Blackhawks

All-Star slugger hits 2 homers to reach 300

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All-Star slugger hits 2 homers to reach 300

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera's 300th homer cleared the wall in center field with room to spare and sailed toward the ivy at Comerica Park. That's not the easiest place to retrieve a baseball, but this one should make a nice keepsake. "Somebody got it. They got it somehow," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "They got in there and got it, and that's his 300th, so I'm sure they'll take care of it for him." Cabrera homered twice to reach another milestone in his remarkable career, and the Tigers finished a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox with a 6-4 victory Sunday. Detroit wrapped up a 6-1 homestand against the White Sox and Los Angeles Angels and now leads the AL Central by 1 games over Chicago. The White Sox have lost five straight. Cabrera became the second Venezuela-born player to reach 300 home runs. Andres Galarraga hit 399. "For my country, yes, it's very special," Cabrera said. "Hopefully a lot of players can follow from Venezuela and try hitting 300 more." Quintin Berry and Brennan Boesch also homered for Detroit to help rookie Jacob Turner (1-1) earn his first career win. Four relievers pitched for the Tigers, with Joaquin Benoit working a perfect ninth for his second save of the year. Detroit closer Jose Valverde has been dealing with a balky back and did not pitch. Philip Humber (4-5) allowed six runs in three innings. Alex Rios and Kevin Youkilis homered for the White Sox. The Tigers have won 16 of 21. Turner, Detroit's rookie right-hander, bounced back after giving up seven runs in two innings in his last start against the Angels. He went 5 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out three without a walk before being lifted after Rios hit a two-run homer in the sixth. "I think the biggest difference is just being more aggressive, attacking the hitters and not really worrying about who might be at the plate, but just going right after them," Turner said. Cabrera and the Detroit offense provided plenty of support. After an RBI single in the top of the first by Rios, the Tigers scored three runs in the bottom half before Humber retired a batter. Berry's two-run homer gave Detroit the lead, and Cabrera followed with a high drive that cleared the fence just to the left of center field for home run No. 299. "I picked the wrong day to get balls up in the zone," Humber said. "The stuff was there, but when you are facing that team, and especially that team when they are hot, your stuff doesn't matter if you leave it up." Cabrera's second homer, in the third inning, was even longer. It ended up around where a camera platform is set up beyond the wall in center. A Tigers spokesman, citing ESPN Stats and Info, said it was estimated at 457 feet. "Dude has some of the most ridiculous pop I've ever seen," Berry said. "His smooth swing, to be able to go that high up and dead center, it's amazing. It's fun to watch. He does it in BP and he does it in the game. It's unreal." It was Cabrera's 23rd homer of the year, and he became the 14th player to reach 300 before turning 30, according to STATS, LLC. Cabrera was 29 years, 95 days old Sunday. When Hank Aaron was that age, he had 309 home runs, according to STATS. Barry Bonds had 222 by that age. Boesch added a two-run shot later in the third to make it 6-1. Humber allowed seven hits and a walk with no strikeouts. He's 3-5 with a 7.55 ERA since pitching a perfect game at Seattle on April 21. The White Sox chipped away after Humber was taken out. Rios' hit was ruled a homer after umpires consulted replay footage, and Youkilis hit a solo shot off Phil Coke in the seventh. Octavio Dotel, the third Detroit reliever, came on with one out and a man on in the seventh and retired all five hitters he faced, with four strikeouts. The White Sox were swept in a series for the first time all season. NOTES: Coke was pitching for the first time since his wife gave birth to a baby girl. Mickenzie LouAnn was born Saturday morning. ... The Tigers could afford to go deep into their bullpen with an off day coming up Monday. Chicago hosts Minnesota, with RHP Gavin Floyd (7-8) returning from a problem with his throwing elbow to start against Minnesota LHP Francisco Liriano (3-9).

Blackhawks looking for defensive improvement from everyone, not just defensemen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks looking for defensive improvement from everyone, not just defensemen

The Blackhawks were able to get away with their defensive lapses in the past solely because of Corey Crawford. When he went down with a concussion last December, those issues were magnified because he wasn't there to mask the flaws.

But it's reached the point where they can't rely on their goaltender to bail them out on a nightly basis, which is becoming another trend. Cam Ward allowed six goals to Tampa Bay on Sunday night, but made 49 saves — including 30 in the second period alone. He did everything he could to keep his team withing some sort of reaching distance and without his timely stops, the scoreboard could've looked much worse for the Blackhawks.

Something's got to change. 

When the Blackhawks talk about tightening things up defensively, they're not just putting it all on the defensemen. All five guys on the ice need to do their part and they're not doing it right now.

"I think we're trying to do too much and running around trying to do each other's job," Jonathan Toews said. "Sometimes we just need to simply and finish our checks and support each other."

No team has given up more even-strength high-danger chances through eight games than the Blackhawks at 110. That's 15.77 per 60 minutes. For reference, the New York Islanders finished worst in the league in that category last season and their number was at 12.96.

It didn't help that the Blackhawks spent nearly the entire second period in their own end on Sunday.

"We just couldn’t get it out of our zone, couldn’t get our stick on it, didn’t see pressure, didn’t feel pressure when we had it, were stripped," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Hence, we didn’t advance it. Kept looking like we were going up the ice and there were going to be some odd-man situations and then we’re the ones who were facing it."

That's one way to eliminate those high quality scoring chances, is getting the puck out of their own zone effectively or else it opens the door for Grade-A opportunities because of self-inflicted wounds. And it usually happens at the end of shifts when guys are tired, which often leads to goals.

"We have to learn how to play without the puck better and learn how to keep it," Quenneville said. "Whether it was our execution going up the ice, first pass poor and then we couldn’t change. A lot of things that happened yesterday were there tonight."

The Blackhawks weren't using three games in four nights as an excuse because Tampa Bay was in the same situation. It was an even playing field in that respect.

It's all about execution from everyone involved, forwards and defensemen. And the Blackhawks feel they're correctable issues.

"Of course," Toews said. "We've had some good periods this season so far. The first three, four, five games, everyone was excited and you guys are all talking to us much differently than you are right now. It's just getting back to playing that smart defensive game and playing with effort and letting our offense do the work. We know what's got to improve. It's right there in front of us."

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

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USA TODAY

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?