Cubs

Cubs' valiant comeback falls short

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Cubs' valiant comeback falls short

Roy Halladay threw eight strong innings for his first victory in a month and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for an 8-7 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.Halladay (4-3) hadn't won since April 16, a span of five starts, and had lost three straight decisions to match a career high, but held the Cubs to three runs and scattered seven hits. The two-time Cy Young winner has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season.Chicago's Welington Castillo's stroked a two-out, three-run double in the ninth against Phillies LHP Jake Diekman to close the gap to two runs. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon came on and allowed an RBI single to Darwin Barney, but got Reed Johnson on a grounder to third for his 11th save of the season.While Halladay ended his modest skid, Cubs starter Chris Volstad (0-6) suffered his 19th straight start without a win. He lasted just two innings, allowing four runs, six hits and three walks. Volstad threw 58 pitches, a total Halladay didn't reach until there was one out in the sixth.Carlos Ruiz had his sixth career four-hit game and drove in three runs as the Phillies won a season-best fifth straight game. Jimmy Rollins had two hits, a walk and scored three runs. Hunter Pence added a two-run single.Philadelphia (20-19) moved over .500 for the first time since winning its season opener.The Cubs may have lost three straight, but Volstad hasn't won since July 10, 2011. He's gone 0-11 during his drought with a 5.40 ERA. His ERA rose to 7.46 for this season and it could have been worse -- the Phillies stranded five runners during his two innings.In addition to the bases-clearing double, Castillo homered and drove in a career-high four runs.Volstad's run support has been the lowest in baseball during his skid among pitchers with at least 15 starts, but his results have been increasingly poor in recent outings. He's allowed 15 runs over his last 17 innings, with 19 hits, eight walks and just four strikeouts.Halladay had lost five of his last six games against Chicago before dominating Thursday's game. He even chipped in with two hits and a run at the plate for his third career multi-hit game.Ruiz leads NL catchers with 27 RBIs and is 9 for 14 over his last four games. He even stole his first base of the season on the back end of a double steal in the first.Starlin Castro hit solo homers and drove in two runs for Chicago. David DeJesus had two hits and a run, extending his hitting streak to nine games.NOTES:
Phillies 2B Chase Utley reported no problems after taking grounders for the first time this season before Wednesday's game. Utley has spent the entire season on the disabled list because of patella tendinitis in his right knee. No timetable has been established for his return. . C Geovany Soto was a late scratch from the Cubs' lineup due left knee inflammation and was replaced by Castillo. Soto is listed as day-to-day. . Before the game, the Cubs selected the contract of RHP Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa and optioned LHP Scott Maine to Iowa. Parker was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in the minors and converted all five of his save opportunities. He made his debut in Thursday's game, striking out Ty Wigginton to begin his big-league career, but allowed three unearned runs on his own throwing error in the eighth. . Phillies 3B Placido Polanco sat out with a bruised left knee. He left Wednesday's game after fouling a pitch off his leg, something he's done several times over the last week.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

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NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: