Bulls

Superb Sale, red-hot Pierzynski get White Sox a split in LA

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Superb Sale, red-hot Pierzynski get White Sox a split in LA

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chris Sale pitched effectively into the sixth inning, giving Chicago's rotation a much-needed solid outing, and the White Sox capitalized on some shoddy defense by the Los Angeles Angels for a 6-1 victory Thursday.After a three-game stretch in which starters John Danks, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd gave up a combined 18 earned runs over 14 1-3 innings, Sale (4-2) restored order in his sixth major league start. The 23-year-old left-hander struck out seven and was working on a three-hit shutout in the sixth when he gave up a one-out homer to Albert Pujols and a double to Mark Trumbo and was replaced by Nate Jones. Trumbo had a career-high four hits.Sale joined fellow left-hander Steve Rosenberg (1989) as the only White Sox pitchers to give up three runs or less in each of their first six big league starts since divisional play began in 1969. A first-round draft pick in 2010, Sale was used exclusively in relief by the White Sox during his two previous seasons in the big leagues.C.J. Wilson (4-4) threw 88 pitches in 3 2-3 innings and tied a career high with six walks. He was charged with four runs - one earned - and four hits.A.J. Pierzynski delivered a two-out RBI single in the third to open the scoring, after flying out with the bases loaded to end the White Sox first. He was 3 for 5 with two RBI singles, and is 29 for 70 in his last 19 games at Angel Stadium.Chicago tacked on three more in the fourth with the help of two balls that should have been caught and weren't. Angels center fielder Mike Trout started in right for the first time this season due to the absence of nine-time Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter because of his son's arrest in Texas, and dropped a routine flyball by Dyan Viciedo with one out in the first.Viciedo ended up at second base on the error, and Wilson walked the next two batters before Adam Dunn chased the left-hander with a two-run single. David Carpenter came in Paul Konerko hit a popup to short right field, but the ball fell in front of second baseman Howie Kendrick after he called off Trout. It was scored as an RBI single.

In the fifth, Alexei Ramirez' chopper fell between Trout and Kendrick for a hit after a leadoff single by Pierzynski. Viciedo followed with a flyball to short center, where Peter Bourjos converged with Trout and Kendrick before making the catch - resulting in a derisive cheer from the crowd of 30,786. Carpenter then fielded Brent Morel's comebacker and started a double play.Viciedo led off the eighth with his sixth homer and third in a four-game span. Three batters later, three-time Gold Glove winner Vernon Wells scaled the fence in front of the left field bullpen and pulled back Gordon Beckham's bid for a two-run homer.NOTES: Dunn struck out his first two times up, increasing his major league-worst total to 59, and has at least one in 38 of his first 39 games. He led the majors in strikeouts three consecutive seasons while with Cincinnati (2004-06). ... Both teams begin their respective interleague schedules on Friday. The Angels are at San Diego, and the White Sox have a day game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Dunn's 41 career home runs against the Cubs are the second-highest total among active players behind Albert Pujols' 63.
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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.