Bulls

Pitcher Stock Watch

Pitcher Stock Watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

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Wilton Lopez, RP, Astros: The ratios grab your attention first: 52 strikeouts against just seven walks, a 1.06 WHIP, tidy 2.24 ERA. And although Lopez is the closer for the worst team in MLB (by far), he still has a win and five saves over the last month. His handshakes are as good as anyone else's.

Jake Odorizzi, SP, Royals: The highly-touted KC prospect fashioned a 3.03 ERA and 130 strikeouts over 145 innings in the minors, covering two levels. The club wants to give him a cup of coffee in the show, so Odorizzi will get a shot against Cleveland on Sunday. That's a streamable turn to be sure, and Odorizzi might draw the same scuffling Indians the following week.

Andrew Werner, SP, Padres: He's been sharp in four of his first five turns, putting up three strikeouts for every walk and an acceptable 3.68 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Most of the starts have come in offense-blunting Petco Park, but there's nothing wrong with trying Werner in San Francisco this weekend. The Giants hitters haven't seen him yet, either - advantage, Werner.

Martin Perez, SP, Rangers: He's one of the jewels of the Texas farm system, and he's getting a much-coveted start at Safeco Field this weekend. The Mariners couldn't touch Perez in a relief stint last week (4.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 5 K); look for more of the same here.

Drew Smyly, SP, Tigers: Heads up if you need a Sunday fill-in - Max Scherzer (shoulder) might not be able to go, leaving Smyly as the Plan B. The opponent plays nice in this case: Minnesota is in town, with unheralded P.J. Walters throwing. Smile, you're at Mr. Smyly's.

Sell

Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers: It's no sure thing he'll be able to start again this year - the team is being careful with Kershaw's sore hip - and even if the lefty does take to the mound, how confident can we be in his effectiveness? Roster spots have a currency at this time of year; if you need immediate reinforcements, you have our permission to drop Kershaw.

Tommy Hanson, SP, Braves: His walk and homer rates are heading in the wrong direction, and obviously a 4.33 ERA and 1.45 WHIP don't help anyone. Even with the best defensive outfield working behind him, Hanson can't keep the ball out of the gap (or in the park) consistently in 2012. He's been an overrated brand-name for years.  

Hold

Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees: He finally conquered his Fenway Park phobia - perhaps someone gave him a good look at the current lineup card in the Back Bay - and the Blue Jays and Rays are also putting out skeleton lineups at this time of year. For once, we can chase after non-elite AL East pitchers and not feel guilty about it.

Edwin Jackson, SP, Nationals: A bloated ERA over the last month might have some gamers off the scent, but Jackson still offers an acceptable WHIP (1.31) and 35 strikeouts over 29.2 innings. Don't sweat the unlucky hit rate of late; stay the course with this underrated righty. We'll use Jackson through the end of the year, even in shallow mixers.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Draymond Green? Assuming the Dubs start out with Green on Markkanen, this will be rookie's biggest test of the season. Green is an elite defender, capable of wrecking gameplans from the tip. He's physical, quick and athletic. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph, KD and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard. 

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.