Bears

On The Farm: Tennessee Cruises By West Tenn Again

On The Farm: Tennessee Cruises By West Tenn Again

Saturday Sept. 11, 2010
Posted: 9:25 p.m.

By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

CUBSTennessee AA
The Smokies continued their assault on West Tenn pitching Saturday night, cracking three more homers en route to a 9-2 victory at Pringles Park. Tennessee has a 2-1 series advantage in the opening round of the Southern League playoffs and will look to close out the series shifts back to Smokies Park on Sunday.

The long-ball barrage was simply a continuation of Fridays Game Two victory in which Tennessee connected for four homers. The Smokies had 14 hits on Saturday and have banged out 30 in the last two games. Tony Campana led the charge in Game Three with four hits, including a lead-off homer in the first inning, and two RBIs.

Russ Canzler and Matt Spencer also went deep for the second consecutive night. Blake Lalli was 1-for-6 and drove in two runs, making it a rather easy evening for Trey McNutt, who was making only his fourth Southern League start. He had gone 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA after moving up to Tennessee from Daytona late in the season but had little trouble against the Diamond Jaxx, who handed him a loss in his Double-A debut on Aug. 23.

McNutt scattered four hits over five innings, striking out six and allowing a run before turning things over to Marco Carrillo. He allowed a hit and fanned five over three shutout innings to end any hopes of a West Tenn comeback.

James Leverton got cuffed around a bit in the ninth inning but it was proved to be of no account, leaving the Smokies a win away from competing for the Southern League crown.
WHITE SOXGreat Falls Rookie
The Voyagers rebounded from an opening-game loss to defeat Helena Saturday night, 6-2, at Centene Stadium, evening their Pioneer League playoff opening-round series at a game apiece. The third and deciding game will be played Sunday afternoon at Great Falls.

Mike Earleys two-run single was the highlight of the four-run sixth inning that broke the game open for the Voyagers. Great Falls had rebounded from a 1-0 deficit, tying the score in the fourth inning before Ryan Hamme got the sixth-inning rally started with a lead-off double. Rafael Vera singled him in to put the Voyagers in front.

Dusty Harvard then reached on a error that put runners on the corners. He stole second and after a Kyle Davis walk, Earley singled in a pair. Ross Wilson then bunted home Davis.

Paul Burnside picked up the win after allowing a run over six innings. Doug Murray went the final three innings and despite giving up a run, earned the save.

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

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Cornette (The U/ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Justin Turner hits a walk-off 3-run HR off of John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. So why was Lackey even in the game? How much blame should Joe Maddon get for the loss?

The Bears run the ball over and over and over again to beat the Ravens in overtime, but should they have let Mitch Trubisky throw the ball more?

Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions

Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions

Joe Maddon has no easy decisions.

With the way his tattered bullpen has pitched this postseason, there's a very real possibility that any guy he calls on to pitch is the "wrong" guy or the right guy in the "wrong" spot.

For everybody wanting Maddon to ride Wade Davis as a workhorse this fall — something the Cubs skipper has already done just to get to this NLCS — remember how much flak he took for overusing Aroldis Chapman a year ago at this time.

Davis also hasn't been superhuman this postseason, allowing a pair of runs (including a homer) and seven baserunners in 4.1 playoff innings, good for a 4.15 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.

So when Maddon sat in the dugout late Sunday evening watching helplessly as John Lackey served up a walk-off homer to Tormund Giantsbane Justin Turner, the "Madd Scientist" immediately found himself in the crosshairs of Cubs fans and the media.

The first question he fielded in his postgame press conference was about not using Davis and there were several follow-ups. That and the offensive futility is about all anybody wanted to talk about after the Cubs fell down 0-2 in the NLCS.

Maddon explained Davis was available only in a save situation due to workload issues — the Cubs closer was in uncharted territory Thursday night/Friday morning, throwing the most pitches (44) and innings (2.1) he's thrown since Aug. 24, 2013 when he was still working as a starter. That's a span of 1,511 days.

"Wade knew that going into the game, it was going to be with the say," Maddon said. "We caught the lead, he's in the game. So whatever the narrative was, it's really a false narrative. He was not coming into that game until we grabbed the lead. He was not going to pitch more than three outs. That's it."

How does Maddon respond to his second-guessers?

"Doesn't matter," Maddon said. "First of all, social media, the moment I start worrying about that, I really need to retire. Second of all, that was all predetermined [Sunday] night again."

Davis also has a recent history of arm troubles (he was on the disabled list twice in 2016 for a forearm issue) and also saw his workload jump in September just to help the Cubs get to the postseason. In the final month of the regular season, Davis threw 237 pitches, 42 more than he threw in any other month of 2017. The last time he topped 200 pitches in any month was May 2015.

TV cameras showed Davis throwing in the Cubs bullpen alongside Lackey at one point in the ninth inning, leading to surprise by a huge faction of the (*looks around and whispers*) social media fanbase when the game broadcast resumed after commercials and the pitching change was to bring Lackey — not Davis — into the game.

"Wade was not warming up to come in that game," Maddon said. "Wade was probably just testing his arm at that point. We had talked about it before the game — up and in. 

"For those that aren't involved in Major League Baseball and professional baseball in general, when a guy's throwing too much, it's very important to not dry hump him, as the saying goes. Get him up and put him back down and bring him back in later. So I wasn't going to do that."

(Wow, really was not expecting to hear or write the phrase "dry hump" regarding this story.)

Maddon insists health is not the problem with Davis.

"Yes [he's healthy]. Oh yeah," Maddon said. "Listen, this guy just did yeoman kind of work — I love that word — in Washington and was not prepared to go more than three outs. I don't understand why that's difficult to understand.

"And furthermore, you have to also understand it wasn't the last game of the year or the second to last game. It was about winning eight more games. All these things are factors."

Maddon has a point. This isn't a Buck Showalter case where the Baltimore Orioles manager failed to use his best reliever — Zach Britton — in a non-save situation in a winner-take-all American League wild card game because he wanted the closer to be ready for a save.

The Cubs went down in a game that was tied 1-1 with their best reliever failing to get in the game even though he hadn't pitched in the last two days. 

But Davis can't cover every inning in relief, especially when the Cubs' two starters (Jose Quintana and Jon Lester) lasted just 9.2 innings against the Dodgers, leaving the Cubs bullpen to account for the other 8+ innings somehow.

The rest of the Cubs bullpen has to step up, too, which they did before the ninth inning of Game 2.

Still, Maddon couldn't resist getting one more defensive shot in before putting the matter to bed:

"I really hope you all understand that social media doesn't count at all," he said. "Twitter doesn't count at all. And really, as sportswriters, you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly."

Well then.