White Sox

Bears make second change in starting lineup in two days sort of

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Bears make second change in starting lineup in two days sort of

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. On Tuesday, the winds of change blew through the nose tackle spot of the No. 1 defense, where Stephen Paea replaced Matt Toeaina as the starter, as first reported by CSNChicago.com.

On Wednesday, the change was happening on the other side of the ball where JMarcus Webb spent a second straight day as the No. 1 left tackle and Chris Williams went over to right tackle with the 1s to give Gabe Carimi a break.

Webb and Williams have been following a strict program of alternating days with the starters, leading to the conclusion that Webb has been declared the winner of the competition at that critical spot on the offensive line.

Not so fast.

Coach Lovie Smith cautioned against reading too much into the situation, and indeed any final position award is not expected until after at least one or more preseason game.

Six days in, dont look at too much right now, Smith said, except that its safe to say Jay Cutler is going to start at quarterback.

(When pressed, Smith also confirmed, tongue-in-cheek, that Matt Forte is a roster lock.)

Webb has rated a slight edge in recent days over Williams, who is philosophical about the situation.

You just come in and keep working hard like I always do and let that stuff sort itself out, said Williams, who had no clear explanation for the change in program.

Williams subbed for Gabe Carimi, the starter at right tackle, and Carimi took reps with the No. 2 offensive line alongside right guard Ricky Henry, who has had a strong camp.

If you have players that have been around here for awhile, you want to give them an opportunity to play against everyone, Smith said. If a guys on the second team, and hes always going against those guys, you want to see what he can do against some of the other guys. No more than that.

Which, of course, remains to be seen.

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

After a rough outing against the Detroit Tigers on July 4 — his last before the All-Star break — White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez vowed to be a different pitcher going forward.

“At this point, after a really bad first half, there's not much I can say about that. Starting today, you're going to see a different pitcher going forward for the second half of the season,” Lopez said after his July 4 start through team interpreter Billy Russo. “What is done is done. There's nothing else that I can do to change what is done.

“I can do different things to get better and to be a better pitcher for the year and that's what I'm going to do.”

Two outings later, and Lopez is nearing the point where he can say “I told you so.”

Lopez has come out of the break firing on all cylinders after struggling to a 4-8 record and MLB-worst 6.34 ERA before the Midsummer Classic. Friday, he tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just six hits and one walk compared to eight strikeouts. This follows his brilliant outing against the Athletics on Sunday in which he pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and one run — albeit unearned — with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Lopez exited Sunday’s game in line for a win before the White Sox bullpen slipped up. The offense allowed no such opportunity on Friday, tallying 16 hits en route to a 9-2 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s Lopez’s first win since June 9 against the Kansas City Royals.

Lopez has received a fair share of criticism this season for his struggles, but his recent success should not come as much of a surprise considering how he fared in 2018. The 25-year-old posted a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts, striking out 151 batters in 188 2/3 innings.

Lopez’s strikeout rate in 2019 is up compared to 2018 (8.19 K/9 in 2019 vs. 7.20 in 2018) and his walk rate is down (3.32 BB/9 in 2019 vs. 3.58 in 2018). The major difference is that opponents are hitting .284 against him this season compared to .234 in 2018, while also holding a .319 BABIP, up from .260 last season.

It may just be two starts, but Lopez is backing up his vow to pitch better. Between Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and the returns of Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón from Tommy John surgery in 2020, the White Sox future starting rotation is in good hands. Getting Lopez back to pitching how he did in 2018 will only take that group to the next level.

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Dare we ask... are the Cubs back?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Dare we ask... are the Cubs back?

Rick Telander, Ben Finfer and Seth Gruen join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs beat the Padres from their 6th win in their 7 games since the All-Star Break. Are they really this good or are they just feasting on sub-.500 teams?

7:00 - The White Sox have lost seven straight after the break. Should fans be furious with the slump or still optimistic about the future?

13:00 - The Bears report to Bourbonnais in 6 days. Will the 2019 season be a failure if they do not make it to the Super Bowl?

19:00 - Kap gives out his play of the night in the FanDuel Friday Faves.

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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