Cubs

Collins still in Thibodeau's corner on Rose injury

751010.png

Collins still in Thibodeau's corner on Rose injury

Immediately following the catastrophic injury to Derrick Rose late in Game 1 Saturday, Doug Collins was quick to defend Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and his decision to leave Rose in the game.

He hasn't changed his tune in the last three days.

The 76ers head coach backed Thibodeau again in his session with the media prior to Tuesday's Game 2.

"Coaches never forget games," Collins said. "Tom Thibodeau was part of a game in '04 with the Houston Rockets when Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in 35 seconds and beat the Spurs 81-80.

"As a coach, you never forget those games. So sometimes when you're gauging on who should be out in the game and who shouldn't be, coaches know what they need to do.

"And that's why, with Thibs, it would be very, very unfair to throw any criticism his way of Derrick Rose being hurt. Had he gotten hurt in the first minute of the game, nothing would be said. We have long memories as a coach... When you have games like that, you never forget them."

Collins wasn't kidding (watch the video below). His recollection of the eight-year-old game was spot on. Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Rockets at the time.

On Saturday, the Bulls had a 95-75 lead with 4:35 left in the game. The Sixers clawed their way back and nearly pulled within single digits. The last chance Thibodeau could have pulled Rose was with 1:53 left in the game when Luol Deng lost the ball out of bounds. That was the last stoppage in play prior to Rose's ACL injury, roughly a half-minute before the occurence.

At the time, the Sixers were in the midst of a 10-4 run and threatening to make a game of it.

Collins also suggested that if Thibodeau were to have taken Rose out and the lead slipped away completely, it would have been hard to get the reigning MVP back in the game mentally.

"I err on the side sometimes of keeping guys in the game too long because I know if you ever take a guy out of the game with a big lead and it slips away, you can't bring them back because they shut it down once they go out," Collins said. "It's just human nature for a pro athlete. That's what they do."

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

whatsapp_image_2019-05-26_at_3.26.24_pm.jpeg
Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.