Cubs

Barons Roll In Peavy's Rehab Start Against Montgomery

Barons Roll In Peavy's Rehab Start Against Montgomery

Friday April 8, 2011
Posted: 10:10 p.m.

WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
Winning streaks were hard to come by for Birmingham last season. The Barons won 53 games and, for much of the year, flirted with franchise and league futility records. Yet, after defeating Montgomery for the second time in as many nights on Friday, this time by a 7-2 count, Birmingham has laid the groundwork for what could be a much more impressive season away from home.

The Barons won a league-low 23 road games in 2010 but have already won two this year and Friday night they used the long ball to get their point across. Birmingham hit three homers, including a pair in the eighth inning that broke open what had been a close game. Seth Lomans solo homer and Kenny Williams three-run shot increased the Barons lead after Josh Phegleys solo homer in the seventh snapped what had been a 2-2 tie.

Jake Peavy started for the Barons in a rehab assignment and allowed two unearned runs on five hits in 3 23 innings. He was making his first appearance since March 19 as he works his way back from rotator cuff tendinitis. Matt Zaleski earned the win, giging up just two hits over 5 13 shutout innings.

Charlotte AAA
Jeffrey Marquez has had his moments during the previous two seasons while pitching for Charlotte but very few were as impressive as the effort he put forth Friday night in a 5-0 victory over visiting Norfolk.

Marquez tossed six shutout innings, striking out six and allowing only three hits as the Knights won for the second time in as many outings. The performance was a fine way to start the season, erasing the sour note on which Marquez ended his 2010 season. The right-hander won eight games for the Knights last year but was 0-5 with a 5.97 ERA in his last eight starts.

Anthony Carter and Josh Kinney combined to toss three shutout innings in relief.

Gookie Dawkins had three hits, including a homer and three RBIs, giving him a pair of homers and four RBIs through two games. Stefan Gartrell also had a homer and two RBIs to help make a winner of Marquez.
Winston-Salem A
Ron Rivas RBI single in the bottom of the 10th capped a two-run rally and lifted Kinston to a 7-6 victory over Winston-Salem in the season-opener for both teams at Grainger Stadium.

Jared Mitchells RBI single in the top half of the inning had given the Dash a 6-5 lead but an Adam Abraham double combined with Kyle Davis throwing error knotted the score at 6-6 and set the stage for Rivas game-winning hit.

Mitchell was seeing his first game action since 2009. He suffered a severe ankle injury during Spring Training in 2010 that kept him sidelined for the entire season. Mitchell finished with two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. Ian Gac had a homer and drove in two.

Brandon Kloess was tagged with the loss, allowing both runs. Terry Doyle started and allowed a run in four innings while striking out eight.
Kannapolis A
The Intimidators game against Lakewood was postponed until Saturday because of rain. The game will be made up as part of a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 4:05. Both games will be seven innings.

CUBSTennessee AA
The Smokies put on another hitting clinic Friday night, pounding out 15 more hits en route to another victory at Chattanooga, this one coming by a 6-3 margin. Tennessee has 32 hits in its two victories.

Brett Jackson, Rebel Ridling and Josh Vitters two RBIs each had two more hits while Blake Lalli picked up three hits. It was enough to give Marco Carillo the victory after he pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Rafael Dolis started and left allowing a run on two hits and two walks in four innings.
Iowa AAA
Matt Camps two-run double highlighted a three-run eighth inning as Iowa edged by Round Rock, 6-4, at the Dell Diamond Friday night.

Lou Montanez picked up an RBI single to cap the rally leaving the I-Cubs pen to hold off the Express, which did manage to tack on an eight-inning run. The double was one of two for Camp. Bobby Scales also had a pair of doubles.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx started and allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out six and didnt walk a batter. Despite allowing a run in 1 13 innings, Chris Carpenter picked up the victory in relief.

In other news, the Cubs recalled RHP Jeff Stevens, who will replace Randy Wells after he was placed on the disabled list. LHP Polin Trinidad will join Iowa from Double-A Tennessee and pitch out of the bullpen.

Daytona A
The Cubs connected for a pair of first-inning homers Friday night and romped by Brevard County, 7-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Justin Bours three-run shot gave Daytona the early lead after the Manatees had taken a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning. Wellington Castillo followed with a double before Mike Burgess went deep for the second consecutive evening. The Cubs tacked on runs in the fifth and seventh innings as Jae-Hoon Ha picked up a pair of hits, scored twice and drove in a run to contribute to the offensive outburst.

Nick Struck allowed one unearned run over five innings to pick up the victory. He was 1-2 in three outings for Daytona last season after winning eight games in Peoria.
Peoria A
The Chiefs split a pair of games with Cedar Rapids, dropping the completion of Thursdays season-opener, 7-3, before taking the regularly scheduled contest, 8-2.

The Kernels scored five ninth-inning runs to break open what had been a 2-2 game when the rain forced play to be halted Thursday evening. Jeff Antigua allowed all five runs on four hits and a walk.

The Chiefs rallied in the nightcap, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and tacking on three runs in the eighth as Cedar Rapids struggled to find its offense. The Kernels managed only three hits, none of which came off starter Austin Kirk, who tossed four no-hit innings though he did walk a pair. Kirk, a third-round pick in 2009, was 1-1 in three relief appearances for the Chiefs last year.

Juan Serrano earned the win, allowing a run on one hit in three innings. Elliott Soto had three hits for the Chiefs while Rubi Silva drove in a pair.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here down 0-2 in NLCS?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here down 0-2 in NLCS?

Patrick Mooney and Tony Andracki analyze the Cubs' sub-optimal position in the NLCS, down two games to none to the Dodgers with a lack of offense and a struggling bullpen.

Plus, what was Joe Maddon thinking with his lineup and bullpen decisions in the first two games of the series? And what is really going with Wade Davis?

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Two reasons why the Bears could finally start stacking wins

Two reasons why the Bears could finally start stacking wins

The Bears winning a road game against a perennial playoff contender, one with a winning record coming in – that’s great.

Winning in Baltimore with a rookie quarterback in only his second NFL appearance – that’s terrific.

Generating more takeaways than giveaways and netting points from them – that’s just outstanding.

And now what?

Because too often under John Fox the Bears have posted a victory and failed to have it mean much of anything because of what followed a week later – a largely self-inflicted loss. The Bears have not posted consecutive wins since midway through the 2015 season, and even then proceeded to unravel on by squandering opportunities sitting squarely within their grasp.

Why should this time be any different? Because if it’s not, and the Bears again fail to stack even one win on top of another, then a dominating performance against the Baltimore Ravens (leaving out special teams, which surrendered in two plays more points than the defense did in 14 entire Baltimore possessions) becomes another meaningless afternoon in the overall for a team determined to reinvent itself.

Coaches typically divide seasons mentally into quarters, and clearly in Fox’s mind, Sunday was part of a different quarter from the 1-3 first quarter. “Really it takes almost four games, it’s almost like the preseason anymore, where you kind of get it figured out,” Fox said. “So just developing that confidence, usually good things have to happen to gain that confidence. And we did some good things.”

But the Bears have done “some good things” in games past and it becomes much ado about nothing, sound and fury signifying less than nothing. So again: Why should this time be any different?

Two reasons, actually. Neither absolute, but neither very complicated, either.

Reason No. 1: Trubisky

Without making too much out of one individual player, the chief reason arguably lies in the person of Mitchell Trubisky, a quarterback who already has palpably changed the psyche of a previously languishing team.

“The team didn’t make nearly as many mental errors this week because of his patience,” said wide receiver Kendall Wright, who supported Trubisky with a leaping catch of 18 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.

Unlike Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer and 2016 Jay Cutler, each of whom won one game and one game only over the past 22, Trubisky delivered the ball security of Hoyer with added impact that none of his predecessors did manage, or arguably even could have managed.

Put simply, the Bears do in fact have a quarterback who even at this point appears able not only to make plays as drawn up, but also to create something out of nothing or at least avert catastrophe.

“Mitch made some great plays,” Fox said. “I mean, if you look at the snap over his head in the end zone, there’s probably only five or six or seven quarterbacks in this league that could get out of that. I go back to the touchdown pass to Dion [Sims, tight end]. He flushed [from the pocket], we adjusted and he dropped a dime in the end zone for a touchdown. And the play obviously at the end where more than likely if we don’t get that, we’re probably punting, the play he made to Kendall. I think Mitch played outstanding… .

“Those are really good decisions. It beats six interceptions, for sure. There’s a 3rd-and-3 play in the red area, low red, sprint out to our left. It wasn’t all perfect but he did the next best thing and that’s throw it away. So those are really, really good decisions that I think sometimes the casual or un-casual fan does not see.”

The noteworthy element in Trubisky’s game was the impact achieved by a Bears quarterback who completed all of eight passes. The reality is that Trubisky doesn’t need to attempt more than 20 passes a game (including the four sacks his protection allowed, which absolutely needs to be fixed).

For perspective purposes: Ben Roethlisberger in his first two seasons averaged 17.4 and 15.9 passes per game. The Pittsburgh Steelers reached the AFC Championship game and won the Super Bowl in those two seasons, running an offense that was just short of 60 percent runs.

Reason No. 2: Mistake reduction

A mistaken notion as to how improvement happens is the belief that it comes from just getting better and better, skill sets rising to the loftiest heights.

Not necessarily. Anyone who has had the good fortune of working their golf handicap down knows that the stroke reductions come less from suddenly adding 30 yards to drives or developing a draw on a 200-yard three-iron, than from eliminating the fluffed pitch shots, the approach shots pushed into traps, the drives into the woods. Cut down the mistakes and good things happen.

So it is with the Bears, who effectively lost the Minnesota game by allowing a 58-yard TD run by Jerick McKinnon, and sealed it with a poor Trubisky pass on a possession with a chance to tie or win. They lost the Atlanta game simply by dropping passes. They aren’t as good as the Green Bay Packers – at least not until Trubisky reaches full extension and proves to be a challenge to Aaron Rodgers.

But only in the Atlanta near-miss did they self-destruct with fewer penalties (four) than they did at Baltimore (five). Sunday was the first time since Atlanta that they threw zero interceptions. And the defense limited the Ravens to three third-down conversions out of 18, one indicator of fewer breakdowns on the most important down.

“As long as we eliminate those mistakes that we’ve been making,” Fox said, “we’re gonna be right there going into the end of the game.”

The Bears have had positive spikes in the past and then collapsed; even after winning three of four in late 2015, the inept home losses to San Francisco and Washington were arguably a tipping point in the Fox era.

The point next Sunday against Carolina is to determine if the Bears are through with their one-and-done ways.