Cubs

No charges against Kane after Wisconsin weekend

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No charges against Kane after Wisconsin weekend

It was more than a year ago when Patrick Kane, sitting in his locker after a game, addressed a recent Deadspin article. Kane had missed two practice days with the flu; the story said his illness came after he was out drinking too much at a local establishment.

"When you see that, your heart kind of drops, especially when you're sick," Kane said at the time. "I'm here to play hockey. I think that website makes up a lot of stuff.

Its possible the site did make up that February 2011 story. Kane said the pictures accompanying it were probably from the summer. But when the site wrote about Kanes partying at a Madison, Wis., Cinco de Mayo celebration earlier this month, theres no doubt the Blackhawks forward was there, and doing just that.

How far things got out of hand is whats up for debate. Anonymous witnesses claim Kane choked a woman and said anti-Semetic remarks. As of now, its all just here-say. The Dane County (Wis.) DAs office said Monday that there are no charges against Kane. According to the Madison police department, a sergeant did have contact with Kane, but whatever his behavior was it did not rise to the level of an arrest.

As for the Blackhawks, all has been quiet. Requests to talk to Kane have been quelled thus far. Same goes for any team statements regarding the matter. Rest assured, you can be certain some team officials have followed up with him about the weekend.

Eventually, someone will have to talk about it. It will hang like a cloud over the team and, more specifically Kane, until he does. Kane was very quiet during the season, his focus seemingly on hockey and trying to adjust to the center position. But even if all Kane did was drink that weekend in Wisconsin, he at least needs to stop drawing attention to himself. Eyes and video cameras are on him constantly. And wearing a T-shirt with your past dalliances on your back just begs for attention.

Players vacationpartylet loose in the offseason. They always have. In the good-old days things were swept under the rug or flat-out ignored. But this is a different time. There is no such thing as off limits, and thats especially true when the subject puts himself out there so visibly.

So far, the incidents havent cost him. His latest behavior has led to team silence and likely some headaches, but no charges. On the ice Kane had a solid season, adjusting to the center position well and putting up decent numbers in the process. But what happens when the off-ice bad starts outweighing the on-ice good?

Kane has had a lot thrust on him at a young age, but hes hardly the only one in todays NHL. The leagues superstars have pressures coming from all sides and at all times. Handling it all the right way is the key. Kane needs to learn how to do that soon.
If he doesnt, it could cost him a lot more than a hazy weekend.

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

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USA Today

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Joe Maddon needed Mike Montgomery to get through at least six innings given the circumstances presenting the Cubs' manager before Game 2 of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Not only were the Cubs short a man in the bullpen (thanks to Brandon Morrow’s pants-related back injury), but Maddon had to use four relievers — including Pedro Strop for two innings — after Tyler Chatwood managed only five innings in Game 1 earlier in the afternoon. 

So when Montgomery — who had only thrown over 100 pitches once in the last two and a half seasons before Tuesday — saw his pitch count sit at 40 after two innings, and then 63 after three, he knew he needed to regroup to avoid creating a mess for the Cubs’ bullpen. 

What followed was a start that, statistically, wasn’t the most impressive of the five Montgomery’s made since re-joining the Cubs’ rotation earlier this year. But it was an important start in that the 28-year-old left-hander didn’t have his best stuff, yet didn’t give in to a good Dodgers lineup. And holding that bunch to one run over six innings was exactly what the Cubs needed in what turned out to be a 2-1 extra-inning win. 

“Especially when you don’t have have your best stuff, you always gotta — that’s when you really learn how to pitch,” Montgomery said. 

It’s also the kind of start that could be a major point in Montgomery’s favor when Maddon is presented with a decision to make on his starting rotation whenever Yu Darvish comes off the disabled list. Knowing that Montgomery can grind his way through six innings when his team needs it the most without his best stuff only can add to the confidence the Cubs have in him. 

Montgomery didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday, issuing more walks (four) than he had in his previous four starts (three). He threw 48 pitches between the second and third innings, and only 25 of those pitches were strikes. Of the nine times the Dodgers reached base against Montgomery, six were the result of fastballs either leading to a walk or a hit. 

Even though the Dodgers were able to bother Montgomery a bit on his fastball, Maddon said that’s the pitch of his that’s impressed him the most over the last few weeks. 

“He never got rushed,” Maddon said. “In the past he would seem to get rushed when things weren’t going well, when he spot-started. Overall, fastball command is better — even though he was off a little bit tonight, the fastball command still exceeds what I’ve seen in the past couple of years on a more consistent basis. The changeup, really, good pitch. He got out of some jams but I think the fact that he knows where his fastball is going now is the difference-maker for him.”

Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday after throwing two bullpen sessions last week. Maddon still doesn’t have a timetable for the $126 million right-hander’s return, and said he’s not entertaining what to do with his rotation until Darvish comes off the disabled list. But Maddon did mention Montgomery’s relative lack of an innings load — the most he’s thrown in a season in 130 2/3, which he did in 2017 — as a reason to perhaps not rush him into a permanent starting role the rest of the season. Going to a six-man rotation is a possibility, too, Maddon said. 

But the over-arching point is this: Montgomery will remain in the Cubs’ rotation as long as he keeps earning it. That can be the product of strong outings in which he has good stuff, or games like Tuesday in which he shows the Cubs the kind of resiliency most starters need to get through a full season. 

“I pitch well, good things happen,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always thought that. Opportunities, you just gotta make the most of them.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

For the second time in 1998, Sosa went back-to-back games with multiple home runs. After going yard twice on June 19 of that season, Slammin' Sammy again sent two balls into the bleachers on June 20.

He singlehandedly beat the Phillies that night, driving in 5 runs in a 9-4 Cubs victory.

But that wasn't the most impressive feat of the day from Sosa. His second homer was actually measured at a whopping 500 feet! It was the longest of the season, but not the longest of his career. On June 24, 2003, Sosa hit a homer at Wrigley measured at 511 feet.

The back-to-back big games raised Sosa's season OPS to 1.083 with a ridiculous .685 slugging percentage. He began June 1998 with a .608 slugging percentage.

Fun fact: Kerry Wood struck out 11 batters in 7.1 innings on June 20, 1998 to pick up his 7th big-league victory. As Wood marched to the National League Rookie of the Year that season, he finished with a 13-6 record and 233 strikeouts in only 166.2 innings for a career-high 12.6 K/9 rate.