Blackhawks

White Sox minor league report

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White Sox minor league report

The White Sox are looking forward to adding some young talent in the draft this June. Big league potential is spread pretty thin in the Sox farm system, but a number of minor league prospects are starting to raise some eyebrows. Here is your White Sox minor league update for the first week of May.

AAA Charlotte Knights

Sox prospect Nestor Molina was called up to Charlotte from Double A Birmingham this past week. While with the Barons, Molina accumulated an impressive 3-1 record in six starts. He helped his cause with 25 strikeouts and only five base-on-balls in 36 13 pitched. His solid performances warranted a call from Triple A Charlotte. Molina saw his first action with the new club on Monday, but things did not exactly go as planned. He surrendered six runs (all earned) on nine hits in only four innings pitched. Molina was having trouble locating his pitches and this was evident in the box score. He was credited with the loss but I dont think there is any need for panic. Molina has shown that he is capable of some great things in the first weeks of the season, he now needs to translate them to the next level.

Top 20 prospect Josh Phegley has accounted for a large portion of the runs scored by the Knights this season. The 24-year-old catcher got off to a blisteringly hot start early this summer, but has since cooled off. In the first week of May, Phegley is 4-for-23 (.173) with just 3 RBIs. One positive that can be taken away from a generally poor week is that Phegley only Ked 3 times, which means he is still making contact with the ball. Despite his recent slide, Phegley still leads the Knights in batting average (.333). Another small issue is he has only walked four times in 99 at bats this season. If Phegley wants to have consistent success at the dish, he must be more patient.

AA Birmingham Barons

As we already know, the 2009 first round pick Jared Mitchells early career has been a roller coaster of athleticism, potential, and injury. Mitchell has shown some reassuring signs for Sox fans early in the 2012 season. This past week Mitchell was 3-for-22 (.136), but still had 8 RBIs. Back-to-back 0-4 nights on Monday and Tuesday did not help his average, but timely hitting has kept Mitchell afloat. He is currently batting .394 with runners in scoring position.

Hard-throwing right-hander Simon Castro only saw one start this past week, but it was by far his most productive of the season. He hurled seven quality innings, surrendering only two runs on six hits, and struck out five. Despite a slow start to the season, Castros last outing was a confidence booster for himself and scouts alike.

A Winston-Salem Dash

Dash shortstop Marcus Semien has been one of the pleasant surprises early for the White Sox organization. During the first week of May he went 8-for-24 (.333) with two home runs, two doubles, four RBIs and a 1.016 OPS. The UC Berkley product will only continue to climb the ranks if he continues to produce runs at a high level.

Starting pitcher Andre Rienzo has been by far the most dominant hurler for the Dash thus far. Manager Tommy Thompson gave Rienzo some well-deserved rest this week, but his four April performances were outstanding to say the least. He is 3-0 with 31 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. His impressive 1.08 ERA is currently the lowest on the team and he has only surrendered 3 runs all season.

Joe Musso contributed to this article.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

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.

 

Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

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.