Cubs

Kannapolis Sweeps Lakewood In Impressive Fashion

Kannapolis Sweeps Lakewood In Impressive Fashion

Sunday April 10, 2011
Posted: 6:50 p.m.
WHITE SOXKannapolis A
The Intimidators swept a doubleheader at Lakewood Sunday, taking a marathon before winning a sprint. Kannapolis won the opener, 2-0, in 16 innings before taking the conventional seven-inning nightcap, 4-1.

Michael Blankes one-out, two-run homer in the top of the 16th was the difference but only part of the story. Jacob Petricka, the clubs second-round pick in 2010 out of Indiana State, made his first South Atlantic League start and tossed six no-hit innings, striking out a career-high nine. Petricka appeared in nine games for Kannapolis last year but all were in relief.

Addison Reed allowed a two-out hit to Domingo Santana in the seventh but the Claws would manage only two more over the next eight innings before Blankes bomb decided it. Four relievers followed Reed with Steven Upchurch pitching the final 1 13 innings for the win. Blanke was one of three players to collect two hits.

Lakewood managed only four hits in the nightcap as Spencer Arroyo earned the win with a strong five-inning effort. Miguel Negron went the final two innings for the save.

The Intimidators scored three fifth-inning runs to snap a 1-1 tie. Brady Shoemakers two-run triple was the big blow after Jeremy Barnes throwing error from third base prolonged the inning and let in a run.
Charlotte AAA
The Knights swept a doubleheader from Norfolk on Sunday, taking both games by a 2-1 count behind a pair of spectacular pitching efforts. It marks the first time in franchise history that Charlotte has started the season at 4-0. The Knights are the only team in the Division to come out of opening weekend undefeated.

Freddy Dolsi earned the win in the opener, allowing only a first-inning a run on four hits. He went six innings before Brian Bruney came on to earn his second save of the season with a perfect seventh inning.

The Knights managed only four hits as well, but one of them was a Tyler Flowers two-run homer in the bottom of the first.

Pete Whisler got the nod in the nightcap and was no less effective, allowing two hits over five shutout innings. The Tides once again managed only four hits with the deciding blow being Alejandro De Azas solo homer in the third. He finished with two hits and two runs scored.
Winston-Salem A
Jared Mitchell cooled off but Jose Martinez remained hot, helping to lead Winston-Salem to a 4-2 victory over Kinston at Historic Grainger Stadium.

Mitchell, the Sox former top pick, had been blistering through the seasons first two games but went hitless in five at-bats, striking out four times on Sunday. Martinez, however, went 2-for-4, including a double, while driving in a run. He hit .615 in the season-opening series, which the Dash won. Ian Gac also contributed with a two-run homer that sparked a three-run sixth-inning. He is 2-for-12 this season with both hits being longballs.

Hecor Santiago started but didnt factor in the decision after allowing a run and striking out seven in four innings. Ryan Kussmaul picked up the win despite allowing a run over his two innings. Tyson Corley earned the save with two scoreless innings.
Birmingham AA
The Barons suffered their first loss of the season, dropping a 4-3 decision at Montgomery. Kyle Cofield suffered the loss. Brandon Short drove in a pair for Birmingham.
CUBSPeoria A
The Chiefs blasted a trio of homers, including a three-run shot by the red-hit Greg Rohan, to romp by Cedar Rapids Sunday afternoon at OBrien Field.

Rohan, who has hit safely in three games, had a pair of hits, including the homer, and is hitting .429. Hes served as a catalyst in the middle of the batting order. Rubi Silva and Richard Jones also went deep as the Chiefs used a five-run fifth inning to blast by the Kernels. A throwing error by Kernals third baseman Jesus Campos fueled the fifth inning after Silvas one-out homer. The homer was Silvas first of his career.

Jeff Antigua 1-0 earned the win in relief of Cam Greathouse, who allowed four runs in 4 13 innings. Antigua allowed two runs on three hits in 2 23 innings. The first road game of the season will be played on Monday at Burlington at 6:30 p.m. Graham Hicks will start for Peoria while Jacob Brown starts for the Bees.
Iowa AAA
Tony Campanas four-hit effort paced Iowa on Sunday afternoon as they bested Round Rock at the Dell Diamond, 8-6, to take three of the four games in the opening series. The I-Cubs collected at least 15 hits for the third time in the series.

Campana scored twice and drove in a run and is hitting .467. He was at the heart of almost every Iowa rally, closing out the scoring with a run-scoring double in the eighth. Lou Montanez had three hits and drove in four runs and is batting .500.

Justin Berg earned the victory in relief. Right-hander Ramon Ortiz was added to the roster and will start Monday at Albuquerque. The 37-year-old Ortiz made 16 appearances (eight starts) with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and also made stops with triple-A Buffalo in the New York Mets system and triple-A Durham in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He was 3-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 28 games (14 starts) between the stops.
Tennessee AA
Brett Jacksons seventh-inning grand slam powered Tennessee to an 8-5 victory Sunday afternoon at Chattanooga.

The Smokies had trailed 5-2 heading into the seventh before Jackson, who finished with two hits and two runs scored, gave them a lead they would not relinquish. Tennessee tacked on runs in the eighth and ninth innings to end any doubt as to the games outcome. DJ LeMahieu added three hits.

Trey McNutt started and pitched 2 23 hitless innings for the Smokies but left after facing only 10 batters. Despite giving up three runs in his only inning, Ryan Buchter earned the victory.
Daytona A
The Cubs rallied from a five-run, first-inning deficit to defeat Brevard County, 11-7, at Space Coast Stadium and remain undefeated in the Florida State League action.

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

Cubs by the numbers: Key stats behind club's best start in over 50 years

Cubs by the numbers: Key stats behind club's best start in over 50 years

True or false: The last time the Cubs won a championship, they started 27-5.

False. The 2016 Cubs started 25-7. 

That 27-5 mark is what the Cubs' record through 12 games in this 60-game season equates to in a normal season. They're off to a 10-2 start, and each game this year is equivalent to 2.7 in a normal season.

One can debate the significance of that 27-5 mark, but what's certain is the Cubs are already 20 percent through their schedule and are off to a hot start. Their record is one of many impressive figures through the first fifth of the season. 

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Here's a few others, entering Thursday's game against the Royals.

28 — The number of runs the Cubs have scored in the seventh inning or later this season, tied for first in MLB with the Padres.

10-2 — The Cubs are off to their best 12-game start since 1969, when they started 11-1 (11-2 after 13 games). The 1907 and 1934 teams also started 10-2, and the 2016 team started 9-3. 

7 — Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish have each pitched seven innings against the Royals this week. According to the team, it’s the first time Cubs starters have thrown at least seven innings in three straight games against one team since Sept. 19-21, 2016 (Reds; Jason Hammel, Jon Lester and John Lackey). 

They haven’t thrown 7+ four straight times against one team since April 21-24, 2014 (Diamondbacks; Travis Wood, Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson).

3 — The number of Cubs managers, including David Ross, to win nine of their first 12 games managing the team. Albert Spalding (10-2 in 1876) and Cap Anson (11-1 in 1879) also accomplished the feat.

1.95 — Cubs starters have the best ERA in baseball entering Thursday. Their 0.81 WHIP also is No. 1 among all 30 teams. 

0.71 — Tyler Chatwood’s ERA through two starts, best among Cubs starters. He’s allowed a single earned run in 12 2/3 innings entering his outing on Thursday.

0 — The most important figure. The Cubs have had zero players test positive for COVID-19 since testing began ahead of Summer Camp.

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How Bears’ new coaching structure will help decide quarterback competition

How Bears’ new coaching structure will help decide quarterback competition

Let’s make one thing clear: When it comes down to making the final decision between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, Bears head coach Matt Nagy will have the loudest and final voice.

Whichever quarterback earns Nagy’s trust in executing the plays he plans on calling against the Lions in Week 1 will earn the starting job in Detroit on Sept. 13.

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But over the next four weeks at Halas Hall, it will be a collaborative effort among a restructured coaching staff to execute a fair and thorough competition. Besides Nagy, there are three other significant coaching voices with day-to-day influence in the biggest decision of the season. Here’s a look at each one of their roles:

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor

This isn’t the first time Lazor has helped facilitate a competition involving Nick Foles. In 2013, Lazor was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia, where Foles competed against Michael Vick and rookie Matt Barkley. Vick won the job out of training camp, but it was Foles who went to the Pro Bowl that year.

“When the decision was made that Michael Vick would start, there was no blinking for Nick. He just kept going, kept going,” Lazor said. “He got in the fourth game of the year, I believe at Denver, threw a touchdown pass. But then when Michael got hurt in the fifth game and Nick went in, he just took off and kept getting better and better and better. So I guess that would be the biggest thing as a coach that it didn’t affect his desire to continue to improve.”

That scenario is relevant because it’s one of the many circumstances that could unfold this fall. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and cancelation of offseason practices, Foles is naturally behind Trubisky at the start of the competition because Trubisky is familiar will his teammates and worked out with many of them over the summer in the Chicago suburbs. It's also worth pointing out that Trubisky has feasted on the Bears’ Week 1 opponent – the Lions – throwing 11 touchdowns to just four interceptions with a 106.3 passer rating in five starts against Detroit.

So it’s entirely possible that Foles comes off the bench to start games for the Bears this season, and Lazor’s experience from 2013 could come in handy if the competition spills into the regular season. In fact, the two are already reminiscing.

“Yesterday, he reminded me of something that I had said back in 2013 and it was really a cool experience for me,” Lazor said Thursday. “He probably doesn’t even know it. He brought up a coaching point … He told me how it affected him and I guess as a teacher and as a coach, what greater compliment can you get than for one of the guys who played for you to tell you that something you said that many years ago, he still remembers it today.”

Lazor is in his first season with the Bears and will have an entire offense to oversee (while also taking on some responsibilities that Nagy is shedding) but he will certainly have a voice in the daily evaluation of both quarterbacks.

Passing game coordinator Dave Ragone

While Lazor arrives on the coaching staff with previous experience with Foles, it’s Ragone who has intimate knowledge of Trubisky. He was involved in the original scouting of Trubisky coming out of college and was his quarterbacks coach for his first three seasons. They remain very close.

But Ragone is in a new role now, one that until Thursday, hadn’t been very well defined to the public.

“It’s one where being able to work hand-in-hand with Coach Lazor from the logistics of putting things together, to working with Coach Nagy, as well things that he had to do that were on his plate in the past and have now been passed forward to Coach Lazor, and obviously with my help as well, to get those things rolling,” Ragone said. “To me, being in this league as a coach now for a little bit of time here, having a chance to move into a coordinator role was something I thought was a great opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of.”

But in that role, with a broader scope of the offense to oversee, Ragone won’t be as hands on with the quarterbacks as he was in the past.

“For me, watching how this plays out is more about the offense in general than just the quarterback spot,” he said. “I know that’s where the spotlight will be on, but the reality is getting the other 10 guys to be in sync with whatever quarterback is gonna be behind center is obviously all of our goal going forward.”

In other words, Ragone still has an opinion and will be evaluating the competition, but the day-to-day, hands-on execution of the competition will not fall on desk like it would in the past. In fact, he hasn’t even spoken to Trubisky much about the details of the competition yet.

“I obviously know Mitchell inside and out. At least I think I do. It's my job to oversee other things and be where I'm needed to be for Coach Lazor and Coach Nagy,” Ragone said. “The conversations with Mitchell are more so how's my family, how are my kids? It's been those type of conversations. To me, it's not my role to get into those conversations with him right now.”

Still, Ragone’s relationship with Trubisky and his library of the quarterback’s performances over the last three seasons will be helpful in the evaluation.

Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo

When it comes to the day-to-day execution of the competition, Nagy will rely heavily on DeFilippo, who enters his first season as the Bears’ quarterbacks coach. After two years of mixed results as an offensive coordinator (with the Vikings/Kirk Cousins in 2018 and Jaguars/Foles/Gardner Minshew in 2019), DeFilippo returns to a comfortable role in which he’s enjoyed success. The last time he was a quarterbacks coach, he helped Foles become a Super Bowl MVP with the Eagles in 2017. He was such a hot commodity at the time that he interviewed for the Bears head coaching gig that Nagy received.

Now, DeFilippo will play a huge role in helping Nagy pick his starting quarterback.

“I’ve got an idea of what I’m going to do to take it one step further than a normal practice that I’ve graded when we have an established starter,” DeFilippo said. “We’re going to take it to the next level a little bit in terms of accuracy, in terms of timing, decision making. We’re going to not just grade whether the ball was completed or not. We’re going to try to divulge into, OK, who’s the more accurate guy, who threw it on time, maybe who was the more mobile guy, who got us the first down with his feet? Little things that you have to make sure of for both guys.”

Much like Nagy, DeFilippo operates with an energetic swagger and confidence that rarely wanes. You can see why the head coach hired him to oversee what they knew would be a competition before the Bears even traded for Foles. While Nagy will make the final decision, it’s obvious he is delegating more this season, and DeFilippo has earned the trust to execute the day-to-day operation of the competition. No one will be around the quarterbacks more than DeFilippo.

“The definition of the quarterback coach, to me, is eliminating as much gray area as you can so the quarterback can play fast,” DeFilippo said. “So if you ask me the definition of my job, that’s my job. So I like to bring a lot of passion, energy and swagger every day to the field. I think it does rub off on our players … I’m not afraid to get after a guy if he’s doing wrong. I’m not afraid to pat a guy on the back. I just think that when you’re the same guy every day, whether you’re going through a four-game losing streak, four-game winning streak, whatever, I think the players respect that every day if you’re the same guy with the energy, passion and swagger at your job. And that’s what I like out of our guys as well — they’re the same guy every day.”

There certainly are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. But there’s only so much space available in a socially distant quarterback room. At least now, the roles of the coaching staff are better defined.

And when Sept. 13 comes around, there’s no doubt it will be Nagy making the call.

 

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