Sports Today: Reds win, Cleveland celebrates, Dragons starting, CBJ, OHSAA, etc.

Joey Votto and Brandon Finnegan made sure the Cincinnati Reds did not start the season 0-2.

Finnegan pitched seven shutout innings, and Votto homered to break a scoreless tie in the seventh inning.

We’ll have to wait another day to know more about how manager Bryan Price will handle his bullpen.

Finnegan made it easy on him against the Phillies by going seven innings.

Michael Lorenzen allowed two hits but no runs in the eighth inning, and any thoughts Price might have had with sticking with him for the ninth inning were probably erased by his pitch count (24).

No problem: Raisel Iglesias came on in the ninth and gave up a hit but nothing else. He struck out two while picking up the save.

If every game goes like that (or they are trailing throughout, such as on Opening Day), Price won’t have to worry about getting creative.

His talk about using a “hybrid bullpen” seems to mystify some, but I don’t think it’s that complicated.

RELATED: Rookie reliever enjoys perfect debut

For example, if Lorenzen had come in and blown away the Phillies in the eighth on 10-15 pitchers, perhaps Price sticks with him in the ninth but on a short leash.

No need to burn a second reliever when you’ve got one doing the job as is.

That to me is what is intriguing: Use the best relievers in high leverage situations whenever they occur, and don’t take out a guy who is dealing just because the inning is over.

As Price has said, that requires being able to rest a guy after an extended inning rather than use him three or four days in a row for one, but they have planned for just that scenario. (Or so they hope.)

I’m curious to see how it plays out if that’s the path Price follows…

Wednesday was a big night for no-longer-long-suffering Cleveland sports fans. 

Their third-favorite team looked like a championship squad again as the Cavaliers blew out the Boston Celtics, who look like an intriguing challenger to LeBron James' domination of the Eastern Conference except for when they don't.

💪🏾— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 6, 2017

Then Cleveland’s second-favorite team, the Indians, came from behind to beat the Rangers thanks to a grand slam by Francisco Lindor.

The night wasn’t a total loss for Boston fans, though.

They also saw dramatic win thanks to Sandy Leon, who hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Red Sox a 3-0 win over the Pirates…

Baseball season begins in Dayton tonight as the Dragons host Lake County at 7. 

We got to meet the 2017 Dragons yesterday at Fifth Third Field.

The team includes a large group of returnees, including catcher Tyler Stephenson. He was the team’s No. 1 pick in 2015 but saw his time limited by injuries last season.

Another story to keep an eye on: T.J. Friedl, who packs a lot of baseball ability into a 5-8 frame and signed with the Reds after going undrafted late last year

If you enjoyed the Columbus Blue Jackets-Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup playoffs series three years ago, you’re in luck. 

The second edition is officially set to begin later this month.

This time around Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are the defending champs, but Columbus doesn’t have that new-kid-on-the-block feel it did in 2014, when the franchise was still looking for its first postseason victory.

Pittsburgh has firepower, but the Blue Jackets have a veteran coach, some great young talent and of course goalie Sergei Bobrovsky…

There could be a couple of big stories in high school football coming today. 

The OHSAA is set to announce divisional realignments for fall sports based on the new competitive balance measure, and punishment could come down on Dunbar and the Dayton Public Schools (including DPS AD Mark Baker) for some peculiar circumstances surrounding a pair of Wolverines forfeits…

ExploreSeven things to know about the competitive balance measure

Also on the high school scene: Trotwood-Madison boys’ basketball standout Torrey Patton tweeted last night he has picked up his third Division I offer.

🔴🔵— Torrey 24 (@swag2423) April 5, 2017

The Robert Morris offer comes after Akron and Duquesne

Here's a weird story out of the NFL: The Raiders may have to leave Oakland for Las Vegas earlier than expected because of failure to pay their current home county hundreds of thousands of dollars in various fees.

That would be a very Raiders way to end another dysfunctional chapter in their history, wouldn’t it?

The Masters begins today — with or without world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

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