Tribe Down Dodgers

The Indians were back in action Thursday afternoon, looking to salvage a lone win in their three game interleague series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

Cleveland was locked in early, with their first four batters of the game reaching base. Jose Ramirez would drive in Fransico Lindor for the first run of the game. They would score again later in the inning thanks to a Roberto Perez walk, brining in Ramirez. Bradley Zimmer would step to the plate next and leg out an infield single to put the Indians up three to nothing.

 

It was a rough opening frame for Dodger lefty Rich Hill, who threw 39 pitches in the inning, facing all nine batters. He would finally end his misery when utility man Erik Gonzalez, who was starting in place of Jason Kipnis (Neck), struck out to end the bases loaded threat.

 

Hill would find himself in more trouble during the second inning. After getting Lindor to line out, Daniel Robertson snuck one through the left side of the infield for a single. Ramirez would get his second RBI of the day next, scoring Robertson with a double to right centerfield. After Ramirez got caught stealing third, Edwin Encarnacion hit a towering drive over the left field wall for his 13th home run of the season. The blast gave the Indians a nice five run cushion early in the game.

 

Indians’ starter Josh Tomlin cruised through the first two innings before getting into some two-out trouble in the third. With runners on second and first, Dodger Designated Hitter Justin Turner hit a shot to third and Ramirez dove to his left to make the play and get out of the jam.

 

The Dodgers would get on the board in the fourth inning when rookie sensation Cody Bellinger hit one around the right field foul pole for his 18th home run of the year.

 

They would score again in the fifth as Yasil Puig hit a double to left, scoring Joc Pederson. The very next batter, leadoff man Chris Taylor, would find the bullpen to make the score five to four.

 

The Indians would respond in the bottom half of the inning. Lonnie Chisenhall took Dodger reliever Ross Stripling deep over the right centerfield fence for a three-run bomb to put the Tribe back up by four.

 

The Indians would not let the Dodgers have life again, taking the game 12-5. The Indians’ 12 runs included a solo home run for Erik Gonzalez, which was his first MLB home run.

 

Tomlin picked up the win for Cleveland, while Hill suffered the loss for Los Angeles. The team now heads north for a three game weekend series with first place Minnesota.

Cavs Return to the Q, Blast Suns in Shootout

CLEVELAND- The Cavs returned home after a grueling west coast trip to take on the Phoenix Suns Thursday night and would easily grab a 118-103 victory.

 

With Kevin Love out, Ty Lue turned to the veteran James Jones for the start, and he would answer the call. Jones, who came into the game averaging 2.6 points a game, put up 8 points in the first quarter, including two three pointers.

 

He would finish with 14 points, but his spark was the real impact of his minutes.

 

Cleveland would dominate the entire game, lead of course by Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Irving finished the game with 26 points and 4 assists while James had a near triple double with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 15 assists.

 

It was the first home game for newly acquired forward Kyle Korver, and he was quick to show The Land his well-known shooting stroke. He finished the game with 9 points, all via the three-point shot.

 

Tristan Thompson had a scare as he dislocated his index finger late in the second quarter. He however would come back for the second half. The Cavs were already without Love, as well as J.R. Smith (thumb), and Chris Andersen (ACL, Out for Season).

 

Despite coming back for the second half, Thompson only played limited minutes. This led the way for Channing Frye to have a big night. Frye had 18 points and 10 rebounds.

 

The young Suns would battle, but did not have the fire power of the Cavaliers. Tyson Chandler led the way for the team from the desert with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Eric Bledsoe added 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists, while Devin Booker finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists.

 

The Cavs will be back in action Saturday night as they take on the San Antonio Spurs at 8:30 at the Q.

 

James and Irving Heading to NOLA

 

The NBA announced Thursday night that both LeBron and Kyrie will be starters in the upcoming NBA All-Star game in New Orleans.

 

This marks the 13th All-Star selection for LeBron, which is far and away the most of any other starter in the conference.

 

Irving will be making his 4th All-Star appearance. The pair will be joined by Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Cavalier Forward Kevin Love was not selected as a starter for the game. However, he is expected to be selected for the team as a bench player.

 

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be played on February 19th this year.

 

For more information on this and other Cavalier info, visit Cavs.com.

Cleveland Pounds Detroit in Smith’s Return

He may have been playing on a bad ankle, but JR Smith’s shooting arm is still as healthy as ever. The 6’6 shooting guard, who returned from a three game absence, hit three big threes to set the tone in the Cavs 104-81 win over the Pistons. Those would be the only points Smith would score, as he and all of the other main contributors sat the majority of the 4th quarter.

Speaking of threes, Tristian Thompson, who had the task of guarding the Pistons all-star center Andre Drummond, helped the early intensity with three huge first quarter blocks. Thompson finished with 8 points and 14 rebounds to go with 4 blocks.

The big three did their part as well, led by Kyrie Irving, who finished with 25 points and 11 assists. LeBron James had 21 points, while Kevin Love added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

It was a rough (and that’s being very kind) night for the Pistons. They were led by Jon Leuer with 15 points. Detroit shot an abysmal 31.2% from the field and couldn’t get anything easy on the Cavs swarming defense. The Cavs held Drummond in check, who finished 8 points and 10 rebounds.

The Cavs will be back in action this coming Wednesday the 23rd when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers at the Q. Tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

For more information on the game as well as other Cavs information, visit Cavs.com.

NFL Draft: Defensive Interior Scouting Report

With the draft getting closer and closer, here is a look at some of the impact players that will be in the trenches of the NFL this fall.

 

DeForest Buckner- 6’7, 291 Lbs., University of Oregon

 

Strengths- The reigning PAC 12 defensive player of the year poses great size and very long arms that should help him when hand fighting in pass rush. He is also very vestal and can play multiple positions along the defensive line. He was primarily an interior player at Oregon, but has the build of a defensive end. Buckner showed great quickness in his award winning season which allowed him to dominate centers and guards. He figures to be a great fit in a 4-3 scheme with his combination of speed and strength, as well as his versatility (even though the Ducks ran a 3-4). His go-to move is a quick spin move which he can do from both sides of the line. The move is very quick which makes it hard for linemen to get their hands inside on him.

 

Weaknesses- Buckner tends to play high at times, which can be expected due to his height. This can allow linemen to get underneath him and slow down his pass rush. He also appears to fall in love with his swim and a straight bull rush. Professional lineman can handle these moves better than those in college, so Buckner will need to expand his arsenal.

 

Projected Pick- Buckner will more than likely be taken in the first 7 picks of the draft. Teams seem to be wanting to play him as an end more than a tackle, which helps his draft stock. Buckner will be the second defensive lineman off the board (assuming Ohio State’s Joey Bosa is the first). He will be a steal for any team if he falls past Baltimore, who owns the number 6 pick overall. I believe that Baltimore is where Buckner ends up, and he will prove to be a great anchor for the Ravens front 7.

 

Browns Radar? – I do not view Buckner as a guy the Browns will be targeting. The only exception would be if they trade out of the number 2 pick. Buckner comes from a 3-4 defense, which is what the Browns run, but he does not appear to be on the radar of the team.

 

 

 

Sheldon Rankins- 6’1, 299 lbs., Louisville

 

Strengths- Sheldon Rankins is a big man, and he knows exactly how to be big. He was 299 pounds of brute force in the middle of the Louisville front line, showing great strength both in the pass and run games. The best thing that Rankins can do is take on a double team, which is essential for interior lineman. He also has good speed for a lineman (4.96 40-yard dash at pro day) which allows him to stunt well. This allows him to impact the game as a pass rusher.

 

Weaknesses- It’s a simple fact, NFL offensive lineman are very strong. If Rankins doesn’t expand his pass rush moves, he will learn this lesson very quickly. ACC pass rushers did not fare well against the powerful bull rush that Sheldon possesses. A good move for him to pick up would be a simple club and rip through, which is quick, simple, and can keep the shorter arms of centers from latching on to him.

 

Projected Pick- Rankins is very much a wild card when it comes to where he will be taken, which seems to be the case with interior lineman not named Ndumakong Suh. He possesses top 20 talent, but scheme fit could take over the minds of most teams (and rightfully so). I believe that the Colts will take Rankins with the 18th overall pick. The Colts have a lot of offensive weapons, so it makes sense to focus on the other side of the ball with this pick. Rankins will be a good piece for the Colts moving forward and could make an immediate impact.

 

Browns Radar? – The only way that Rankins could be an option for the Browns is if he falls to 32, which is very unlikely. He is a top 20 talent and will be drafted accordingly. The Browns also took Danny Shelton in last year’s draft, and despite struggles, is still the man in the middle.

 

 

Jarran Reed- 6’3, 307 lbs., Alabama

 

Strengths- Reed can best be described as a run game anchor. He is very good at clogging up gaps and taking on two blockers, which is vital for a defensive interior player in the NFL. When he gets his hands inside of blockers they cannot contain him. He was the perfect fit for the run stopping defense of Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.

 

Weaknesses- While he is so good against the run, Reed struggles against the pass. He does not have very good moves, including his bull rush. He also cannot string a series of moves together. Another major problem that occurred this past season is that he would get fatigued easily. He has a great motor early on, but as the series and quarters move on, Reed seems to fade. He is a great talent, but if he can only go 50%, that doesn’t mean much. He also tends to stay locked onto blockers because his moves aren’t good enough to disengage.

 

Projected Pick- I believe that Reed will slip a little in the draft due to his weaknesses. He is still an incredible talent, but has a lot of work to do. The Green Bay Packers need to replace BJ Raji who stepped away from football this offseason. Reed with the 27th pick would appear to make a lot of sense for both the Packers and Reed.

 

Browns radar? – Reed will not be a Brown. The Browns already have a big young interior player in Danny Shelton and will not be taking another one. Reed will go to a team with need at the position before the Browns come around at 32.

 

 

 

 

 

A’Shawn Robinson- 6’4, 307 lbs, Alabama

 

Strengths- The first thing that jumps off the tape when watching Robinson is the leverage he plays with. He has great hip action and is able to explode out of his stance. He also gets down the line exceptionally well and rarely allows an offensive lineman to cross his face. He was the perfect player to play beside Jarran Reed due to his ability to get to the passer. He has great pass rush technique and has a down right relentless motor. He also does an exceptional job of hand fighting to keep blockers hands off of him. He is also very good on stunts due to his freak athleticism and ability to navigate the holes in the offensive line.

 

Weaknesses- Robinson has a bad habit of playing high. He has often tries to let his athletic ability take over, which can allow blockers to get underneath him, and that is never a good thing when playing up front. Another thing that scouts are worried about is the lack of production that he had despite all of the athleticism that he possesses. It also would not hurt him to learn more pass rush moves, as offensive lineman seemed to pick up on his game plan early and often.

 

Projected Pick- Robinson has a ton of upside despite having some flaws. He is a raw player who could develop into one of the best interior defensive lineman in the game. His upside makes him a very enticing pick inside of the top 15. I believe that he ends up going 12th overall to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have been lack-luster at best on defense the past couple of years, and could use someone with the upside of Robinson to be a potential star.

 

Browns radar? – Robinson will not be a factor for the Browns. He is not good enough to be taken number 2 and will not fall to 32. Even if he did fall to 32, it would be hard to justify taking any defensive interior player due to drafting Danny Shelton just a year ago.

 

 

Andrew Billings- 6’1, 311 lbs., Baylor

 

Strengths- Billings is a powerful, powerful man. He is an absolute load up front and can throw aside 300-pound lineman with ease. He plays low and explosive and can take on multiple blockers. He is very explosive and can get to the passer. He also plays with a very high motor and it shows that he loves playing the game.

 

Weaknesses- He does play low, but sometimes the way he plays low is a problem. He does it by leaning and can tend to overextend. It’s good to stay low, but if you lean too far, you can end up on the ground. Billings also struggles to react to plays that do not come directly at him. He does not get down the line well and also is not very good on stunts, specifically loops. This lack of movement can make him very one dimensional.

 

Projected Pick- Billings is a guy who will either go late in the first round or early in the second. He is a very good player, but his lack of mobility could be a turn off. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a great history of producing great defensive players. Billings could be their next breakout star if the Steelers take him with the 25th overall pick, which I believe they will.

 

Browns Radar? – Billings may be on the board still when the Browns make their second round pick. However, the position is one of the few positions that the Browns do not need. Even if he is still there, it is likely that the Browns will go elsewhere.