Bulls

On The Farm: Peoria and Tennessee Win A Couple Of "Wild Ones"

On The Farm: Peoria and Tennessee Win A Couple Of "Wild Ones"

Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010
Posted: 9:45 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBSPeoria A
The Chiefs scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning and edged Cedar Rapids, 1-0, at OBrien Field.

Anthony Giansanti led off the inning with a walk and went to second on a Logan Watkins single. He stole third before Matt Oye uncorked a wild pitch, bringing in the games lone run. Daniel Keefe earned the victory as the result of the errant throw while Corey Martin kept the Kernels scoreless in the ninth for his fifth save.

Watkins and Jae-Hoon Ha each had a pair of hits. Frank Batista started and allowed two hits over six innings for the Chiefs.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies also scored the winning run on a wild pitch, this one coming in the 11th inning to give Tennessee a 4-3 victory over visiting Birmingham.

Jeff Sues let loose with a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, allowing Russ Canzler to score the winning run. He had drawn a one-out walk and then went to third when on an error by Barons shortstop Eduardo Escobar on a Matt Spencer grounder. Steve Clevenger was intentionally walked after Spencer went to second on catchers indifference, setting the stage for Sues wild one.

Spencer had a pair of RBIs while Canzler had a double and an RBI. Chris Archer started and allowed two runs over seven innings. He fanned nine and left with the lead but was denied his 16th victory of the season when Marco Carillo allowed a ninth-inning run. Carrilo would get the win.

In other action, Daytona and Clearwater were postponed at Jackie Robinson Stadium and will make the game up next week as part of a doubleheader on a date yet to be determined at Clearwater. LHP James Leverton was promoted to Tennessee prior to the game. RHP Craig Muschko was placed on the DL at Tennessee. ... The AZL Cubs dropped an 8-1 decision to the Angels while Boise fell to Tri-City, 6-3. Richard Jones had three hits for the Hawks, pushing his hitting streak to four games. ... Iowa held off a late Omaha rally for a 7-6 victory. Jason Dubois' fifth inning grand slam was the difference for the I-Cubs. Jeff Samardzija allowed four runs in 5 23 innings for his 11th victory.
WHITE SOXKannapolis A
The Intimidators kept their faint South Atlantic League playoff hopes alive on Thursday with a 4-1 victory over Lexington at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Justin Collop 9-10 snapped his three-game losing streak, allowing only a run on eight hits over seven innings. It was Collups first win since July 29. Taylor Thompson picked up the save, his sixth, with two no-hit innings.

Juan Silverio had a homer and two RBIs while Ian Gac added two hits and drove in a run. Kannapolis manager Ernie Young was name as the manager of the USA team that will compete for a qualifying spot in both the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. The tournament will take place from Oct. 1-10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Winston-Salem A
The Dash walked all over Lynchburg, 7-1, on Thursday evening at City Stadium. Winston-Salem scored seven unanswered runs from the sixth inning on. Luis Sierras solo homer tie the score at 1-1 in the sixth before Jason Bours RBI single put the Dash ahead for good. Seth Loman added a three-run shot in the seventh, his 23rd of the season.

Nate Jones picked up the win after tossing a career-high 7 13 innings.

Great Falls Rookie
Ross Wilson's sacrifice fly scored Jared McDonald in the 10th inning on Thursday to give the Voyagers a 6-5 victory over visiting Orem.

Great Falls had scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score at 5-5, picking up an RBI single from Mike Blanke and a run-scoring sac fly from Ryan Hamme. Wilson scored the tying run on the sacrifice fly.

Blanke finished with two hits and two RBIs as did Andy Wilkins, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Wilkins is batting .364 20-for-55 during the streak. ... Nelson Curry pitched a third of an inning and earned the victory.

In other action, visiting Bluefield bounced Bristol, 7-1. Jarrett Casey started and took the loss, falling to 0-7 after allowing two runs in four innings. Jeffer Patino had a solo homer for the Sox. Drew Lee was named to the Appy League post-season All-Star team prior to the game. Jeff Sues uncorked an 11th-inning wild pitch that brought in the winning run as Birmingham dropped a 4-3 decision to Tennessee at Smokies Park. Norfolk overcame a 6-0 deficit and rallied for a 7-6 victory over Charlotte at Knights Stadium. Greg Aquino alloed the final two runs and was charged with the loss. Brent Morel was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 10 games during which he is hitting .450 18-for-40.

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

Bulls are unlocking something with Zach LaVine: 'He was terrific'

Bulls are unlocking something with Zach LaVine: 'He was terrific'

MINNEAPOLIS—The applause was thunderous on the welcome back for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, two Timberwolves draft picks sent away when the chance to acquire Jimmy Butler came along.

But some of the air was taken out the Target Center due to the absence of Jimmy Butler, who’ll miss the next several weeks after deciding to have surgery on his right meniscus following an injury Friday night.

So while there was no rematch of the thrilling contest the two teams had in Chicago, some things were very much the same.

Lauri Markkanen’s struggles continued.

LaVine showed more flashes of his complete game and Dunn had a couple moments of his own.

And on the other side, Tom Thibodeau kept his starters in the game with victory secured and his team up 20 points in the Timberwolves’ 122-104 win over the Bulls Saturday night.

The Timberwolves broke the game open in the fourth quarter with some key shot-making from veteran Jamal Crawford, as he was one point short of the Timberwolves having four 20-point scorers on the night.

Jeff Teague, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins combined for 70 points in their first game of many without Butler.

LaVine was a main reason the Bulls stayed afloat in the first 36 minutes, finishing with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds in his first game back in front of the Minneapolis crowd he spent his first few years playing for.

Going head-up with his former teammate Wiggins for a stretch, the two seemed to relish their practice matchups. Wiggins was doing a lot of pure scoring while LaVine seemed to enjoy probing the defense and making plays for teammates, taking more of a ballhandling role as opposed to floating around the perimeter for 3-point attempts.

“He’s doing a much better job not settling for tough shots,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s attacking the basket much better than he was. You can just see him getting his legs, getting more comfortable. It was good to see him as a playmaker, he was terrific.”

Perhaps the Bulls are unlocking something with LaVine, getting him the ball in different places and on the move, where he made some nifty passes in traffic, exercising patience and maturity.

“I liked it. Hopefully we get a little bit more of it,” LaVine said. “But it’s working. Should’ve stuck to it.”

They didn’t, as the Bulls didn’t look as organized as they have previously. Dunn looked extremely motivated and aggressive but it seemed to work against him at times as Teague took advantage of Dunn being too quick for his own good. So hyped up, Dunn blew a breakaway dunk in the first half, but luckily Nwaba was right behind him for a putback.

That type of energy was expected for Dunn and LaVine, maybe even moreso for Dunn considering his underwhelming rookie year where he didn’t get much chance to play as a top-five pick.

Dunn finished with 10 points on four of 12 shooting while Cameron Payne scored 11  in 19 minutes, but the decision making from both point guards left plenty to be desired—which is to be expected given the lack of veterans on the floor.

Their starting unit again struggled as Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez again sat as the evaluation of the younger players continued.

Cristiano Felicio had a better outing than his foul-plagued game against Philadelphia, scoring 11 points but had his hands full on the other end. David Nwaba impressed for the second straight game as a starter, getting in the open floor to force the action, scoring 14 with nine rebounds in 34 minutes.

“The second quarter, I thought, was one of our better quarters of the year,” Hoiberg said. “As bad as we played in the first quarter, I thought we were down 20. We just didn’t sustain it. Against a great team like that, it’s gonna cost you.”

Nwaba, along with Bobby Portis, was a big reason why the Timberwolves couldn’t run away from the Bulls until well into the fourth quarter, even after taking a double-digit lead in the first quarter and sending Hoiberg scrambling for early timeouts.

“You can expect it because you haven’t played with that group before,” LaVine said. “We’re gonna get that chemistry down. We (only) had a couple practices with that lineup.”

Whether it’s the lineup change or just the rookie blues, the year has clearly caught up with Markkanen, who only made one field goal in 32 minutes.

“Gotta get some extra shots up. I see myself thinking too much,” Markkanen said. “That’s how it is. Of course it’s frustrating to not make shots but it is what it is. Gotta work through it.”

Markkanen has gone one-for-eight in each game coming from the All-Star break and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.

“He’s shooting the heck out of the ball in practice,” Hoiberg said. “He’s struggling right now with his confidence, no question about it. As a shooter, you gotta keep looking to be aggressive, take the open ones. It takes one game to get that confidence back.”

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to Blue Jackets: Looking at the bigger picture

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to Blue Jackets: Looking at the bigger picture

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night:

1. Blackhawks squander two leads.

For the 13th time in their past 16 games, the Blackhawks scored the first goal of the game. They had won their previous three instances when doing so, but couldn't seal the deal this time and fell to 5-6-2 in those 13 games.

What strung even more is that the Blackhawks held two one-goal leads and couldn't hang on to either of them. They have the seventh-worst win percentage (.571) when scoring the first goal this season with a 20-10-5 record.

2. Vinnie Hinostroza continues to produce offensively.

If you're trying to look for a rare bright spot on the Blackhawks roster this season, here's one. Hinostroza registered a secondary assist on David Kampf's goal for his fifth point in six games, and was on the ice for 16 shot attempts for and seven against during 5-on-5 play for a team-leading shot attempt differential of plus-9 (also known as Corsi).

For the season, Hinostroza has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 32 games and he's doing so while averaging only 13:27 of ice time. His point-per-game average is up to 0.63, which is tied with Jonathan Toews for third on the team; only Patrick Kane (0.92) and Nick Schmaltz (0.71) are producing at a higher rate.

Hinostroza deserves more minutes, but at the same time his ability to produce on any of the four lines has allowed Joel Quenneville to put him in a bottom six role for balance.

"I like his speed," Quenneville said recently on why Hinostroza has been so effective. "I think with the puck, he's been good with it as well. More strength, on it, managing it, better decisions with it, and good plays off it. He definitely brings you energy and some speed, he can catch people with that quickness."

3. Ryan Hartman's benching.

Hartman was part of the fourth line that contributed to the Blackhawks' first goal of the game, and he was on his way to having a strong one. But that changed quickly after he took an ill-advised penalty in the first period.

Already leading 1-0, the Blackhawks had a 2-on-1 opportunity developing involving Hinostroza and David Kampf but Hartman was whistled for high-sticking at 17:06 behind the play. The Blue Jackets converted on the power play, and that was the end of Hartman's night.

He took only five shifts and finished with a season-low 4:16 of ice time, with Quenneville using it as an opportunity for a teaching moment.

4. Tomas Jurco building confidence back up.

It's been a tough season mentally for Jurco. He started the season with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs after failing to make the team out of camp, and compiled 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 36 games. 

It earned him a call-up on Jan. 8, with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman praising the way he progressed: "He looks like he's totally different, in terms of his composure and ability to make plays. That's why we brought him up here."

The problem? He was a healthy scratch for five straight games and went two weeks without seeing game action with the Blackhawks. Not exactly the best way to keep someone's confidence building. And since then, he's been fighting for a spot in the lineup.

For the last three games, Jurco has been given a shot on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane and he cashed in for his first goal of the season tonight and first since March 27, 2017. It's also the second straight game he's recorded a point.

While he may not be worth much if the Blackhawks were to deal him ahead of Monday's deadline, perhaps a change of scenery to a team that believes in him as a fit will bring out the best of his abilities. The Blackhawks tried and it just hasn't worked out.

5. Blue line observation.

This is more of a big-picture takeaway, but the Blackhawks have gotten only 20 goals from their defensemen this season. The Blue Jackets have gotten a combined 19 from just Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. Last season the Blackhawks had 30 total.

The Blackhawks just haven't gotten the offensive production needed from their back end and it's so important as it helps alleviate some of the pressure off the forwards.

I asked Quenneville about this after Friday's game and here's what he had to say: "Whether you score or not, you need the D to be part of your attack, be it off the rush, in zone. But I think the whole game, the whole league is four-man rush game, five-man attacks, coming at you, night-in, night-out, wave after wave.

"But you need to get your D involved in your support on the attack and you need them on the offensive zone off the point. You need some shooters on the back end that can get them through as well. I think offensive production from the back end in today’s game really enhances your offense and your possession game."