Bears

On The Farm: Sauer, Williams pace Winston-Salem

On The Farm: Sauer, Williams pace Winston-Salem

Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010
10:00 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOX

Winston-Salem (A)
Stephen Sauer pitched his best game in nearly a month Wednesday night as Winston-Salem bested Wilmington, 4-2, at Frawley Stadium.

Sauer went seven innings, his longest outing since July 19, which also represents the last time he won a game. The right-hander had lost three consecutive starts heading into Wednesday, allowing 14 runs over 16 23 innings over that stretch. He allowed only two runs against Wilmington, however, equaling a season-high with seven strikeouts.

Jon Gilmore and Ozzie Lewis each had a pair of hits for the Dash while Kenny Williams went 1-for-3 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Hes batting .344 (11-for-32) during the streak. Greg Paiml went 0-for-2, stretching his hitless streak to 13 at-bats since his return from Birmingham and 15 overall including his time in the Southern League.

Birmingham (AA)
The Barons got a great effort from their bullpen Wednesday night, hanging on to defeat Mississippi, 3-2.

The Birmingham pen pitched 3 23 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and a walk over that stretch in relief of Johnnie Lowe (5-4), who allowed two runs in 5 13 innings. Henry Mabee, Kyle Bellamy and Anthony Carter did the rest.

Eduardo Escobars RBI single in the second inning proved to be the game-winner after the Barons had scored two first-inning runs. Henry Mabee, Kyle Bellamy and Anthony Carter did
In other action, Danville scored six times in the seventh inning and bested Bristol, 9-5. Marcus Spencer had a homer and three RBIs for the Sox. ... Durham defeated Charlotte, 10-9, in 11 innings at Durham Athletic Park. Jeremy Reed had a pair of hits and four RBIs, giving him six RBIs in the first two games of the series. Mark Teahen was 3-for-4 with an RBI and is hitting .400 in 10 games with the Knights. ... Michael Blanke, Andy Wilkins and Ross Wilson each had a pair of hits for Great Falls in a 6-5 victory over Billings. It was Blanke's RBI single in the ninth inning that provided the margin of victory.

CUBS

Tennessee (AA)
Chris Archer has been gaining a great deal of attention for his pitching exploits at Tennessee but Rafael Dolis has quietly put together an impressive run of his own since moving up from Daytona in June.

Dolis was sharp again Wednesday night as Tennessee edged Hunstville, 2-0, at Smokies Park. He tossed five shutout innings while fanning five to win his second consecutive start while improving to 3-0 in his last five starts. Hes got a 2.11 ERA in 21 13 innings over those five starts.

Blake Lalli scored on a throwing error in the second inning to give the Smokies all the advantage they would need. Brandon Guyer was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Hes batting .456 (26-for-57) during the streak.
Daytona (A)
The Cubs moved back into a tie for first place in the Florida State Leagues North Division on Wednesday after knocking off Tampa, 6-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Daytona and the Yankees now share the Divisional lead.

D.J. LeMahieus two-run single in the third tied the score at two before Rebel Ridlings RBI single gave the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish. LeMahieu added another two-run single an inning later.

Alberto Cabrera earned the victory, his third in four outings, after striking out eight and giving up two runs in 5 23 innings.

In other action, Portland handed Iowa a 5-4 loss in a matinee at Principal Park. Jay Jackson (9-7) saw his six-game winning streak come to an end as he suffered his first loss since June 17. Jackson allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. The I-Cubs scored twice in the eighth and twice in the ninth but couldnt complete the comeback despite having the bases loaded with one out. ... Beloit defeated Peoria, 7-4, in 11 innings. Matt Cerda was 2-for-4 with an RBI. ... Boise upended Tri-City, 4-3, as Juan Serrano improved to 5-1. ... The Brewers beat the AZL Cubs, 14-4.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

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USA Today Sports Images

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

Despite losing 34 of his 48 games as the Bears’ head coach, John Fox’s players generally liked him and were disappointed to see him fired on New Year’s Day. That’s not to say they were blindsided by it — losing leads to people losing their jobs, even if the culture at Halas Hall had changed for the better following the disastrous end of the Marc Trestman-Phil Emery era. 

It was with that backdrop that Matt Nagy was offered and accepted the position of Bears head coach a week after Fox’s firing. Four and a half months later, Nagy has seemingly made a strong first impression on his new team, with one reason standing out among many: He’s genuine in who he is and what he does.

“I would say Nagy can be stern, and he can be playful also,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “I think when you’re a first-year coach, you want to win (over) your guys, and you want to be firm, and he’s doing that. You can’t really tell he’s a rookie coach or whatever. I feel like he was born for this, and he’s doing a great job.”

Granted, no player is going to publicly blast their new boss — especially not before he’s even coached a game yet. But veteran players also aren’t oblivious to who can and cannot work out as a head coach, and there haven’t been any “damning with faint praise” types of comments that were more common five years ago at the beginning of the Trestman era.

Will this win Nagy any games come September? No. But consider this sort of like team chemistry: It won't win a team anything, but if a team doesn't have it, it can be costly. 

“He’s a cool coach, man,” linebacker Danny Trevathan — who played for Fox in both Denver and Chicago — said. “He’s always giving us little details and smiling but we know he’s a hard worker just like we are. He’s up there working just like we are. He’s always putting us in the right position and he takes care of us. On the back end, where I come from, you take care of coaches like that. You go out and make plays for those coaches.”

From an observational standpoint, Nagy comes across as genuinely excited not just to be a head coach, but the head coach of the Bears. Players respect that approach — he's not coming in acting like a hired gun, and he's shown through these OTAs and practices that he cares about them, even if they haven't spent much time together yet. And he's also not strutting into Halas Hall every day with an over-inflated ego based on his promotion. That resonates, too. 

“I like the way he came in,” Trevathan said. “He came in humble but he was hungry. He came anxious, moving around in the meetings. I like that. That gets me fired up. I feel like we’ve got a good leader up here in the head coach.”

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.