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ICYMI: Blackhawks hanging onto playoff hopes; Bulls injuries mounting; MLB opening week is here

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Blackhawks hanging onto playoff hopes; Bulls injuries mounting; MLB opening week is here

The Blackhawks playoff hopes are on life support, the injuries are mounting for the Bulls and the White Sox and Cubs ready their rosters for opening week. Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend.

Blackhawks

It wasn't the weekend the Blackhawks needed, but they are still hanging around in the playoff race. In back-to-back games against the Colorado Avalanche, the Blackhawks picked up two points and lost ground to the Avs, which hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

On Saturday, the Blackhawks lost 4-2 in Denver. They went 0-for-3 on the power play. The power play unit has been slumping in recent weeks.

The next night the same two teams met in the United Center. The Blackhawks couldn't get the win in regulation, which meant the Avs still got a point, but Duncan Keith scored the winner in overtime. With seven games left on the schedule, the Hawks are five points behind the Avs with a game in hand.

The Blackhawks now hit the road for three straight games away from the United Center.

Bulls

The Bulls got blown out by the Jazz 114-83 on Saturday. It snapped a two-game winning streak. The Bulls were shorthanded with Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. both sitting out the game. On the injury front, Chandler Hutchison and Wendell Carter Jr. were officially ruled out for the rest of the season. John Paxson said it is "kind of trending that way" for Porter, although they aren't ruling out a return for him yet. It sounds more like LaVine will return, but they are monitoring his patellar tendinitis.

Also, on the Bulls Talk Podcast, the crew talked about how Ja Morant would be a perfect fit for the Bulls.

White Sox

Eloy Jimenez's new contract with the White Sox became official on Friday and there was a press conference with Jimenez and Rick Hahn on Saturday in Arizona. A few hours after the press conference, Jimenez had his best game of the spring. He went 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk.

While Hahn wouldn't say officially if Jimenez would be on the Opening Day roster, it was assumed that he will be on the 25-man roster. Some of the rest of the names are yet to shake out though. Nicky Delmonico was sent down to Triple-A on Saturday.

Cubs

The Cubs are also trimming down their roster and made notable news by sending Ian Happ down to Triple-A to start the season. The outfielder had been up with the Cubs since making his debut in May of 2017. Joe Maddon said the move was made to allow Happ to get consistent at-bats in the minors and show improvement after struggling in the second half of 2018 and during the spring.

Additionally, the Cubs signed left-handed pitcher Tim Collins and optioned him to Iowa. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated Brian Duensing for assignment.

ICYMI: Wacky weather for Cubs; White Sox win series in Yankee Stadium

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Wacky weather for Cubs; White Sox win series in Yankee Stadium

The Cubs endured a rare snow-out on Sunday, but it could simplify things on the schedule going forward, the White Sox won a series in Yankee Stadium and Bears players return to Halas Hall. Here are some of the top stories you may have missed from the weekend in Chicago sports.

Cubs

The Cubs lost to the Angels on Saturday and were snowed out on Sunday, which meant a series split after the Cubs won on Friday.

Before Saturday's game, Javy Baez added to his growing legend by hitting back-to-back home runs in batting practice... left-handed. Baez isn't a switch-hitter and doesn't plan to become one. This was just Baez having fun, and showing off at the same time.

Kris Bryant got a day off on Saturday and is slumping in April, but Joe Maddon said he's still "in a good place."

As for the game itself, the Cubs lost 6-5 with a ninth-inning rally falling short after Kyle Schwarber couldn't check his swing on a third strike to end the game. It's safe to say Schwarber didn't agree with the call. He went off on the third base umpire who made the call and had to be contained by Baez, who was a baserunner on third base at the time.

Also, with Monday being Jackie Robinson Day, Doug Glanville wrote an emotional essay on Robinson's legacy and his impact on Glanville's life, even after retirement.

White Sox

A series that started with Eloy Jimenez hitting his first two career home runs and leading the White Sox to a 9-6 rain-shortened win on Friday, ended with the Sox taking two out of three from the Yankees on the road.

Ivan Nova took a hard-luck loss on Saturday. Nova gave up one run in six-plus innings of work, but the White Sox managed just one hit in a 4-0 loss. Nova did have some good memories in returning to Yankee Stadium and facing his mentor, CC Sabathia, in a pitching duel.

On Sunday, Tim Anderson stayed hot with his first career grand slam in a 5-2 win in the rubber game. Carlos Rodon had a rough first few innings, but settled down thanks to some magic words from pitching coach Don Cooper.

Bears

Bears players return to Halas Hall on Monday with the team's offseason program beginning. With the NFL Draft later in April and rookie minicamp soon after that in early May, things are starting to roll around.

When everyone gets to Halas, they will find a renovated building that features a new locker room, weight room and other goodies. There's also new faces on the roster and in the coaching staff. How will Matt Nagy handle all the changes?

 

ICYMI: Cubs lose series in Milwaukee, White Sox pitching struggles, Blackhawks end season

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Cubs lose series in Milwaukee, White Sox pitching struggles, Blackhawks end season

The Cubs' struggles continued with a series loss in Milwaukee, the White Sox couldn't keep the Mariners off the board in the first home series of the year and the Blackhawks wrapped up the season. Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend.

Cubs

The Cubs snapped a six-game losing streak with a 14-8 win in Milwaukee on Saturday, but still lost the series with a 4-2 loss on Sunday.

Theo Epstein shouldered some of the blame for the team's slow start. Jon Lester provided some perspective on the Cubs' early pitching woes. The Cubs are also not making a big deal out of Kris Bryant's early slump.

Javy Baez and Anthony Rizzo talked about blocking out the negativity that comes with a 2-7 record and dealing with the, as Baez put it, "bullcrap."

White Sox

The White Sox won the home opener against the Mariners 10-8 on Friday, but the bats couldn't keep up the rest of the series. The Mariners scored 29 runs in the three-game series and took two out of three.

Meanwhile, Tim Anderson was absolutely on fire all weekend, going 10-for-13 at the plate, and Daniel Palka is confident his season-opening slump will end soon. Also, Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start in 2019, but the White Sox are saying they never stopped believing in him.

Blackhawks

The Blackhawks finished the 2018-19 season with a 5-2 loss to Nashville on Saturday. They finished the season with a 36-34-12 record, The team's 84 points was good for 10th best in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks struggled defensively throughout the season. One way to fix that would be to possess the puck more. Would that be enough?

The group remains optimistic about the future despite going through a "lost season."