White Sox

Draft: Cubs will target pitching, with potential A-Rod on radar

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Draft: Cubs will target pitching, with potential A-Rod on radar

SAN FRANCISCO There were egos involved on both sides, and a lack of precedent. But the Theo Epstein compensation talks with the Boston Red Sox dragged out for so long, in part, because the Cubs didnt have enough prospects.

The Cubs know they need to restock their system in next weeks amateur draft.

Baseball America and MLB.com have projected that they will use the No. 6 overall pick on Albert Almora, an outfielder from Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., and a University of Miami recruit.

Whether or not the Cubs use their top pick on a pitcher left-hander Max Fried of Harvard-Westlake School near Los Angeles worked out at Wrigley Field this week this will have to be addressed.

As an organization, I think our pitching depth is one of our bigger concerns, general manager Jed Hoyer said. We dont have a ton of arms in the minor leagues. I think the best organizations are littered with power arms.

Some guys will become starters, some guys will become relievers, but the best bullpens are built internally. And the more we can add those kinds of arms throughout the draft, the better.

That will be a focus, not just in 2012, but every year. It is a bit of an organizational hole, so our ability to close that will be real important.

Everyone from chairman Tom Ricketts to the major-league coaching staff watched Wednesdays workout, which also featured Carlos Correa, a 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound shortstop from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.

With Epstein, Hoyer and their top scouts standing near the cage, Dale Sveum threw batting practice to Correa, who impressed the Cubs manager by hitting to all three fields in a 20 mph wind at Wrigley Field, and showing some composure.

A reporter mentioned the comparisons between Correa and Alex Rodriguez, and Sveum could see the similarities.

Yeah, youd hate to ever say anything (like that), Sveum said. But I mean I played with A-Rod when he was 19 and it was kind of a lot of the same actions, the same body, the power. It was impressive. They told me to start working him away. He starts throwing it in the seats in right field with the 20 mph wind.

Beyond Fried and Correa, the Cubs are expected to meet with around 40 players in Chicago for final evaluations before the draft.

(This is) a whole new regime, Sveum said. (Theyre) probably a lot more hands-on than other people in the draft. Theyre doing their due diligence to make sure we get the right people that can impact this organization in a few years.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.

Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.

Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.

While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.

At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win. 

Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.

Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.

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