White Sox

I-Cubs Power By Albuquerque

I-Cubs Power By Albuquerque

Thursday April 21, 2011
Posted: 10:15 p.m.
CUBSIowa AAA
Lou Montanez grand slam capped a six-run third inning and powered Iowa by Albuquerque, 9-4, Thursday night at Principal Park.

Montanez was 4-for-5, pushing his average to .423. Hes in the top five in the Pacific Coast League in batting and is second with 19 RBIs. The rest of the I-Cubs combined for four hits, but it was more than enough for Jay Jackson, who joined the club from extended spring on Thursday to make his first start of the year.

Jackson, who had been fighting a sore shoulder, allowed two runs on two hits over five innings while striking out four. Polin Trinidad closed it out for his first save.

In other news, catcher Welington Castillo was called up Daytona. Castillo, who had a double and scored twice, had been recovering from a thumb injury wand was serving as a DH for Daytona until he was able to move back behind the plate. Pitcher Jake Muyco was released and INF Jonathan Mota was placed on the DL.
Daytona A
The Cubs earned their third consecutive victory Thursday night to retain a one-game lead over Clearwater in the Florida State Leagues North Division. The superb relief pitching of Brent Ebinger marked Daytonas 5-3 victory over Lakeland at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The left-hander pitched 4 23 shutout innings, striking out five and scattering four hits in after coming on for Zach Rosscup. Mike Burgess had two hits, including a homer and three RBIs, for the Cubs.
Peoria A
Arismendy Alcantara collected a career high four RBIs Thursday night as Peoria upended Beloit, 5-4, in a rain-shortened game at OBrien Field. Alcantara had a pair of hits, including a three-run triple.

Eric Jokisch 2-0 earned the victory. Greg Rohan went hitless in three at-bats, ending his hitting streak at 12 games. Peoria pitchers saw their scoreless-inning streak snapped at 23 13 innings when Beloit scored in the fifth inning.
Tennessee AA
Brett Jackson continues to tear through the Southern League though his efforts at the plate went for naught Thursday night as the Smokies dropped a 5-3 decision at Carolina.

Jackson had a pair of hits, including a solo homer, and has now hit safely in 12 of 14 games this year. The former top pick is hitting is batting .426 and took over the batting lead on the Double-A circuit. Hes also tops in OPS.

Trey McNutt 0-1 took the loss, tying a career high by allowing eight hits in four innings. He struck out four and gave up three runs in that stretch. Only two of the five runs three Tennessee pitchers allowed was earned.
WHITE SOXCharlotte AAA
The Knights have been streaky this season, starting out the year 5-0 before losing the next six straight games. Theyve begun a new winning streak, though, taking their second in a row Thursday night at Durham Athletic Park, this one a 6-4 victory over the Bulls.

Jeff Marquez 2-1 earned the win with a solid seven-inning effort. She allowed two runs and scattered six hits while striking out three. Only one of the runs he surrendered was earned, lowing his ERA to 1.50 in three starts. Anthony Carter pitched 1 23 perfect innings for his first save.

Gookie Dawkins three-run homer in the eighth inning proved to be the difference. Lastings Milledge had an RBI and drew a pair of walks but it still hitting .182 since joining the Knights. Alejandro De Aza, conversely, had three hits and is batting .333.
Winston-Salem A
The Dash lost their fourth straight Thursday night, this one a 7-6 decision to Wilimington at BB&T Ballpark.

Winston-Salem scored a combined three times in the seventh and eighth innings but could draw no closer after Wilmington had taken a 7-3 lead after four innings. Hector Santiago 0-1 allowed all seven runs in four innings as the Dash fell to 6-7.

Jose Martinez and Ian Gac each had three hits with Martinez effort pushing him to second in the Carolina League in hitting a .434. Jared Mitchell had a pair of hits and two RBIs as he extended his hitting streak to five games. ... Utility man Kyle Shelton and RHP Tyson Corley were promoted to Birmingham while RHP Addison Reed and INF Jake Oester join the Dash.
Kannapolis A
Matt Heidenreich pitched his best game of the season, earning his first victory Thursday night as Kannapolis defeated West Virginia, 4-1, at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Heidenreich 1-1, a former fourth-round selection, allowed three hits over six shutout innings. He was supported by Kannapolis 10-hit attack as five players collected two hits apiece. Dan Black had the biggest impact, hitting a homer and collecting three RBIs.

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

Will the White Sox make a big splash at the Winter Meetings?

1112_rick_hahn.jpg
AP

Will the White Sox make a big splash at the Winter Meetings?

SAN DIEGO — At the GM meetings last month in Arizona, White Sox vice president Kenny Williams teased that the team was going to do more business than usual.

We found out later that the White Sox met with Yasmani Grandal while out in the desert. And when the free-agent catcher got the richest deal in club history the following week, it was a sign the White Sox were serious about their intent to be aggressive and make some big splashes this winter ahead of a possible transition from rebuilding to contending in 2020.

The Grandal signing earned nothing short of rave reviews, but there’s still an awful lot on the to-do list for general manager Rick Hahn and his front office as the Winter Meetings get going here in Southern California. The White Sox have designs on adding a pair of starting pitchers to their rotation and landing an everyday right fielder. An everyday-type DH could also be in the cards, though Grandal’s arrival has at least provided a more realistic internal option in the form of a multi-player rotation. Bullpen help is never turned away.

Much of that could be addressed this week, with ample opportunities to cross those items off the list, even if in less headline-grabbing style. You’ll remember back to last year’s Winter Meetings, when the White Sox filled a hole in their rotation by trading for Ivan Nova.

But with no disrespect to Mr. Nova, most fans are waiting for a much bigger splash.

It’s what the White Sox tried to get done before they flew out to the West Coast. Just last week they reportedly made the highest bid in the Zack Wheeler sweepstakes, only for the 29-year-old free agent to take less money to play for the Philadelphia Phillies. Cries of “here we go again” from the fan base — still stinging from the way things played out with Manny Machado a winter ago — were quickly quelled by the financial details, and it sure seems there aren’t any more excuses for anyone to stick to the old talking point that the White Sox are unwilling or unable to spend. Wheeler’s deal, had he accepted it, would have broken Grandal’s weeks-old record for the most expensive contract in club history.

So will someone else actually take the White Sox money this week?

Certainly the possibilities are out there. Still searching for starting pitching, the White Sox could turn to Madison Bumgarner, who they’ve been connected to since Wheeler’s decision. The 30-year-old three-time World Series champ could play a Jon Lester type role in a different Chicago rebuild. Though plenty have expressed concerns over what effect his 1,948.1 combined regular-season and postseason innings will have moving forward. There are reasons to be skeptical, just as there are reasons to be optimistic.

If the White Sox don’t want to play at the tippy top of the starting-pitching market — they haven’t been heavily linked to either Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg — then Bumgarner is the biggest free-agent pitching splash out there. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel are in a similar strata of this free-agent market, but perhaps neither would generate quite as much buzz as arguably the greatest pitcher in World Series history.

The White Sox could also get splashy in their quest to fill the vacancy in right field. Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna are the two biggest names on the free-agent outfield market, and either would slot into the middle of the White Sox order. Neither would make for an ideal defensive selection, considering Castellanos’ ugly defensive stats in right field (which might exaggerate that reputation) and the fact that Ozuna is a left fielder who didn’t play a lick of right during his two years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Both, however, could make a big offensive impact. Ozuna had a ludicrously good season playing for the Miami Marlins in 2017, while the White Sox are plenty familiar with what Castellanos can do after he bludgeoned them in recent seasons with the division-rival Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox could potentially go off the board and chase someone outside of their stated positional needs, Hahn leaving everything on the table when he discussed his offseason approach at length last month. But neither paying a huge sum for Anthony Rendon nor coughing up prospects for Mookie Betts seems too likely at the moment. The fun thing about the Winter Meetings, though, is what seems likely or unlikely can change in an instant.

Speaking of trades, while Hahn signaled the White Sox have little interest in dealing their prized prospects for short-term gain, that market could provide opportunities for heretofore unmentioned splashes. Who knows if the White Sox have any interest in the biggest names being speculated about — Betts, Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant, etc. — but they’ve reportedly been chatting with the Los Angeles Dodgers about Joc Pederson. After supposedly trying and failing to get him in a trade last winter, his arrival on the South Side would probably be splashy enough, considering he had a career year at the dish in 2019 that included 36 home runs.

After last year’s Machado and Bryce Harper bonanzas, expectations have been raised. After the collective breakout of so many of the White Sox core players in 2019, expectations have been raised. The White Sox seem to have the ingredients to make their long-awaited transition from rebuilding to contending in 2020. Money allocated for free agents is one of those ingredients. While there’s more than one way to build a championship roster, including leaning heavily on the wealth of young talent already in the White Sox possession, those raised expectations have fans craving a splash.

So will the White Sox cannonball into the Pacific Ocean this week? Stay tuned.

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Bears' wild-card chances eroding after Week 14's results

Bears' wild-card chances eroding after Week 14's results

The Bears did their part to keep hope alive for a playoff berth in Week 14, defeating the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night and moving to 7-6 on the season. Unfortunately, they didn't get the help they needed around the league to enter Week 15's game against the Green Bay Packers with legitimate post-season juice.

The Minnesota Vikings, who currently hold the final NFC wild card that the Bears are chasing, handled their business against the Detroit Lions with their 20-7 victory in a game that was never close. Now 9-4, the Vikings' have a two-game lead over the Bears with one head-to-head matchup remaining in Week 17. Chicago needs to defeat Minnesota in the season finale and hope the Vikings lose one of their other two remaining games against the Chargers and Packers. Otherwise, it's on to 2020.

The bigger blow to the Bears' playoff hopes came in Los Angeles, where the Rams moved to 8-5 with their 28-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. This was a game Chicago needed the Rams to lose, considering they hold the head-to-head tie-breaker and play only one more game on their schedule that seems like a likely loss (49ers in Week 16). Los Angeles' other two games are against the struggling Cowboys and lowly Cardinals, and if they win both and end the year with the same record as the Bears, they'll have the advantage because of Chicago's loss in Week 11.

So what does all this mean? Week 14's results have the Bears' chances to make the playoffs at just 2%, according to FiveThirtyEight.  Essentially, nothing's changed, even after a win. Football Insiders is a little more optimistic; they have Chicago's chances at 4.4%.

Sunday's game against the Packers has meaning. The Bears are still alive, and a victory in Green Bay coupled with some upset losses by the Vikings and Rams could change the playoff picture quite a bit. If both Minnesota and Los Angeles lose, Chicago's playoff chances jump to 14%, per the New York Times' playoff predictor.

One game at a time. It's a mantra that's worked for the Bears over the last month of the season, and one they'll continue to preach until there's nothing left to play for.

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