Bulls

Birmingham Rallies After Peavy Goes Down

Birmingham Rallies After Peavy Goes Down

Monday April 18, 2011
Posted: 10:55 p.m.
WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
The Barons capped a three-run, ninth-inning rally Thursday night by scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch as they bested visiting Mississippi, 6-5.

Christian Colonel led off the inning with a walk and went to second on Justin Greenes one-out single before Luis Avilan uncorked the Braves first wild pitch, which put runners in scoring position. Tyler Kuhn then tripled to tie the score at 5-5. Billy Bullock came on to replace Avilan but walked Andrew Garcia, letting loose with a wild pitch in the process, allowing Kuhn to score the winning run.

The ninth-inning effort capped a comeback that saw the Barons rally from a 3-0, first-inning deficit. Jake Peavy had started in a rehab assignment and lasted only 23 of an inning. He gave up all three runs on four hits before leaving the game with what the White Sox termed discomfort. Peavy threw only 15 pitches.

Nate Jones pitched a scoreless ninth to eventually get the win but Dylan Axelrod deserves much of the credit, stepping in for Peavy and allowing only two runs over 7 13 innings.
Kannapolis A
Hickory roughed up opening-day starter Ryan Buch and the Intimidators couldnt respond, dropping a 6-1 decision Monday at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Buch 1-2 allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 13 innings. While Steve Upchurch pitched 3 23 innings of one-hit ball in relief, it wasnt enough to spark Kannapolis.

Brady Shoemaker had a pair of hits while Mike Blanke drove in the lone Intimidators run. In other news, Jacob Petricka was named as Sally League pitcher of the week after going 1-0 with 16 strikeouts in 11 innings over two starts. He didnt allow an earned run.
Winston-Salem A
Travis Adairs run-scoring single in the seventh inning provided the winning margin as Myrtle Beach downed Winston-Salem, 2-1, in the opening game of a three-game series at BB&T Coastal Field.

Adair then threw out Andy Wilkins at the plate in the ninth to end the game. Wilkins was attempting to score from second on Austin Younts second hit of the game. Yount had driven in the first Dash run.

Justin Collup 0-1 took the loss despite pitching well in his three-inning stint. Joe Serafin started and allowed a run in five innings.
Charlotte AAA
Norfolk wouldnt stay in the park Monday night and that proved to be problematic for Charlotte, which dropped a 10-5 decision at Harbor Park. The Tides blasted four home runs, three of which came off starter and loser Brandon Hynick, who lasted only four innings.

Dayan Viciedo had three hits and drove in a pair for the Knights.
CUBSIowa AAA
Lou Montanezs two-run double fueled a four-run seventh inning Monday afternoon to lead the I-Cubs by Memphis, 5-2 at Principal Park.

Montanezs double gave Iowa the lead and Brad Snyder added to it with a two-run single that scored Montanez and Fernando Perez. The outburst made a winner of John Gaub 1-0, who pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

Thomas Diamond started and fanned seven over six innings while allowing two runs. Scott Maine earned his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth. Bobby Scales walked in his only plate appearance to end his hitting streak at nine games.
Daytona A
Nick Struck couldnt contain Clearwater in the early going and Daytona was never able to fully recover, dropping a 7-4 decision Monday night at Bright House Field.

Struck 1-1 allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings, surrendering a crippling three-run homer to Travis Mattair in the third. Jae-Hoon Has three-run homer in the eighth cut into the Threshers lead but it wasnt enough as Justin Friend recorded the final five outs to record his fifth save. Matt Cerda added three hits for the Cubs.
Tennessee AA
Jake Kahaulelios 10th-inning homer Monday night gave Carolina a 5-4 victory over the visiting Smokies.

Tennessees offense, which has been tearing up the Southern League all season, was held in check. The Smokies managed only three hits with three of the runs coming on Ryan Flahertys sixth-inning homer. Brett Jackson went hitless, snapping his season-long hitting streak.

David Cales took the loss. Chris Rusin started and gave up a pair of runs in six innings before Kyle Smit allowed two runs in the bottom of the sixth to negate Flahertys homer.
Peoria A
Hayden Simpsons indoctrination to pro ball continued Monday night in Quad Cities and the Cubs top pick in last years draft continued to struggle through it as Peoria dropped a 4-2 decision at Modern Woodman Park.

Simpson 0-1 allowed all four runs in four innings, scattering six hits and walking two. He surrendered three first inning runs, allowing the River Bandits to snap what had been a 28-inning scoreless streak. Simpson has a 4.26 ERA through three starts and has allowed 14 hits in his last nine innings.

Peoria managed to score twice in the seventh inning but could draw no closer. Rubio Silva had a pair of hits and now has five multi-hit games this season. Greg Rohan singled in the seventh to run his hitting streak to 10 games. Smaily Borges was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. The opposition has stolen 18 bases without being thrown out after Quad Cities swiped two bases Monday.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Lauri Markkanen's struggles are a daily storyline, but the solve isn't simple

Lauri Markkanen's struggles are a daily storyline, but the solve isn't simple

MILWAUKEE — When Thad Young played for the Pacers, this was, according to Young, that team’s scouting report on Lauri Markkanen:

“He’s a guy who can score in different levels of the game. He can shoot the midrange. He can take you off the dribble and do his hanging fade to get his shot off. Or he can step behind the line and tee up some 3s,” Young said. “So we tried to keep him seeing bodies so he wouldn’t take the ball from one side to the other.”

Markkanen’s struggles — and the Bulls’ usage of him — is becoming an almost daily storyline. It certainly dominated Monday’s postgame questioning after the Bulls dropped to 1-18 versus winning teams with a 111-98 loss to the Bucks.

For the second time in three games, Markkanen failed to score in the second half. Seven of his 11 attempts came from 3-point range — all of which he missed. His eight points came from two putbacks and four free throws.

That’s it.

“He missed some shots he normally makes. That happens,” coach Jim Boylen said. “I thought he was moving well. He had a couple great cuts to the basket, opportunities at the rim. That’s what we want from him — inside, outside.”

But that’s not happening enough. Fifty-three percent of Markkanen’s attempts this season have been 3-pointers. That’s up 11.5 percent from last season and 4.1 percent from his rookie season.

Too often, Markkanen is being relegated to playing as a stationary, 3-point shooter and not the dynamic, multifaceted scorer for whom Young’s Pacers teams prepared.

“Yeah, I think I can do a lot of good things besides just shoot threes,’’ Markkanen said. “Haven’t really been able to do that lately. Just have to figure out the way I can attack the rim more and get to the free-throw line. I need to figure out my spots.”

This is not meant to fully absolve Markkanen, who has indeed missed open looks consistently this season. For the second straight game, Markkanen joked about how Boylen called a play for him on the first possession, only for Markkanen to turn it over.

Markkanen also again acknowledged the sore left ankle he is playing through as he tries to reach his well documented goal of playing all 82 games. Markkanen called the ankle “not normal but getting there” and also shook off banging knees with Donte DiVincenzo that left him running hobbled for a few possessions.

Markkanen said he has no problem talking to Boylen about his usage and, as is his nature, looked inward.

“We’ve talked about it. He ran some plays for me. I turned it over. He does run some stuff for me. I just have to make the plays,” he said. “If you shoot the ball like [I have], you don’t really deserve touches. Can’t really complain.

“When you’re feeling it and actually making shots, it would be good to get closer to the rim and kind of keep it going. A lot of our plays I screen and pop.’’

The Bulls tied their franchise record with 48 3-point attempts. Boylen said that was the gameplan since opponents averaged 40 3-point attempts and 17.5 makes in the Bucks’ mere six losses.

Never mind that even if the Bulls hadn’t gone ice cold in the second half to finish with 14 makes that adding 3.5 more makes would’ve still left them on the losing end. The Markkanen problem is bigger than a math problem.

“I think the system complements him to the point where he has a lot of freedom to do different things,” Young said. “If he’s open, he takes a 3. If he’s not, he tries to make a play. He’s doing the best he can, just like me and any other guy on this roster. He has to continue to believe in what we’re doing.”

Markkanen now has nine single-digit scoring games after posting just four last season. He has nine 20-point games after registering 22 last season.

This is a huge season for Markkanen not only because his success is tied into the success of the Bulls’ rebuild but also because he’ll be eligible for an extension of his rookie contract following this season.

“I know he’s going to work. And he cares. He has high character,” Boylen said. “I believe in him. And our team believes in him.”

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Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich puts Nolan Arenado trade talks to bed

nolan_arenado.jpg
USA TODAY

Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich puts Nolan Arenado trade talks to bed

Were you hoping the Cubs could pull off a miraculous deal for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado? If so, at ease.

In an interview with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich squashed any chance of Arenado getting dealt this winter.

“With the season coming up and spring training on the horizon, we are going to start focusing on that,” Bridich told Saunders. “We have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it. We are going to move forward pretty much as we expected — with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman.

“So, we can put this to bed and collectively look forward to the upcoming season and work toward that.”

There you have it.

The chances of the Cubs swinging an Arenado deal were always slim-to-none. The 28-year-old signed a lucrative contract extension with Colorado last February and is still owed $234 million through 2026. The Cubs have money coming off the books each of the next few seasons, but they would have had to clear payroll to acquire Arenado this offseason.

Furthermore, it’s questionable if the Cubs would have put together an enticing enough package for the Rockies. Chicago's farm system has grown barren through the years, and now that it’s slowly improving, it wouldn’t have made sense to trade prospects away.

Monday’s news isn’t completely bad for Cubs fans. The Cardinals were also reportedly interested in Arenado, and Bridich’s statement means St. Louis won’t be acquiring Arenado anytime soon, either.

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