Wednesday Oct. 5, 2011
Posted: 8:20 p.m.
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUEMesa Solar Sox
Nevin Griffith spent much of the season as a starter at Birmingham and was largely ineffective in that role. But when he came out of the pen during his final three outings for the Barons he was effective, lending an air of anticipation to what the club could expect from him during his stint with Mesa.
Based on what he did Wednesday afternoon against visiting Phoenix, Griffith is going to have to do a whole lot better. He got hit hard as the Desert Dogs rallied for a 10-4 victory. Griffith took the loss after allowing five runs on three hits and a pair of walks after a pair of his fellow White Sox pitching prospects had strong debuts.
Terry Doyle started and allowed a run on three hits over 3 23 innings before giving way to Jake Petricka. The former second-round pick allowed one hit and struck out a pair in 1 13 innings before Griffiths meltdown.
White Sox farmhand Brandon Short had a hit and scored a run but struck out three times and left five men on base. Fellow Sox farmhand Mike Blanke had a hit an RBI and walked twice. Cubs prospect DJ LeMahieu had a hit and an RBI but fanned twice and left four men on while Josh Vitters went 0-for-4 after smacking a pair of homers in Tuesdays season-opener.
In other action, the United States topped Japan, 7-3, Wednesday night in IBAF World Cup action at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City. Jordan Danks, who spent the season at Charlotte, had a pair of hits, drew a walk and scored twice for Team USA. Brett Jackson, who split the season between Tennessee and Iowa, was 2-for-4 with a run scored while Andrew Garcia, who split the season between Birmingham and Charlotte, was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Justin Cassel, who pitched at Bristol, Winston-Salem and Charlotte this season, allowed a hit in a scoreless inning of work.
Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.
1. Corey Crawford vs. ... Oscar Dansk?
The Golden Knights have seen both Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban go down with injuries, so they're scraping for goaltenders at this point.
On one end of the ice, you have one of the best netminders in the league and a two-time Stanley Cup champion in Crawford. On the other, you have a 23-year-old rookie in Dansk making his first official NHL start who will be backed up by a 24-year-old rookie in Maxime Lagace, who has never appeared in an NHL game.
In his first game action, Dansk stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief during Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over St. Louis.
2. Fast start.
The Blackhawks are tied for second in both goals scored (13) and fewest goals allowed (four) in the first period, which has a large reason for their early season success.
The Golden Knights aren't the kind of team that gets out to a blazing start. They've allowed only five goals in the opening frame, but they've scored only five as well, which ranks among the bottom 10 teams in the league.
3. Beware of James Neal.
The Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to win six of their first seven games of their inaugural season. And they probably don't have half of those wins if it weren't for Neal, who scored the game-winning goal in each of their first three games.
He leads the club with six goals and eight points, and serves as the motor for a team that doesn't have much offensive talent. He's the go-to guy, and somebody you have to keep an eye on when he's on the ice.
Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Tuesday night tilt against the Cavaliers on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.
1. LeBron James will be on your television
Love him or hate him, LeBron James is must-see TV. Now in his 15th NBA season, James has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite playing just one preseason game (against the Bulls), James has shown anything but rust in three games, averaging 25.0 points on 60 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in nearly 37 minutes. He's a threat every night to do something you've never seen on a basketball court, His Airness included. Justin Holiday and Paul Zipser will have their hands full against the game's best player.
2. Lauri Markkanen, Week 2
Small sample size alert! But through the season's first week Markkanen and Ben Simmons are the only rookies averaging a double-double (Dallas' Dennis Smith has played just one game, averaging 16 points and 10 assists). While the Bulls have struggled through two games, Markkanen's net rating is third best on the team and he leads the Bulls bigs in rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Markkanen has shown some versatility offensively, and his 7 free-throw attempts have been a nice surprise as well.
3. Don't forget: The Bulls swept the Cavaliers last year
OK, so expecting a victory Tuesday night in Cleveland isn't smart. The Bulls will be underdogs just like they were in each of the four games last season, all of which were Bulls winners. It was the first time in 52 division series that LeBron James had been swept, which is pretty remarkable considering the Bulls were the No. 8 seed and the Cavs coasted to a third straight NBA Finals. We're not over here predicting a win. But just remember: the Bulls have fared well against James in the regular season.