Bears

He's A Bayne To Carolina League Hitters

He's A Bayne To Carolina League Hitters

Sunday April 17, 2011
Posted: 6:15 p.m.
WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
Cameron Bayne is quickly becoming a bane to the Carolina League hitters.

The former 13th-round pick put forth another stellar effort Sunday afternoon at BB&T Park as Winston-Salem upended Kinston, 9-0. Bayne 2-0 tossed seven shutout innings and has not allowed a run in 14 innings over two starts. Hes tied with teammate Ryan Kussmaul for the league lead in victories and remains tied atop the circuit with several pitchers who have a 0.00 ERA.

Bayne allowed three hits and has surrendered four in his two starts. Charles Shirek pitched the final two innings to preserve the shutout.

Ian Gacs remarkable start continued as well. He connected for his fifth homer of the season, a three-run shot in the sixth inning that gives him 12 RBIs. Gac, who leads the Carolina League in both categories, has nine hits for the season. He is currently on a pace to hit 80 homers and drive in 180 runs.

Jared Mitchell had a pair of hits and drove in a run as he looks to shake out of a slump. He had gone hitless in his previous three games, dropping his average to .161 prior to Sunday. Jose Martinez was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two walks, pushing his average to .432.

The seven runs were the Dashs largest output of the season while the shutout was the teams first.
Charlotte AAA
Freddy Dolsi was banged around early by Norfolk Sunday after at Harbor Park and Charlotte just couldnt recover, dropping an 8-3 decision to Norfolk.

Dolsi 1-1 allowed eight runs in 3 23 innings with the Tides pushing across seven of those in the third and fourth innings. He gave up a career-high 10 hits, including a homer. This is the first year Dolsi has been a full-time starter. He had only made 10 career starts prior to this season with eight of them coming last year for the Knights.

Gookie Dawkins had a double and two RBIs but Lastings Milledge struck out three times and has four strikeouts in eight at-bats since joining Charlotte.
Birmingham AA
Johnnie Lowe imploded late Sunday afternoon allowing Chattanooga to race by Birmingham, 7-2.

The Barons held a 2-1 lead going into the seventh before Lowe 0-1 surrendered five runs on three hits, including a homer, and a pair of walks. Base on balls were an issue for starter Nevin Griffith as well. His five walks, combined with six strikeouts, pushed his pitch count up and forced him out of the game after four innings.

Josh Phegley had a pair of doubles and an RBI for Birmingham.
Kannapolis A
Hickory scored early and often Sunday at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium, running by Kannapolis, 12-3.

The Crawdads scored four first-inning runs off Kevin Moran, who allowed five runs on six hits in two innings. The Intimidators were never able to get back in the game despite a three-hit effort from Juan Silverio.

CUBSTennessee AA
Montgomery beat Tennessee at its own game Sunday afternoon, out-hitting the host in what proved to be a one-sided affair at Smokies Park. The Biscuits collected 14 hits and pounded their way to a 13-3 victory despite sitting in ninth place in the 10-team Southern League in team batting average.

The Smokies, who were leading the league in hitting and hits by a large margin in both categories still managed to collect 11 hits with Brett Jackson leading the way. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games, dating back to last Sept. 3. James Adducci had a pair of hits and drove in two.

Brooks Raley, however, was roughed up again, allowing six runs for a second consecutive outing. He surrendered seven hits, two of which were homers, over five innings.
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs saw their modest two-game winning streak snapped Sunday afternoon at Principal Park after Memphis scored a pair of 11th-inning runs for a 7-5 victory.

Mark Hamiltons two-run double off Esmailin Caridad was the difference.

Bryan Lahair was 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs. Hes hitting .444 with five multi-hit games. He moved into the top five in batting in the Pacific Coast League with his effort and is also in the top five with 15 RBIs. Bobby Scales was 1-for-3 with a walk, extending his hitting streak to nine games. He has gotten a hit in every game in which he has appeared this season and prior to Sunday had scored in each of them as well. The I-Cubs allowed a homer and have now surrendered a league-high 22 round trippers.
Peoria A
Mike Walkers one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh stunned Peoria Sunday afternoon and allowed Wisconsin to earn a 2-1 victory and a doubleheader split at Time Warner Cable Field. The Chiefs had taken the opener, 7-6.

Peoria held a 10 lead going into the seventh when Ed Figueroa issued a leadoff walk to Cody Hawn. Walker launched a ball over the right-field wall two batters later. Peoria managed only three hits in the nightcap with Greg Rohan, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, picking up one of them. He also drove in the lone run.

Graham Hicks pitched six innings of four-hit shutout ball before giving way to Figueroa.

It was Peoria that pulled the stunner in the opener, scoring four times in the top of the seventh to erase a 6-3 lead. Rubio Silvas two-run single was the big hit of the inning. Silva went hitless in the nightcap to end his hitting streak at eight games.
Daytona A
Justin Bours RBI single in the sixth inning snapped a 1-1 tie and propelled the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over Clearwater at Bright House Field.

Matt Cerda added an insurance run with an RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth as Daytona snapped a four-game streak. The Cubs managed only four hits and left only three men on base, benefiting from a big effort on the mound from starter Robert Whitenack 2-0 and a pair of relievers. Whitenack allowed only an unearned run in six innings while striking out three.

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

2017 Bears position grades: Defensive backs

2017 Bears position grades: Defensive backs

2017 grade: B-

Level of need: High

Decisions to be made on: Kyle Fuller (free agent), Prince Amukamara (free agent), Marcus Cooper (contract), Sherrick McManis (free agent), Bryce Callahan (restricted free agent), Quintin Demps (contract)

Possible free agent targets: Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Gaines, Rashaad Melvin, Robert McClain, Darrelle Revis

There’s a wide spectrum of scenarios for the Bears at cornerback, ranging from keeping the status quo to blowing the whole thing up, and everything in between. Safety is far more stable, with Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson proving to be a reliable pairing, so that’s set for 2018.

Let’s start with one end of that cornerback spectrum: The Bears keep the top of this unit intact. That means, No. 1, retaining Kyle Fuller via the franchise tag and/or a long-term contract. No. 2, it means bringing back Prince Amukamara, who didn’t record an interception and committed a few too many penalties, but otherwise was a fine enough cover corner. No. 3, it means keeping restricted free agent Bryce Callahan as the team’s No. 1 slot corner.

On paper, this doesn’t seem like an altogether bad option. The Bears weren’t spectacular at cornerback in 2017, but the position was a little better than average, which isn’t the worst place to be for a single unit. Couple with solid play from the safeties and the Bears’ defensive backs were overall a decent enough group. Outside of Marcus Cooper -- who is a candidate to be cut for cap savings -- the Bears may not need to make wholesale changes to this group.

That, though, is a rosier look at this unit. The Bears can certainly improve the personnel in it with a healthy amount of cap space and a strong crop of free agent cornerbacks about to hit the market. Keeping Fuller and then signing a top-tier player like Trumaine Johnson or Malcolm Butler would upgrade this group, as would bringing back Fuller and Amukamara but then using a high draft pick on a player like Ohio State’s Denzel Ward.

Unless the Bears sign two big-time cornerbacks -- i.e. Fuller and Johnson, or even a guy like Brashaud Breeland or E.J. Gaines -- it would seem reasonable for them to use a first or second-round pick on a cornerback in an effort to find a longer-term solution at the position. That doesn’t mean the Bears would absolutely have to go that route, especially with other needs at wide receiver, guard and outside linebacker.

But here’s another thought: It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Bears are able to sign a combination of two top cornerbacks in free agency. With plenty of cap space top-end free agents lacking at wide receiver and outside linebacker/edge rusher, could Pace allocate a good chunk of that money to, say, tagging Fuller and making runs at Johnson, Butler and/or Breeland? 2018 looks to be a good year to be aggressive in the free agent cornerback market, and that could play into the Bears’ strategy well.

Before we finish, we should carve out some space for Amos and Jackson. Pro Football Focus isn’t the only outlet that’s given Amos high marks -- Bleacher Report’s NFL1000 ranked him as the No. 1 free safety in the league, too. Jackson came in at No. 19 in B/R’s strong safety rankings, which is pretty solid for a fourth-round rookie.

But the larger point here isn’t exactly where Amos and Jackson are in outside evaluations -- it’s that, tangibly, the pair played well off each other on a consistent basis last year. Seeing as Amos didn’t enter the Bears’ starting lineup until Week 4 -- after Quintin Demps suffered a season-ending broken forearm against Pittsburgh -- how quickly and successfully he and Jackson meshed was one of the more impressive developments for the Bears’ 2017 defense. Amos needs to make more plays on the ball and Jackson has some things to clean up, but the Bears enter the 2018 league year not needing to address their safety position. That’s a good place to be for a team with other significant needs.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

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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.