Blackhawks

On The Farm: Tennessee Advances; Great Falls Ousted

On The Farm: Tennessee Advances; Great Falls Ousted

Sunday Sept. 12, 2010
Posted: 9:05 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS Tennessee AA
Tennessee used a home-run barrage to stagger West Tenn in the previous two games of its Southern League playoff series so it was no surprise that the long ball was the difference Sunday night at Smokies Park.

Steve Clevengers two-run blast in the fifth inning proved to be the difference as the Smokies bested the Diamond Jaxx, 5-2, to capture the best-of-five series and advance to the Southern League championship.

Clevenger followed Matthew Spencers one-out single with a blast to tight after West Tenn had tied the score in the top of the fifth with a home run of their own, a Guillermo Quiroz shot to left. Marwin Gonzalez tacked on an RBI single in the eighth for good measure.

Craig Muschko started and picked up the victory after allowing two runs through six innings. A nine-game winner during the regular-season, Muschko went 7-0 in July, August and September. He provided a steady influence in the Smokies biggest game of the year, striking out four and not walking a batter.

The bullpen tandem of Kyle Smit and Luke Sommer proved to be too much for West Tenn to handle as they combined for three innings of one-hit, shutout ball. Sommer was perfect over his 1 23 innings, earning the save.
WHITE SOXGreat Falls Rookie
The Voyagers were the dominant team in the Pioneer League during the regular season, particularly over the last three weeks. The post-season proved to be an entirely different situation for Great Falls, though, which was handcuffed by Helena once again Sunday
evening.

The Brewers bested the Voyagers at Centene Stadium, earning a 9-5 victory to capture their opening-round playoff series in three games. Helena moves into the Pioneer League final while Great Falls heads home.

Helena scored five third-inning runs to take a 6-0 lead and it was never close thereafter. Steven Upchurch took the loss, allowing all six of those runs in 2 13 innings. The bullpen didnt fare much better.

Ross Wilson had two hits, including a homer and two RBIs while Mike Earley added a solo homer. Ryan Hamme had three hits and picked up an RBI.

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

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Brandon Saad's breakout game

After turning in one of his best efforts of the season on Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks rewarded Saad with a promotion to the top-six again. And he took advantage of that opportunity.

In the first period alone, Saad recorded four shots on goal, scored his first of the season on the power play, drew a penalty and had a takeaway in 7:42 of ice time, which led all forwards. He finished with nine shot attempts (a season-high seven on goal) and 18:56 of ice time.

On his power-play goal, Saad battled for position in front of the net, called for the puck and scored on his second effort. He did all the right things and got rewarded, including on the empty-netter that sealed the victory.

"I've had some chances, especially as of late," Saad said. "But it's definitely nice for them to get in and get a win on top of that."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "He was excellent tonight. ... I thought he had great speed all over the ice, had the puck way more. We’re happy for him. Big factor in the win."

2. Erik Gustafsson's slap-pass becoming a thing

For the second time this season, Gustafsson contributed to a game-winning goal that involved a fake shot and slap-pass from the point. Patrick Kane was the recipient of the cross-ice pass and buried home the one-timer from the right faceoff circle

"I can’t score by myself, so it’s better to pass it," Gustafsson joked. "No, I know Kaner is out there. He’s always getting open when someone else has the puck so it’s easy to find him and there was one guy in front of me so I wanted to pass it."

3. Blackhawks cut down on high-danger chances

On Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks allowed 25 high-danger chances at even strength. It put them at the very bottom of the league for most on average per game, ironically falling below Anaheim.

Through two periods on Tuesday, the Blackhawks allowed zero and only five at 5-on-5 for the entire game. Certainly a 180 from two nights ago, and an area they will continue to build upon.

"We just took away those quality chances," said Corey Crawford, who made 24 saves and picked up his first win at home since Dec. 17, 2017. "I don't think they really had too many where they had time in front of the net to really think about where they wanted to shoot and our guys were on the right away in the middle of the ice and that'll give you a great chance to win a hockey game."

4. Special teams battle

There were a total of 20 penalty minutes (10 for Anaheim, 10 for Chicago), which meant lots of power play opportunities and not as much even-strength time.

The Blackhawks had four of them in the first period, and converted on the second try when Saad scored his first of the season. The penalty killed went 4-for-4, allowing a combined eight combined shots on goal but limiting the quality chances.

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

sale-world-series-1023.jpg
USA TODAY

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.