White Sox

Marshall: Look past black-white stereotypes on Bears new starting QB vs. 49ers

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Marshall: Look past black-white stereotypes on Bears new starting QB vs. 49ers

Jason Campbell is not Jay Cutler. That much is pretty obvious.

Jason's black and Jay's white, veteran sociologist Brandon Marshall pointed out on Friday. Then he urged looking past stereotypes when thinking of the Bears starting quarterback next Monday Campbell vs. the one who is down for at least the next game with a concussion.

You know what, it's the opposite, said Marshall, who moonlights as a Pro Bowl wide receiver. You would think Campbell would be like Michael Vick.

But J-Cut is like Vick, and Jason is more of a pocket guy, I would say. Cut likes to run around a little bit, so that's a little opposite. But because of the picture we paint on black quarterbacks, it's supposed to be a guy who runs around a lot, but Jason does a good job in the pocket, really reading coverage, really taking control of the offense.

Campbell in fact might like to think he has a little Vick in him, however.

We both have big arms, we both move around a little bit, he said, comparing himself to Cutler. We have differences in certain things we do and how we see things but were both pretty athletic.

But it is in the control of the offense that Campbells key lies.

Check-downs = avoiding sacks

Campbell had the nickname Captain Check-down with the Raiders, not totally framed as criticism. The moniker derived from his quick decisions to check down to secondary, safety valve receivers rather than take sacks, not an altogether negative tendency.

He has been sacked once every 15.5 pass plays for his career, compared with Cutlers once every 16.6. The latters numbers increased dramatically since coming to the Bears, whether for reasons of poor protection, poor decision-making, holding the ball too long, poor receivers or whatever.

Against a Houston defense that Campbell told CSNChicago.com was clearly stacking to take away deep balls in a one-score game, Campbell presented two different personas, mixing Captain Check-down with Air Cutler.

Cutler went to five different receivers in the first half vs. Houston. Campbell distributed the ball to seven in the second, his first action regular-season action since breaking his collarbone Oct. 16, 2011.

The Marshall Ratio

Ironically, Cutler has been questioned on his excessive targeting of Marshall. That occurred four times of 14 first-half attempts.

Campbell went to Marshall nearly twice as often, nine of 19 throws in the second half (47 percent), including once for 45 yards.

But where Cutler has made less use of backs and tight ends this season, and just five of 14 targets last Sunday, Campbell went to tight ends and backs nine times.

Cutler was intercepted twice inside the Houston 40; Campbell was not picked off and finished with a 70.9 passer rating, respectable for coming in rep-less in practice, in the rain, against the best defense in the AFC.

Campbell already is installing control as a guide.

I cant put so much pressure on myself to feel like, Ive got to make every play or Ive got to do this or do that, because you cant play the game that way, Campbell said. I cant be putting pressure on myself to feel like, This is your one game to dictate what youve got to do.

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

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AP

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

The Cubs and their fans may want to invent and use one of those Men In Black neuralyzers because the four-game series in Cincinnati was one to forget.

The Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday with an 8-6 win. The way the Reds won the finale will be especially painful for the Cubs considering they led 6-1 after six innings. Mike Montgomery appeared to tire in the seventh inning and Pedro Strop got rocked out of the bullpen to lead to a seven-run seventh for the hosts.

The Reds have now won seven in a row and 10 of 12, but still sit 13 games under .500. Bizarrely, the Reds also swept the Dodgers, the Cubs’ next opponent, in a four-game series in May. Duane Underwood will start for the Cubs Monday against the Dodgers and make his major league debut.

Here are some other wild facts and figures from the series:

  • The last time the Reds swept the Cubs in a four-game series was back in 1983. That was the first week of the season and three weeks before the infamous Lee Elia rant.
  • One positive for the Cubs from the game was Montgomery’s start. Through six innings he allowed one run on three hits and two walks. However, he gave up a single, a double and a single in the seventh before Strop relieved him. Montgomery had gone six innings and allowed one run in each of his last four outings.
  • Strop was definitely a negative. On his first pitch, Strop gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, the second home run for a Reds pinch-hitter in the game. Then Strop allowed a single, a walk, a single and a double before getting an out. Strop’s final line: 2/3 inning pitched, four runs, one strikeout, three walks, four hits.
  • The Cubs led in three of the four games this series, including two leads after five innings.
  • The Cubs were 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position in the series. On the season the Cubs are hitting .233 with RISP, which is 22nd in the majors and fourth-worst in the National League (but ahead of the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals).
  • The Reds outscored the Cubs 31-13 and scored at least six runs in every game. The Reds are now 6-3 against the Cubs this year after going a combined 17-40 against the Cubs from 2015-2017.