Bulls

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.

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."