Bulls

First Pitch: Buehrle seeks Opening Day redemption

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First Pitch: Buehrle seeks Opening Day redemption

Friday, April 1, 2011
9:03 a.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND The good news is that Mark Buehrle has been aces in his Opening Day starts. The bad news? The one exception came three seasons ago, here at Progressive Field.

The last time he started Opening Day in Cleveland, oh, it was an ugly one, Guillen said. Ill ask Mark: Please dont do that again.

Hopefully Ill do better than I did the last time we started in Cleveland, Buehrle smiled. Because that was 1 23 innings, and that was rough.

In that 2008 game, Buehrle gave up seven earned runs but escaped with a no-decision, as the White Sox drove Indians starter CC Sabathia out of the box early in an eventual 10-8 loss.

Buehrle is 3-1 lifetime with a 3.39 ERA in eight Opening Day starts. Remove 2008 from his opener resume, and the lefthanders Opening Day ERA falls to 2.08.

His Opening Day, 6-0 shutout of Cleveland a year ago both set a team record for most Opening Day starts and saw the two-time Gold Glove winner author the most spectacular fielding play of his career, a hockey kick-save, football-hike assist on a Lou Marson slap through the box.

Buehrle has had some big highlights vs. Cleveland in his career, but overall has scuffled some, going 13-15 with a 4.64 ERA, .804 OPS, 2.14 BB and 1.38 WHIP. Hes a touch better in his career at Progressive Field, Buehrle is 6-7 with a 4.13 ERA, .739 OPS, 2.29 KBB and 1.29 WHIP.

Heres how the Wahoos will line up vs. Buehrle:

1. Michael Brantley, center field (2-9, .444 OPS, two strikeouts career vs. Buehrle)
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, shortstop (6-29, .523 OPS, three walks, five GIDP)
3. Shin-Soo Choo, right field (10-26, 1.064 OPS)
4. Carlos Santana, catcher
5. Travis Hafner, designated hitter (14-60, .761 OPS, 15 Ks, six HBP)
6. Orlando Cabrera, second base (17-49, .866 OPS, home run)
7. Matt LaPorta, first base (3-16, .485 OPS)
8. Austin Kearns, left field (3-6, 1.167 OPS)
9. Jack Hannahan, third base (2-6, 1.095 OPS)

Pick to click? What's new, its Choo.

Fausto Carmona takes the bump vs. the White Sox, bringing a career record of 7-3 vs. the South Siders, with a 4.36 ERA, .729 OPS, 1.32 KBB and 1.39 WHIP. In his career at Progressive Field, Carmona is 24-28 with a 4.15 ERA, .720 OPS, 1.58 KBB and 1.40 WHIP.

Heres how the White Sox will attack the righthander:

1. Juan Pierre, left field (1-8, .347 OPS career vs. Carmona)
2. Gordon Beckham, second base (1-6, .611 OPS, three walks)
3. Adam Dunn, designated hitter (0-8, four Ks)
4. Paul Konerko, first base (4-11, two HR, six RBI, five walks, 1.465 OPS)
5. Alex Rios, center field (3-18, .417 OPS)
6. Carlos Quentin, right field (0-2, walk)
7. A.J. Pierzynski, catcher (6-21, .699 OPS, two GIDP)
8. Alexei Ramirez, shortstop (2-9, .522 OPS)
9. Brent Morel, third base (1-2, HR)

Outside of Konerko, the White Sox offense could scuffleunless Morel wants to spin some sophomore magic and take Carmona deep again.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Bulls draft night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Bulls draft night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, and Vincent Goodwill react to the Bulls taking Wendell Carter and Chandler Hutchison on draft night. They’ll discuss if the Carter- Carlos Boozer comparison is fair, and how the drafting of Hutchison will impact what the team does in free agency. Kendall and Will share what they expect from Carter offensively and how he’ll mesh with Lauri Markkanen. They’ll also explain Markkanen’s offseason transformation and why adding too much muscle could be a bad thing.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below 

Admitted promise or not, the Bulls knew they wanted Chandler Hutchison – and they got him

Admitted promise or not, the Bulls knew they wanted Chandler Hutchison – and they got him

Neither John Paxson nor Chandler Hutchison himself would admit to what many called the worst kept secret in the pre-draft process. So whether you believe the Boise State senior had a promise from the Bulls that they would select him with the 22nd pick if still available, what Paxson and Gar Forman made clear was that they wanted Hutchison. And they got him.

“There are storylines and rumors all the time in this business and to keep trying to respond to them is often difficult. We liked Chandler a lot,” John Paxson said at the Advocate Center. We scouted him early, we scouted him often and we had our eye on him. He knew we liked him. Most players know when you like them, if you show up a lot and you’re around.”

There was plenty to like. Hutchison blossomed as an upperclassman at Boise State - after a unique basketball upbringing - averaging 18.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in his final two seasons with the Broncos. His 6-foot-7 NBA-ready frame kept him closer to the basket, leading to the efficient scoring and a blistering 72 percent at the rim, but keeping him a work in project on the perimeter.

He projects as a plus-defender who can defend on the wing and on the block in small-ball lineups and, as a four-year college player, should find minutes in a wing-depleted rotation. Put another way: he’s versatile at a position the Bulls have needed since the day Jimmy Butler walked out the door. Any shooting will be an added bonus.

But was there a promise, Chandler?

“I didn’t have any guarantee on where I was going," he said. "It could have been anywhere. Honestly, my heart was racing from 15 on. It was an exciting moment, though.”

The Bulls drafting Hutchison kept the theme of the night in Chicago trending after they took Wendell Carter 7th overall: complementary pieces to help an improving roster. Where Hutchison excels – physicality, scoring at the rim, defending multiple positions – the players he’ll share the floor with don’t. It’s easier to hide Denzel Valentine, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen defensively with a physical perimeter threat.

Paxson and Forman mentioned Hutchison's “slashing” multiple times, and that physical, quick style will help a Bulls offense that ranked 28th in the NBA on shots 5 feet and in. That inefficiency was one of the major reasons the team finished 28th efficiency and often struggled to find secondary scoring.

That versatility spans more than just defending, too. Hutchison was asked to become a do-it-all for a Broncos team whose second leading scorer averaged 11.8 points, second leading rebounder averaged 6.6 boards and second leading passer averaged 2.6 assists. Hutchinson did it all for the 23-win Broncos. His usage rate was 33.0, 10th highest in the country and a slight tick above Alabama point guard Collin Sexton (32.5%). His passing, shot creating and eventual shooting make him a Swiss army knife on the wing.

“We think he can put it on the floor and create. He got to the lane a lot as a ball handler. His shot is getting better and better, we think he’ll be able to shoot it from NBA range at some point but that’s an area he’ll have to continue to work on,” Paxson said. “The more guys you have that can handle and create and pass, with the way our game is and the way our floor is spaced, we think he can do those things.”

Promises aside – Hutchison is represented by Chicago-based Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, who has plenty of ties to the Bulls – Hutchison checked all the boxes the Bulls were looking for, especially after they passed on wings like Mikal Bridges and Kevin Knox with the 7th pick.

“He addresses a position of need,” Paxson said. “We had debates all through this draft on wings and the type of player we wanted at that position. He fits.”