Dempster shows he could give contender a huge lift


Dempster shows he could give contender a huge lift

NEW YORK Ryan Dempster insists that hes not getting sentimental and taking it all in during what could be his final days in a Cubs uniform.
This could leave a huge hole in the Cubs clubhouse. But wherever Dempster winds up, he will be a shot of adrenaline to a contender.
Dempster already has the numbers and the makeup. He began answering the questions about his health by throwing five shutout innings during Sundays 7-0 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Dempster would never frame it this way, but this was a statement game that no doubt interested several teams thinking about October.
Dempster lobbied the Cubs to start before the All-Star break, after a sore right lat muscle sidelined him for almost a month. He hadnt faced a live hitter since June 15, but came off the disabled list and showed no signs of rust.
Dempster didnt walk a batter and worked around Scott Hairstons one-out triple in the second inning, and back-to-back singles to open the third. From there, he retired the final nine Mets he faced and was done after 63 pitches.
As a veteran with 10-and-5 rights, Dempster can block any potential trade. In a contract year, hes in position to market himself for free agency on the big stage and chase a World Series ring.
We all know the reality of this part of the year, manager Dale Sveum said, whether its Dempster or anybody else on the roster for that matter. Thats just part of the game that comes along with not having the best record in the world.
And (its) other teams trying to add-on, feeling that their chances of putting one piece of their puzzle together will get them over the hump.
That could be Dempster, who has now thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings and heads into the break with a 1.99 ERA.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'


Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."