Blackhawks

Sox bullpen flourishing as Myers acclimates to new role, team

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Sox bullpen flourishing as Myers acclimates to new role, team

Brett Myers has only thrown 4 23 innings since joining the White Sox two weeks ago, but players and coaches have seen his impact extend beyond what he's done on the field. Since he moved from Houston to Chicago, White Sox relievers entered Saturday's game with a 1.19 ERA in their last 30 13 innings, and Myers has been a big part of that -- even if he's only appeared in six games.

"Another veteran in the bullpen is just more knowledge down there for us to pick their brains," rookie Nate Jones said. "He's been in the league for over 10 years. That does nothing but help us. He's already come and talk to me and Addison Reed and Leyson Septimo about certain situations, certain pitches and stuff. That does nothing but help."

Kenny Williams said he owed it to the White Sox to add another veteran to the team's bullpen, which had grown exceedingly young as the season wore on. But Myers has also given manager Robin Ventura more flexibility in how he dispatches his relievers, whether it's in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.

"You're not always having to use Crain -- him and Crain will be the same two guys that you can use in the same situations," Ventura said, adding that he'd turn to Myers to close if Reed needs a day off. "You don't have to overuse somebody."

Myers had only pitched as a closer in his two seasons pitching in relief before coming to the White Sox. But the 11-year veteran says he isn't concerned with when he's pitching.

"I've still gotta get people out. It doesn't matter," Myers said. "The only thing different is, as a closer you get saves behind your name, as a setup guy you get holds. It's not really a big deal. I've still gotta go out there and throw a scoreless inning to help us win a ballgame."

There is a monetary payoff for Myers, though, to closing. If he finishes 45 games, a 10 million club option vests for 2013. With about two months left in the season, Myers has finished 31 games.

But Myers' role has been as a setup man. And with him in that spot, everyone else in the bullpen has had more concrete duties.

"Since he's came over, it seems like him, Jesse and Matt control the later innings before we give it to Addison," Jones said. "That does nothing but helps us out in the pen, too, because everybody knows their role, like when they need to get ready, situations and whatnot."

When Hector Santiago was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte to make room for Francisco Liriano, it gave the White Sox an even number of rookies and veterans in their bullpen. But while getting used to the team, Myers, whose locker is closer to those of Jones, Reed and Septimo than Crain and Thornton, has spent more time with the rookies.

"Actually, I've been hanging around the younger guys to help me get acclimated," Myers said. "Veterans have their routines, I have my routine, but it's their bullpen. I just came over to try to help."

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

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AP

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.

The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?

Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: