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Sports Today: Thames burns Reds again, Bengals’ McCarron speaks and many basketball moves

The Reds are back to .500 after losing the opening game of their series at Milwaukee 11-7

Consider the optimism of their hot start officially tempered. 

They've lost eight of 11, including four of five against the Brewers, who are 6-10 against everyone else. 

The offense has returned over the last four games, but since the start of the season the Reds simply haven't gotten the starting pitching they need to even think about winning more games than they lose. 

Just when Bronson Arroyo posts his strongest start of the season Amir Garrett, the brightest spot in the rotation the first three weeks, gets shelled by the Brewers. 

On the bright side, Billy Hamilton was on base twice, Joey Votto reached three times and Scott Schebler had four RBIs. He also hit his fifth home run while Zack Cozart hit his fourth triple.  

More bad news: they have to face Eric Thames 10 more times or so the next two days. 

Meanwhile, the marketing department continues to rock it as the team tries to get it together on the field. 

Yesterday the Reds announced they are offering fans the chance to attend any game in a given month for $29.99

This is an upgrade over a similar offer from the Cardinals, who offer standing-room-only tickets for the same price. 

The response to this on our Cincinnati Reds Fans Central Facebook page has been interesting so far. 

Yesterday was another busy day at Paul Brown Stadium as the Cincinnati Bengals continued their offseason program. 

Among those to talk to the media were the backup quarterback and last year’s No. 1 draft pick, both of whom figure to be big stories over the next year or so (if not longer). 

A.J. McCarron is saying the right things as he faces what will likely be another year on the bench behind starting quarterback Andy Dalton. 

Keeping McCarron is the smart thing for the Bengals to do unless someone like Cleveland throws an unbelievable trade package at them. 

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As for the 2016 No. 1 pick, William Jackson III is not surprisingly itching to get back on the field

He missed all of last season with a pectoral injury but could provide a major shot in the arm to a team that got questionable cornerback play last season. 

The past 24 hours or so have been interesting in the world of college basketball recruiting. 

Trotwood-Madison star Torrey Patton announced this morning he is going to Akron, choosing the Zips over Wright State and Miami, among others. 

Read more on his decision here

Last night came a report Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork (who graduated from Thurgood Marshall) visited Dayton, one of numerous schools hoping to convince the Raiders’ leading scorer to play his final season with them. 

Among the schools Alstork has visited is Michigan, which reportedly picked up a different graduate transfer from the area last night as news broke Alter grad Jaaron Simmons is leaving Ohio University for Ann Arbor.

That apparently did not please the coach of the Bobcats.  

"Jaaron informed me today of his intention to transfer to Michigan," Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said in a statement obtained Monday night by MLive. "We are disappointed with his decision, but wish him luck. We have known this has been a possibility and have taken steps to make sure the roster is talented and balanced. We are looking forward to the upcoming season."

On top of all that, Covington (Ky.) Catholic center Jake Walter tweeted that he has received a scholarship offer from Wright State (along with several other Division I programs). 

Walter is a two-star 2018 prospect and the son of former Bengals offensive lineman Joe Walter.

And as I finish up this morning there is breaking news from NASCAR, where they won’t have Dale Earnhardt Jr. to kick around anymore after this season because he is retiring.

That will probably not be good for the sport’s declining television ratings.  

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