Bulls

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.

Lineup changes could be on the way for Bulls: 'It's still up in the air'

hoiberg.jpg
USA TODAY

Lineup changes could be on the way for Bulls: 'It's still up in the air'

It’s tough to call the position battle for the backup point guard spot on a Lottery-bound team important, but here we are two days into the Bulls’ season.

It won’t move the needle in NBA circles and Dwane Casey won’t be putting in additional time getting ready for Saturday’s game, but there appears to be potential for change in Fred Hoiberg’s rotation.

One day after an embarrassing display in a season-opening loss to the Sixers, Hoiberg said the Bulls have yet to make a decision on a potential lineup change for tomorrow’s affair against the Detroit Pistons. Kris Dunn, who missed Thursday’s game for the birth of his first child, was not at practice on Friday and may or may not be available for the home opener.

That could prompt changes after Cam Payne, inserted into the starting lineup, was largely ineffective, failing to score on 0 of 4 shooting in 21 minutes.

“We’re gonna see how practice goes today and then make that decision,” Hoiberg said. “It’s still up in the air on what we’re gonna do.”

The loss certainly can’t fall on just Payne, as the Bulls went lifeless after a 41-point first quarter that had them in the lead after 12 minutes. From there the Sixers outscored them by 29 in the second and third quarters, facing little resistance from a Bulls defense that doesn’t appear to have made much improvement from a year ago, Dunn or no Dunn.

Philadelphia shot 48 percent from the field, scored 20 fast-break points and 46 points in the paint, cruising to 102 points through three quarters before reserves finished things off. Even with Dunn the defensive prospects don’t look good, meaning Hoiberg might have to make changes to ignite the offense that scored just 35 points in those second and third quarters.

The Bulls could go a few different routes. Zach LaVine’s hot hand in the first quarter – 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting – saw the ball in his hands, and he even added two assists.

“It's a collective effort. You've got to have all five guys out there trying to play the right way and again, we found a recipe with Zach, especially in that first unit, where we let him bring the ball up the floor,” Hoiberg said. “We ran a couple actions where he was the facilitator and we put Cam in the corner. So a lot of that will be dictated by who has it going on a particular night and last night it happened to be Zach, so he was the one that was doing a lot of facilitating.”

Past a point guard-less lineup, the backups to Payne – Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis – could also see extended minutes going forward.

Arcidiacono had 8 points and 8 assists in 28 minutes, though the majority of those stats came in garbage time. Still, he hit a pair of 3-pointers and didn’t turn the ball over, and five of his assists resulted in makes at the rim.

Ulis, acquired off waivers last week, could inject some life into the second unit.

“He’s ready. He’s done a good job in practice,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve gone through the system with him as far as what we expect and if there’s a point in the game where he can go out there and we feel he can help us, I’m confident that he’ll go out there and give us good effort.”

The point guard rotation isn’t the key to unlocking the Bulls as a lockdown defensive team, or no longer suffering the offensive dry spells that happened Thursday. But in a season that’s already showing signs of adversity, shaking up the lineup might be Hoiberg’s only chance.

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

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USA Today

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

The Bears are back in Chicago and Tom Brady and the Patriots are in town! With a week of practice wrapping up today, here's what's been happening in the lead up to Sunday's Bears-Pats matchup: