White Sox

Bears in full 'urgency' mode

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Bears in full 'urgency' mode

Urgency. The Bears havent needed it for a lot of this season, didnt have it, and that was exposed by the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
 
It was decidedly there against the Minnesota Vikings and it is perhaps the single biggest key to the remainder of this season.
 
Defensive end Corey Wootton suggested that the 49ers game was perhaps a wakeup call, which is what people need when theyre asleep, and which the Bears were. That is how a supposedly good offense drops to 30th in yardage and with an offensive touchdown total (20) that ranked with the likes of Oakland, Philadelphia, St. Louis all losers.
 
That all changed on Sunday when the Bears (8-3) scored in a hurry, with urgency, on four straight first-half possessions -- three of the scores touchdowns -- on the way to a 28-10 handling of the Minnesota Vikings (6-5).
 
Urgency evident
 
The difference was an urgency that wide receiver Brandon Marshall said afterwards that he had never seen from Jay Cutler this season.
 
Cutler was candid: We wanted to see some rhythm and a little sense of urgency, he said, clearly stating between the line that it hadnt been there.
 
Maybe a little terror makes you run faster or throw better or tackle more convincingly. Terror of having a repeat of what Cutler saw his mates go through in San Francisco. Terror of what Adrian Peterson could do to them on defense.
 
Terror of falling that last drop from a comfortable lead in the NFC North and No. 2 seed in the conference into the mess of worrying about wild cards as the season wears on.
 
It was a game we had to have, said coach Lovie Smith, who typically downplays the importance of any single game. A division home game You have to stand up for it.
 
Where the Bears are
 
The games do become more urgent in November and December. The Bears were 0-2 in the third quarter of the season before taking the measure of the Vikings and in danger of falling behind both the Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.
 
Now they have a two-game edge on Minnesota and one game on the Packers, who were crushed by the New York Giants Sunday night to end a five-game winning streak.
 
They are two games behind the Atlanta Falcons (10-1) and a half-game back of the 49ers (8-2-1) in playoff seedings. The 49ers would have a head-to-head advantage but because of San Franciscos tie with St. Louis, chances of the Bears being involved in a tiebreaker with the 49ers are remote.
 
The Bears need another 49ers loss, which is most likely to happen only at New England in three weeks or at Seattle in four on an otherwise weak closing stretch.
 
Seattle setbacks
 
The Seattle Seahawks come to Soldier Field next Sunday with a 1-5 road record this season. But the Seahawks may have taken two huge hits on defense with the pending four-game suspensions of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner for violating the NFLs substance-abuse policy. The suspensions, under appeal, were first reported by ESPNs Adam Schefter.
 
The pair pose a particular problem for receivers because they are a unique tandem of big, physical defensive backs. Sherman is 6-3, 195, and Browner is 6-4, 221.
 
A complete game
 
Whatever the emotional reason on Sunday, the Bears throttled the team that had smacked down the 49ers. The Vikings had scored no fewer than 20 points in any game this year; the Bears held them to 10 and 258 yards, more than 80 below their season average.
 
It started with Cutler completing 15-of-17 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown pass to Matt Spaeth, the first score of the year for the tight end.
 
The defense allowed only 92 yards in the first half, 25 of those to NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson.
 
Its a home division game, linebacker Brian Urlacher said. We expect to win all those. A tough Minnesota team coming in here, playing well but we took care of business.
 
With some urgency.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.