is his first time, I’m very proud for him. I’m excited to see him. I plan on taking a picture with him. ... We spent so much time together (in 2013). He’s a very hard-working, sincere man.”

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» HAL McCOY: Will the real Reds stand up?

If you could change one thing about baseball: “I love the game as it is. I think I can continue that thought with some of the chatter about potentially taking away the DH from the National League. I wouldn’t change the game. I get excited about the National League experience and interleague play and the two leagues mixing together.”

» REPORT: Reds interested in long-term deal for Gennett

On his declining home run numbers: “I’m always trying to round out my game. I hit 26 home runs before the All-Star break last year. I would never have expected that. And I’ve got nine this year, and I wouldn’t have expected that. I’m just going to keep playing and try to be a balanced hitter.”

On the shift: “I would be surprised if they removed the shift, but as someone who has really been dinged by the shift, I think I would welcome it. If there’s only two guys on one side of the field, I’m going to take what I can get. Once they started shifting more without question, I adjusted my approach. You have to, or else you get burned by it; .290 turns into .250 turns into .220 like nothing. We’re really talking about 10 or 20 or 30 hits. If you don’t make the adjustment, you’ll lose all those hits.”

» FUTURES GAME: Reds’ prospects show their stuff

If you could pick any past player from history to get a drink with: “We’d probably have cereal. ... My cliche answer would be Ted Williams. I think now it’s Rogers Hornsby. I think that’d be great.”

What are your strengths: “I can hit the ball hard on a consistent basis. I can choose how I want to hit the ball on a consistent basis. So if I want to hit fly balls all the time, I can. If I want to hit line drives all the time, I can.”

On interim manager Jim Riggleman: “He’s on top of us. He expects us to play a certain way. He challenges us. I think he brings a good energy to us during the game, after the game. He listens well. He’s really done a very good job.”

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Dragons pitcher Naughton Midwest League player of the week

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 3:26 PM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:03 PM

Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton is the Midwest League player of the week for July 9-15. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton is the Midwest League player of the week for July 9-15. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dragons pitcher Packy Naughton, who extended a scoreless streak to 24 innings during a defeat of Cane County on Sunday, was named the Midwest League (Class A) pitcher of the week for July 9-15 on Monday.

»RELATED: Dragons photo gallery

»RELATED: Streak ends but Dragons win

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Naughton is a left-hander from Boston and was a ninth-round draft pick by the Reds in 2017 out of Virginia Tech University. In his last four starts Naughton has allowed just two runs over 27 innings (0.67 ERA). He went six innings in a 5-3 defeat of Cane County and improved his record to 5-8 (4.04 ERA). His 104.2 innings pitched leads the league.

»RELATED: Former Sinclair, Hamilton pitcher wins

»RELATED: Dragons rally in 10th

In his prior start on July 9 Naughton was at his best, going eight shutout innings with nine strikeouts and allowing just two base runners in a 5-0 win at Great Lakes.

»FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton

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