Cubs

On The Farm: Tennessee Cruises By West Tenn Again

On The Farm: Tennessee Cruises By West Tenn Again

Saturday Sept. 11, 2010
Posted: 9:25 p.m.

By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

CUBSTennessee AA
The Smokies continued their assault on West Tenn pitching Saturday night, cracking three more homers en route to a 9-2 victory at Pringles Park. Tennessee has a 2-1 series advantage in the opening round of the Southern League playoffs and will look to close out the series shifts back to Smokies Park on Sunday.

The long-ball barrage was simply a continuation of Fridays Game Two victory in which Tennessee connected for four homers. The Smokies had 14 hits on Saturday and have banged out 30 in the last two games. Tony Campana led the charge in Game Three with four hits, including a lead-off homer in the first inning, and two RBIs.

Russ Canzler and Matt Spencer also went deep for the second consecutive night. Blake Lalli was 1-for-6 and drove in two runs, making it a rather easy evening for Trey McNutt, who was making only his fourth Southern League start. He had gone 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA after moving up to Tennessee from Daytona late in the season but had little trouble against the Diamond Jaxx, who handed him a loss in his Double-A debut on Aug. 23.

McNutt scattered four hits over five innings, striking out six and allowing a run before turning things over to Marco Carrillo. He allowed a hit and fanned five over three shutout innings to end any hopes of a West Tenn comeback.

James Leverton got cuffed around a bit in the ninth inning but it was proved to be of no account, leaving the Smokies a win away from competing for the Southern League crown.
WHITE SOXGreat Falls Rookie
The Voyagers rebounded from an opening-game loss to defeat Helena Saturday night, 6-2, at Centene Stadium, evening their Pioneer League playoff opening-round series at a game apiece. The third and deciding game will be played Sunday afternoon at Great Falls.

Mike Earleys two-run single was the highlight of the four-run sixth inning that broke the game open for the Voyagers. Great Falls had rebounded from a 1-0 deficit, tying the score in the fourth inning before Ryan Hamme got the sixth-inning rally started with a lead-off double. Rafael Vera singled him in to put the Voyagers in front.

Dusty Harvard then reached on a error that put runners on the corners. He stole second and after a Kyle Davis walk, Earley singled in a pair. Ross Wilson then bunted home Davis.

Paul Burnside picked up the win after allowing a run over six innings. Doug Murray went the final three innings and despite giving up a run, earned the save.

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

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

The Wrigley Field basket has played a huge role in this week's Cubs-Reds series.

In Monday night's game, Cincinnati catcher Curt Casali hit a game-tying homer into the basket in the seventh inning of a game the Cubs went on to lose.

But the basket giveth and the basket also taketh away.

Tuesday night, it was Kyle Schwarber and the Cubs who were singing the praises of one of the strangest ballpark quirks in baseball.

Schwarber connected on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, hitting a fly ball through the impossibly-humid air and into the basket in left-centerfield for a 4-3 Cubs win.

"Whoever thought about that basket — whenever that occurred — tell them, 'thank you,'" Joe Maddon said. "Although it did work against us [Monday]. When it works for you, it's awesome."

Schwarber has stood under the left-field basket many times with his back against the wall, thinking he might be able to make a play on a high fly ball only to see it settle into the wickets and turn into a chance for a Bleacher Bum to show off their arm. 

But is he a huge fan of the basket now that it worked in his favor?

"I guess so," Schwarber laughed. "Yesterday, it cost us, but today, it helped us out. It's just the factor of Wrigley Field. Happy it worked out today."

It was Schwarber's first career walk off RBI of any kind.

It was the Cubs' fourth walk-off homer of the season, but their first since May 11 when Willson Contreras called "game" on the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The Cubs are now 4-1 since the All-Star Break and hold a 2.5-game lead in the division.

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease picked up a win in his first start, but his second did not go as well.

Cease pitched six innings Tuesday at the Royals and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven, but took the loss in an ugly game for the White Sox.

The game got off to an ominous start with Eloy Jimenez getting injured on the first batter Cease faced. The White Sox defense didn’t help Cease much either with three errors (Cease had one of those on an errant pickoff throw).

After giving up six runs in the first four innings, Cease settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

Cease struck out six in his first start and is the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out six or more in each of his first two career appearances.

A deeper look at Cease’s numbers show his swing and miss stuff hasn’t quite caught on as expected so far. Cease got 13 swinging strikes in 101 pitches in his major league debut. He got 12 whiffs on 108 pitches on Tuesday. His slider did get five swinging strikes on 25 pitches against the Royals.

Fastball command remains a key part to Cease’s success. He only threw 26 out of 54 fastballs for strikes in his debut. Cease improved upon that with 31 strikes on 50 fastballs against the Royals.

Most of the Royals’ damage came against Cease’s fastball as well. Six of the Royals’ eight hits off Cease, including all three extra base hits, were off heaters. Cease also gave up four hits with two strikes.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Cease since he joined the White Sox, but he hasn’t hit the ground running in the majors just yet. Having 13 days between the first two starts of his career due to the all-star break and the White Sox giving him some extra rest also isn’t the ideal scenario for a young pitcher.

Cease’s ERA is now at 5.73, which isn’t going to set the world on fire. Still, there have been enough positives in his first two starts to see where reasonable improvement could lead to Cease becoming the pitcher the White Sox expect him to be.

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.