Bulls

Complete domination: Cubs swept in St. Louis

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Complete domination: Cubs swept in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) Lance Lynn won his 12th game with six spotless innings, and Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran homered on consecutive pitches to put the finishing touches on the St. Louis Cardinals' 7-0 victory Sunday that completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs.Jon Jay and Tony Cruz hit consecutive two-run doubles off Travis Wood (4-5) in the first for St. Louis, which outscored the Cubs 23-1 and outhit them 38-16 for their sweep over Chicago since June 3-5, 2011 in St. Louis. It's just their second series sweep overall at home, where they're 26-20.Lynn (12-4) has allowed just one run in 19 innings his last three starts.Fernando Salas and Marc Rzepczynski finished a combined five-hitter as the Cardinals earned consecutive shutouts for the first time since Oct. 1-2, 2010 against the Rockies.The Cubs' 14-5 record entering the series was the best in the majors over that span. Aside from pitching woes with Ryan Dempster's 33-inning scoreless streak ending and Matt Garza lasting just three innings, the offense ended the game with 25 consecutive scoreless innings and was 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position in the series, including seven chances Sunday.Attendance of 42,411 just missed a third straight sellout, with some fans perhaps scared off by forecasts of triple-digit temperatures. It was 94 degrees at game time.Holliday also doubled in the first, giving St. Louis a two-game total of 12 one day after tying the decades-old major league record with seven. The Cardinals also tied the franchise record with a 12-run seventh against four Cubs relievers in that game.Jay added three singles for his first career four-hit game, with everything to the opposite field including a dribbler down the third-base line that he legged out in the seventh, plus a nice running catch at the warning track in center field to deny pinch hitter Joe Mather's bid for extra bases in the seventh.Jay entered the series finale in a 2 for 20 slump and did not start the series opener Friday.Lynn pushed aside workload concerns in his first season in the rotation. In his previous three starts, he gave up 17 runs in 15 13 innings while steadfastly insisting that the problems were solely pitch location at key spots.Lynn's lone problem, inattentiveness to baserunners, didn't hurt him. David DeJesus, who's just 3 for 8 on steals, and Bryan LaHair, 2 for 3, stole second standing up to start the first two innings, but stayed there.Wood almost got out of the first without damage when Allen Craig stumbled rounding third on Holliday's one-out double and had to retreat. Jay bailed out Craig with an opposite-field flare to left that dropped just inside the line.The Cubs paid homage to Hall of Famer Ron Santo before taking the field in the bottom of the first, jumping over the third-base foul line and clicking their heels.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Media day recap and the biggest story lines heading into training camp

Bulls Talk Podcast: Media day recap and the biggest story lines heading into training camp

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Will Perdue recap Bulls media day and the start of training camp. They’ll discuss the battle for minutes at the small forward position, and the big expectations placed on Zach LaVine this season. Plus, Will and Kendall share their most memorable training camp stories during their careers.

You can listen to the whole thing right here, or in the embedded player below: 

Something of the future: Nick Madrigal has a bright future with White Sox, no matter what position he plays

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USA TODAY

Something of the future: Nick Madrigal has a bright future with White Sox, no matter what position he plays

There’s a good deal of time before the White Sox need to decide where Nick Madrigal fits in the puzzle that is the team’s lineup of the future.

The good news is that he’s a piece that can fit into several different spots.

Part of the allure of Madrigal’s first-round selection in this summer’s draft was that he was a talented defender capable of playing a number of positions on the infield. And though he almost exclusively played second base during his first season as a pro, he’s still capable of playing elsewhere on the infield.

Heck, he’s even got experience catching. Kind of.

“I’ve worked on different positions throughout my life in the infield,” Madrigal said, meeting with reporters Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field. “When my dad hit me ground balls, I made sure to take them from both sides of the bag, just to make sure I had that in my back pocket. I’ve played a lot of shortstop my whole life.

“When I was really young I caught, so I feel like I’ve played almost every position on the field and I feel comfortable doing that.”

Madrigal made sure to point out that the last time he played catcher he was 11 years old, so don’t expect to see him bring those skills to the majors when he eventually arrives on the South Side. But his versatility means there’s a variety of permutations that Rick Renteria could employ when the time comes.

Selecting a middle infielder — and one with three years of collegiate experience, at that — was a bit of a curious decision when the White Sox made the pick back in June. It’s not because anyone didn’t like the skill set that Madrigal brings; he was considered the best all-around player in college baseball and is already the organization’s No. 4 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s rankings. But two members of the White Sox young core are currently playing middle infield in the major leagues. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada figure to be pretty well entrenched in their positions, with the team talking about them both as if they’ll be around for a very long time after things shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Will there be room for all three of those guys on the diamond, should they all live up to expectations? The White Sox certainly would qualify that as a good problem to have. But Madrigal’s versatility could help solve it before it starts. To their credit, both Anderson and Moncada have also commented this season about a willingness to play other positions.

Like with many of the other highly touted prospects in the White Sox loaded farm system, Madrigal already has sky-high expectations from the rebuild-loving fan base. He played at three different levels of minor league baseball in his short time since joining the organization, and after a successful collegiate career that included a College World Series win this summer, there’s an expectation that he could fly through the system.

Whether or not that ends up happening, the expectations likely won’t decrease any time soon: In 43 minor league games, Madrigal slashed .308/.353/.348 with a jaw-droppingly low five strikeouts in 173 plate appearances.

“Throughout my life I’ve always had expectations,” Madrigal said. “I know there’s always going to be people talking and social media and all that stuff. I’m really just focused on now and, while I’m in the instructional league, trying to get better, trying help the people around me. Those things don’t bother me, but I know they’re going to be there my whole life. But I’m not worried about it at all.

“I’ve won at every level I’ve been at so far, going back to Little League, high school and college. That’s something I want to continue doing. And it seems like this organization is the perfect fit for me.”

So how quickly could Madrigal force the issue and reach the big leagues? His bat will likely determine the answer to that question, and we’ll see what the results are next season. He’s not concerned about it, however. He seems to share the confidence of many of his fellow White Sox prospects. He definitely shares the knowledge that the decision on when he reaches the bigs is not his to make.

Whether at second base, shortstop or third base — or catcher (not really) — Madrigal has a bright future ahead, another reason for fans to be so excited about this team’s future. How long will this particular waiting game last? You’ll just have to, well, wait.

“It’s kind of out of my control at this point,” he said. “Whatever the organization needs me to do. I can definitely see this being a home for me sometime soon.”