Bulls

Montanez Continues To Dominate Pacific Coast League Pitching

Montanez Continues To Dominate Pacific Coast League Pitching

Sunday May 1, 2011
Posted: 5:55 p.m.
CUBSIowa AAA
Lou Montanez continued his tear Sunday afternoon for Iowa, which upended Omaha, 7-5, at Werner Park.

Montanez had three hits, extending his hitting streak to seven games while pushing his batting average to .432, second best in the Pacific Coast League. He also picked up his 28th RBI, which is also second in the league. Montanez has reached base safely in 20 of 21 games in which he has appeared this season.

Brad Snyder also had a big game, collecting a pair of hits, including the three-run homer that highlighted a six-run second inning. He extended his hitting streak to six games and is 12 for his last 32. Tony Campana also picked up a hit to extend his hitting streak to five games.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx 1-2 earned the win with 1 23 scoreless innings after coming on in relief of starter Jay Jackson, who lasted only 4 13 innings.
Tennessee AA
The Tennessee bats finally fell silent Sunday afternoon as they dropped a 4-1 decision to Carolina at Smokies Park.

The Smokies were 0-for-5 with runners on base and didnt score until the eighth inning when Marwin Gonzalez smacked a solo homer. Trey McNutt 1-2 allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.
Peoria A
Yordy Cabreras two-run double sparked a three-run sixth inning Sunday afternoon, lifting Burlington to a 4-3 victory over visiting Peoria at Community Field.

The Chiefs held a 2-1 lead before Yohan Gonzalez took the loss, allowing two of the runs on two hits in 13 of an inning. Austin Kirk started and allowed two runs on three hits over 5 23 innings. He also fanned seven.

Richard Jones had a solo homer for the Chiefs, who had only six hits. Matt Szczur had one of those hits, extending his hitting streak to nine games with a fifth-inning single. Greg Rohan, the Midwest League leader in RBIs, hits and doubles, missed the game with flu-like symptoms and a fever.

In other action, Justin Jacksons solo homer in the 10th lifted Dunedin to a 2-1 victory over Daytona at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Ryan Searle took the loss. Aaron Kurcz started and tossed five shutout innings. Matt Cerda had two of Daytonas four hits.
WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
The Barons frenetic season continued Sunday afternoon with a 6-4 loss to Mobile at Regions Park.

Birmingham, after allowing three first-inning runs, rallied to take a 4-3 lead only to see the BayBears tie it in the seventh and then score twice in the eighth. Kyle Cofield took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in 1 23 innings. Justin Edwards had started an allowed the three first-inning runs, all of which were unearned. He finished up by scattering eight hits over 5 23 innings.

Tyler Kuhn was 1-for-4 with an RBI and is hitting .343, good enough to place in the top 10 among Southern League hitters. Justin Greene was 2-for-4 with a homer and an RBI.

In other action, Winston-Salem was sent to its fifth consecutive defeat on Sunday as Wilmington rallied for three eighth-inning runs en route to a 4-2 victory at Frawley Stadium. Taylor Thompson 1-1 had a 0.82 ERA heading into his eighth-inning appearance before a Whit Merrifield two-run single gave the Blue Rocks the lead. The Dash managed only four hits. Charlotte also lost on Sunday afternoon, dropping a 9-3 decision to visiting Columbus. Lucas Harrell took the loss despite Johnny Nunez allowing six earned runs in a third of an inning of relief. Dayan Viciedo had a double and two RBIs. ... Hickory overcame an early deficit, rallying for a 4-3 victory over visiting Kannapolis. Jake Petricka allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings to suffer his first loss of the year. Mike Blanke had a pair of hits for the Intimidators.

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

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

usatsi_13914568.jpg
USA Today

Jim Boylen standing firm at moment of reckoning in Bulls season

It’s no secret that the Bulls’ season hangs in the balance. At 17-30, the team is at once three games out of a playoff spot and slated ninth in the current lottery standings. 

To hear head coach Jim Boylen and co. tell it, a playoff berth remains the more desirable of those two timelines. But according to Basketball Reference, the Bulls have the third most difficult remaining strength of schedule in the East. And worse, they’ll have to face the (immediate) future without Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and Daniel Gafford.

The loss of Markkanen — the most recent of that group to go down — has tipping point potential. In the Bulls’ first game without him, they mustered just 81 points at home against a swooning Sacramento Kings squad, shooting 8-for-37 from 3-point range in the process. The team’s need for secondary scoring outside of Zach LaVine glared

But, as Boylen has maintained all season, the Bulls are not going to change the way they play. They just need to play better.

“We gotta play faster, we gotta move the ball. I thought we had a couple possessions where the ball stuck. The ball can’t stick. We gotta move it, we gotta drive it,” Boylen said of the loss to the Kings before the Bulls’ Saturday night matchup with the Cavaliers in Cleveland. “I also think we missed some opportunities that we need to make.

“Our margin for error is not great. We have to make the plays we can make and make the shots we can make.”

For now, at least, the starting lineup won’t change (sorry #StartCoby crowd) — though Boylen said he’ll keep his rotation fluid. As for outside reinforcements being brought in?

“We have not talked about that. Doesn’t mean we won’t,” Boylen said when asked if the Bulls could actually pivot to ‘buying’ at the trade deadline, given their relative proximity to a playoff spot. “We’re in the middle of a really tough stretch of games, and a lot of games, so my focus has been on that.

“I love the guys we have,” he added. “And we’re gonna keep coaching and teaching the guys we have. I’ve got a good group, a coachable group.”

Absent from those adjectives was ‘interchangeable’ but that word has been ever-present in Boylen’s vocabulary through the ups and downs of this season. In his first full year at the helm, his primary goal remains clear.

“Because we’re establishing this system,” Boylen said when asked why, through thick and thin, the team’s playing style hasn’t changed, as it did last season after Boylen was hired. “Last year, we were tearing it down and then establishing it. Now we’re gonna keep establishing it.”

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

What White Sox fans wanted to know from Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria at SoxFest

What White Sox fans wanted to know from Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria at SoxFest

SoxFest brings the opportunity for fans to question team brass. And sometimes things can get a bit fiery.

This year, however, it was more of a victory lap for Rick Hahn after he loaded up the roster with an incredible amount of offseason acquisitions. Rick Renteria, too, got plenty of adulation after he came out and said the White Sox have their sights on reaching the postseason for the first time in more than a decade.

But there were still questions. Fans stepped up to the microphone and got some answers out of Hahn and Renteria during a pair of panels Friday and Saturday.

Here are some of the more interesting and pertinent questions and answers from the two sessions.

Extensions for Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito?

The White Sox have made headlines in each of the last two offseasons by handing out big-money extensions to Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert before they played a game in the major leagues. But Saturday brought a fan question about whether the team was planning more extensions, specifically ones for Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, two guys who broke out in a big way in 2019 and established themselves as the team's best all-around hitter and the ace of the starting staff, respectively.

These are not terribly pressing matters, obviously, as both guys are under team control for another four seasons. But the longer they go on their current deals and the longer they're allowed to keep improving, the more expensive they'll become to retain.

Hahn said that it's a White Sox priority to keep all of their talented young players together for as long as possible. He also mentioned that it has long been a part of the plan during the rebuilding process to be aggressive on extensions, as the team has shown with the deals for Jimenez and Robert. Players earn the right to reach free agency and explore the open market, but the White Sox do have a pretty good track record of retaining their own players, often on deals that have allowed them to keep some financial flexibility.

Tim Anderson in right field?

Whether it was a legitimate strategy proposal or a makeshift way to get Yolmer Sanchez back to the South Side, one fan suggested moving Tim Anderson to right field, pointing out Anderson's large number of errors at shortstop and that moving Anderson off the position would open room for Sanchez to work his defensive wonders on a daily basis.

Well, that suggestion didn't get much consideration from Renteria, who said rather definitively he will not be playing Anderson in right field.

The question might not have been the most realistic suggestion, but it allowed Renteria to express his belief in Anderson's defense. Though Anderson has made a ton of errors at shortstop — 88 of them in his four big league seasons — he continues to receive rave reviews from White Sox brass. Renteria said Saturday he believes Anderson will be "an elite shortstop in the big leagues," and Hahn said this weekend he believes Anderson will be a Gold Glove finalist one day.

As for Sanchez, he's still on the free-agent market despite winning a Gold Glove in 2019. And while the White Sox have shortstop spoken for with Anderson and second base spoken for with Nick Madrigal, eventually, Hahn was asked about the likelihood of a Sanchez return Friday night and basically reminded everyone to never say never.

More starting pitching?

Hahn said Thursday that while there likely won't be any more big-ticket additions, the White Sox busy winter might not be completely over just yet, with minor moves still being discussed by the front office. More starting pitching would seem to make plenty of sense considering there's not a ton of depth behind the five guys slated to make up the Opening Day rotation: Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease and Gio Gonzalez. Considering the plan for Michael Kopech has yet to be finalized and Dylan Covey is no longer with the organization, some small additions like the Ervin Santana deal last spring would be logical.

One fan asked why not add a slightly bigger ticket item, specifically bringing up free-agent pitcher Taijuan Walker, to further bolster the starting staff. Hahn wouldn't close the door on adding more starting pitchers but pointed out that because of the depth the White Sox have on the way — with Kopech factoring into things somehow and Carlos Rodon, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert all working their way back from Tommy John surgery — the White Sox might not be the most attractive destination for a mid- or bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher, who could see his opportunity to pitch vanish once all those arms return to full strength.

A return for Dane Dunning?

Speaking of starting-pitching depth on the way, Hahn did offer up some sort of timeline for one of those guys, saying that Dunning could be pitching for a minor league affiliate come "June-ish." That's a made-up month on the same level as "Smarch," but it's also a good sign for the White Sox, who saw Dunning flying through the system before his injury.

Hahn said at last year's SoxFest that if not for the arm injury he suffered in 2018, Dunning could have factored into the Opening Day rotation for the 2019 season. Considering that level of potential readiness — a level most likely altered in some fashion by the surgery and long layoff — Dunning might be someone who could play a role in the 2020 season.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.