Sports Today: Reds rotation issues, Blue Jackets black eyes, NBA playoffs, Ohio State spring recap

April 17, 2017
  • By Marcus Hartman
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gets to the basket past CJ Miles #0 of the Indiana Pacers during the first half in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 15, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Reds lost three out of four games in a series against the Brewers that concluded yesterday, and manager Bryan Price got exactly zero quality starts along the way. 

Sal Romano was the perpetrator yesterday, giving up three runs and walking four in a three-inning major-league debut

Brandon Finnegan pitched only one inning before leaving with an injury Saturday while Bronson Arroyo and Scott Feldman combined to throw 11 innings Thursday and Friday. 

RELATED: How long will Finnegan be out?

So although the Reds are still in first place in the NL Central, fears the rotation could be a disaster are proving founded so far – aside from Amir Garrett. 

There are still a lot of options, including likely future starters Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson in the bullpen, but it will be interesting how Price sorts out the various issues that have been thrown at him.

“Most of the candidates that could slot into the rotation are already here. We’ve just to figure out what our best group looks like and how to slot them in there and continue to get the starters and relievers enough regular work to warrant them staying here,” Price said. “That will be a challenge.”

Somewhat similar uncertainty sunk last season about the time it started, but this year the bullpen could at least help the team tread water – if it doesn’t burn out from overuse… 

Meanwhile, the Reds are second in the National League in runs scored and OPS. They lead the league in stolen bases with 13. 

They are third in the NL in team ERA (3.49) despite a league-high 56 walks – and they have Billy Hamilton running down just about everything in center field… 

The Columbus Blue Jackets are down three games to none in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoffs series, and some guy in Montreal notes the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 overtime win Sunday was probably not a fluke. 

You don’t have to be a fancy stats expert to know that’s not a good way to win a hockey game. 

Young guys like defenseman Zach Werenski are learning the true meaning of playoff hockey, though… 

Archie Miller has managed to retain the entire Indiana recruiting class that Tom Crean signed before being fired, but there is a downside. 

Thanks to Crean’s well-chronicled habit of oversigning (and one role player deciding to come back for a fifth year), the Indy Star reports the Hoosiers have more players than they do roster spots available for next season. 

That could be alleviated by the decisions of some players contemplating staying in the NBA draft, but it is also a reminder about the different worlds the former Dayton coach has entered… 

RELATED: Scoochie Smith among assists leaders at NBA pre-draft invitational 

The NBA playoffs started over the weekend with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking care of business – barely – in game one of their series against the Indiana Pacers. 

The No. 1 seed in the East, Boston, was not so fortunate, though. The Celtics dropped game one of their series to the Chicago Bulls yesterday…

If you’re itching for the NFL draft, it’s still more than a week away. 

However, Jay Morrison is ranking the top prospects in each position group as we count our way down, and the two most recent ones are where I see the team needing the most help (aside from the offensive line, for which there is no quick fix). 

That would be defensive back and linebacker

They have experienced starters under contract at all four spots in the secondary, but this is a unit that has lacked a young playmaker for a long time. 

The linebacking corps has some young players who could be candidates to make a big jump next season, but this is another area they have been in need of upgrading athletically… 

In case you missed it, the Ohio State spring game was a pass-happy affair that was at times played sans tackling. 

Jackson Carman of Fairfield and Leonard Taylor of Springfield were among the many recruits who were on hand for the game, which ended with a heart-warming “touchdown run” by a youngster who has become close to the team over the past few years. 

Here are David Jablonski’s 7 takeaways from the game

One of the big talking points after the game regarded the future of the quarterback position, where Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell are lined up behind starter and team captain J.T. Barrett. 

Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and coach Kevin Wilson talk about Ohio State's quarterback situation behind starter J.T. Barrett Photo: Cox Media Group Ohio