Bears

Cubs fall flat, get swept by Giants

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Cubs fall flat, get swept by Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Ryan Vogelsong kept thinking how steady all the other San Francisco starters have been over the past week. It weighed on his mind Monday morning before his outing.His turn, time to keep up and do his part. He delivered, all right.Vogelsong won his fourth straight decision, Buster Posey scored the go-ahead run on a double-play groundball by Joaquin Arias in the seventh inning and the Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Monday for a four-game sweep.San Francisco's starters have gone seven straight games pitching seven or more innings while allowing two or fewer runs, just the second time it has been done since the franchise came West in 1958. Giants pitchers accomplished the feat in nine consecutive games from July 1-10, 1988, according to STATS LLC.In this series, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Barry Zito had won before Vogelsong's impressive performance on a rare wraparound getaway game on a Monday."You don't want to be the weak link," Vogelsong said. "Three games like that, I don't want to be the guy who doesn't come through. It's a tough act to follow those three guys, those three outings."Brandon Crawford hit an RBI double and drove in another run on a fielder's choice to back Vogelsong (4-2), helping the Giants to their season-best fourth straight victory.San Francisco (31-24) moved a season-high seven games over .500. The Giants began the day trailing NL West-leading Los Angeles by three games. The Dodgers had a night game at Philadelphia.Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol (0-2) was hit with a line drive on Angel Pagan's infield single in the seventh but stayed in the game after being checked out, then walked Brandon Belt on four pitches to load the bases for Arias.Pagan singled in the fifth for a 28-game home hitting streak, the longest in franchise history since 1900. He tipped his batting helmet and clapped his hands at first base in appreciation following a warm ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,524 on a day that began with sporadic rain in the early innings after the tarp came off late morning.The Giants completed the club's first sweep of the season in its fifth try - the games decided by five total runs. San Francisco pulled off its first four-game sweep of Chicago since June 17-20, 1999, at Candlestick Park."Pitching was just outstanding," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We scratched and clawed for the runs we got. These games could have gone either way."Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija matched his season high with five walks while striking out six in five innings. The right-hander allowed seven hits and two runs but has only one win in his last five outings.Pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas hit a one-out double for Chicago in the seventh for his fifth major league hit - all of them doubles - but the Cubs couldn't avoid an 11th straight loss away from Wrigley Field. It's their longest road skid since the 1954 team lost 11 in a row from June 18-29.Chicago also lost a one-run game for the 10th straight time.Pagan's single in the fifth followed a leadoff walk by Posey, and the Giants loaded the bases with no outs against Samardzija. The Cubs allowed the tying run on a fielder's choice by Brandon Crawford in which second baseman Darwin Barney flipped the ball to shortstop Starlin Castro at second. Castro didn't throw to first to try for the double play even though he might have had time to save a run."It's something that's obviously unacceptable at any time," manager Dale Sveum said. "Whether we could have turned the double play or not is irrelevant to not knowing how many outs there are in the most important part of the game. These things have got to stop happening or he's going to stop playing. These kind of things are things that my son does in high school maybe."Vogelsong allowed four straight singles and five total in the second, including consecutive run-scoring hits by Steve Clevenger and Samardzija. After leadoff man Tony Campana's single, Vogelsong received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti before fielding Castro's grounder and throwing him out on a close play at first.Vogelsong pitched seven innings and didn't walk a batter for the first time this season. Jeremy Affeldt recorded the final six outs for his first save in his first chance, getting a leaping catch from second baseman Ryan Theriot on Clevenger's high liner to end it."That was definitely the best all-around stuff I've had," Vogelsong said.Notes:
Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, rehabbing from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his left hand, might not return to the Giants until next Tuesday against Houston following this weekend's home series with the two-time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers. "We need to get him in shape to play third," Bochy said. "Hopefully we're not forced to make a change. That's in Pablo's hands."... Sveum is a former hitting coach, so the offensive woes have been tough. "You take things like this personally," he said. "I've lost sleep over it. You take pride in a lot of things, and that's one of them."... Injured Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez (right shoulder) is scheduled to take some light swings Tuesday. ... San Francisco RHP reliever Brad Penny, with Triple-A Fresno, is experiencing shoulder discomfort and not quite ready. ... Oakland and San Diego are the only other clubs without a sweep so far. ... After an 0-4 May, two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (2-6) tries Tuesday at San Diego to snap a six-start winless stretch since the right-hander beat the Padres on April 28.

Kevin White, Bears focusing on the present and not his unlucky past or uncertain future

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Kevin White, Bears focusing on the present and not his unlucky past or uncertain future

Kevin White had little interest in engaging with reporters on Wednesday, the first time he was made available to the media since suffering a season-ending broken scapula in Week 1 of the 2017 season. His answers weren’t combative, but they were short and terse. 

Then again, how was he supposed to handle yet another round of questions — none of which were unfair — about his star-crossed past or his uncertain future? He did offer up this quote-worthy line when asked what he’s learned about himself after all the adversity he’s faced since being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 Draft:

“Built Ford Tough.”

If White would rather live in the present than in the past or future, that’s fine. It’s actually ideal if the Bears want to get something out of him in the final year of his rookie contract. And it’s also the mindset preached to him by wide receivers coach Mike Furrey, his fourth position coach in four years in the NFL. 

“We sat down from Day 1 and I said listen, I don’t know anything about your past, I don’t want to know anything about your past,” Furrey said. “From here on out it’s just going forward and just doing everything that we can control day in and day out and that’s it. I won’t talk to you anything about tomorrow, I’ll only talk to you about what we’re doing today and how we’re building today.”

If the Bears hope to get anything out of White in 2018 — and if White hopes to revive his career without job security beyond this season — that narrow mindset is a good starting point. It’s even more important during OTAs here in late May, with there still being about two months until the Bears’ first padded practice and two and a half months before preseason play begins. 

The Bears insulated themselves from needing White to produce this year by adding targets for Mitch Trubisky in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton and Anthony Miller over the last two months. The spotlight is off White, in a sense, and he’s okay with that — “I don’t need attention,” White said, “I just come here and do my job.”

But in another sense, there’s an immense amount of pressure on White to prove himself worthy of a roster spot not in 2018, but in 2019. Not many receivers with White’s numbers — 21 catches on 40 targets, 193 yards, no touchdowns in five games — are able to hang around the league for long without being a special teams ace (like Josh Bellamy, for instance). Neither the past nor future for White is particularly rosy. 

So that’s why White said he doesn’t have any specific goals for the season: “Doesn’t matter,” he said, “As long as I’m out here.” 

All White can do is show up to Halas Hall and, eventually, Olivet Nazarene University ready to practice with a narrow mindset on that day, and that day only. If he sticks with that approach — and doesn’t suffer another horribly-unlucky injury — eventually, he’ll arrive at Lambeau Field in September for the season opener, finally given the opportunity to prove himself. 

But that’s a long ways away. For now, White’s well within his rights to not want to entertain any thoughts about what happened in the last three years or what lies ahead. 

“I don’t know the past and I don’t want to know the past,” Furrey said. “Everything from here on out is going to be everything in the future. We’ve kind of established that and that kind of allows him to relax a little bit and not be judged and to have all these things said about him — because I don’t know. I don’t want to read it, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t even want to know. 

“All I want (is for) him to be comfortable and be able to learn a new system and be able to learn it as fast as he can so he can go out there — and everybody sees it, he’s very gifted. He’s very powerful, lower body powerful. He can run, he’s got a great catch radius. He has all those intangibles and that’s exciting, but it’s really what you do with those every day. So we’ll just continue to have the daily routine and hopefully get better every day and then be able to put it together when we gotta go.” 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

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