Cubs

Penalties, turnovers to blame in Illinois loss

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Penalties, turnovers to blame in Illinois loss

CHAMPAIGN The Illinois football faithful are not suffering alone.
After a disappointing 31-17 loss on Homecoming, Illini head coach Tim Beckman said he has lost 22 pounds during his teams losing streak, which extended to five games on Saturday.
"You think I like losing? I havent been around it. I hate it," Beckman said. "Its not acceptablewe want to win and were not getting done."
Personal foul penalties, a muffed punt and a fumble were directly at fault for Illinois' woes against Indiana. The visiting Hoosiers scored 21 points after penalties or turnovers to hand Illinois a loss on homecoming.
Dont turn ball over, dont beat yourself, Beckman said. Indiana didnt have penalties, they didnt turn the ball over, and they won the game. No ones a good enough team to do those things and win.
Early in the game, however, everything was coming up Illinois. On the Hoosiers first drive of the game Ashante Williams came up with a big third down stop to force a three-and-out to get the ball in the hands of Nathan Scheelhaase. The Illini quarterback did not disappoint the homecoming crowd with his first chance of the day.
On the first play from scrimmage Scheelhaase found a wide-open Darius Millines for 28 yards, crossing into IU territory. Two plays later he kept the ball and rushed for 19 yards, setting Illinois up at the Hoosiers 26. Millines got back in on the fun shortly after, fending off a defender for a 15-yard catch and run, bringing Illinois to the three-yard line.
Scheelhaase finished the drive with an easy pass on the right side to tight end Eddie Viliunas for a three-yard touchdown. The touchdown was Illinois first since the fourth quarter of their Oct. 6 game at Wisconsin.
Indiana responded quickly, marching 75 yards in three minutes to tie the game at seven. A costly unnecessary roughness penalty on Terry Hawthorne led to large passing gains from Cameron Coffman to Cody Latimer and DAngelo Roberts. Those passes set up running back Stephen Houston, who put IU on the board with a three-yard run.
The Illinois defense responded positively to Indianas touchdown, however. On the next IU drive Michael Buchanan put heavy pressure on Coffman, forcing him to throw a floater right into the arms of defensive back Steve Hull.
Illinois offense came short on the next drive, but the defense got them the ball back quickly, forcing a punt deep in Indiana territory.
After getting the ball back, Illinois started to exploit holes in the Indiana defensive line. Running back Donovonn Young and Scheelhaase combined to run for three straight first downs from the end of the first quarter into the second quarter. With 12:12 left in the first half, Scheelhaase finished the drive with a five-yard run, giving Illinois a 14-7 lead over the guests.
The lead did not last long, as another personal foul penalty hurt Illinois on the ensuing Indiana drive. After a sack, Justin Staples was flagged for a late hit out of bounds, giving IU a first down. With Nate Sudfeld in at quarterback, the Hoosiers immediately capitalized. The new QB found Latimer open in the middle for a 48-yard gain.
Sudfeld finished the drive and tied the game with a 10-yard pass to Houston at 10:10.The Illini offense could not do much on the next drive, but the defense bailed them out by stopping IU in short order. The Indiana offense would not be driven from the field so easily, however, as Tommy Davis muffed the punt, giving the Hoosiers the ball back deep in Illinois territory.
Illinois got the Hoosiers in trouble again, forcing fourth and one, but were done in by penalties again. This time Glenn Foster jumped offside on fourth down, giving Indiana a fresh set of downs from the seven yard line. IU only needed one play, however. Houston scored his third touchdown of the day on the first play after the penalty, putting Indiana ahead 21-14.
The game would go to halftime without any further scoring, Illinois trailing 21-14.On the first drive of the second half, Young coughed up the football, setting Indiana up at the Illinois 20. Defense would hold firm, however, and force the Hoosiers to kick. Mitch Ewalds kick was good and IU took a 24-14 lead with 8:04 in the third.
The Illini offense came right back at Indiana on the next drive. Millines pulled in a pair of receptions over 10 yards to get Illinois deep in their opponents territory. Runs from Scheelhaase and Young would come up short, however, forcing Illinois to settle for a field goal.
Taylor Zalewskis kick with 2:33 left in the third brought Illinois back within a touchdown, 24-17.
Neither team would create much after the field goal, with Indianas defense coming up with timely stops and the offense content to run the clock down. The Hoosiers running game got on a roll midway through the fourth quarter, however.
Indiana ran the ball five times, marching from their own 40 to the Illinois 17. From there, Sudfeld ran a play action to the right and got the Illinois defense to bite hard. He then hit Shane Wynn at the other side of the field for a 17-yard touchdown reception, putting IU ahead, 31-17.
Scheelhaase led a furious drive in the final three minutes, finding receiver Ryan Lankford open three times for gains of 11, 24 and 15 yards. The drive reached the Indiana 15-yard line before the Hoosiers secondary came up with a stop.
After a sack and three incomplete passes, Indiana took over and knelt to kill off the remaining minute-and-a-half.
After the game, Illinois coaches and players lamented their inability to overcome errors and finish the game strongly. The Illini led in first downs (23-14), rushing yards(196-121), and passing yards (176-171) but could not make those advantages count.
We came out strong better than we usually did, but weve got to finish what we started at the end. This was a tough loss, Millines, who had a season high in receiving with 80 yards, said.
Were just not to the point right now where we can overcome any setbacks, offensive coordinator Chris Beatty said. When we sit back and get a penalty here or there, were not good enough to overcome that. At some point we will be, but right now were not.

Cubs fight back after Javy Baez ejection: 'We're not animals'

Cubs fight back after Javy Baez ejection: 'We're not animals'

If baseball wants stars that transcend the game, they need guys like Javy Baez on the field MORE, not less.

That whole debate and baseball's marketing campaign isn't the issue the Cubs took exception with, but it's still a fair point on a nationally-televised Saturday night game between the Cubs and Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Baez was ejected from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he threw his bat and helmet in frustration at home plate umpire Will Little's call that the Cubs second baseman did NOT check his swing and, in fact, went around. 

Baez was initially upset that Little made the call himself instead of deferring to first base umpire Ted Barrett for a better view. But as things escalated, Baez threw his bat and helmet and was promptly thrown out of the game by Little.

"I don't think I said anything to disrespect anything or anyone," Baez said after the Cubs' 6-3 loss. "It was a pretty close call. I only asked for him to check the umpire at first and he didn't say anything.

"I threw my helmet and he just threw me out from there. I mean, no reason. I guess for my helmet, but that doesn't have anything to do with him."

Baez and the Cubs would've rather Little check with the umpire who had a better view down the line, but that wasn't even the main point of contention. It was how quickly Little escalated to ejection.

"We're all human," Baez said. "One way or the other, it was gonna be the wrong [call] for one of the teams.

"My message? We're not animals. Sometimes we ask where was a pitch or if it was a strike and it's not always offending them. I think we can talk things out. But I don't think there was anything there to be ejected."

Upon seeing his second baseman and cleanup hitter ejected in the middle of a 1-0 game against a division rival, Joe Maddon immediately got fired up and in Little's face in a hurry.

Maddon was later ejected, as well, and admitted after the game he was never going to leave the field unless he was tossed for protecting his guy.

"He had no reason to kick him out," Maddon said. "He didn't say anything to him. I mean, I watched the video. If you throw stuff, that's a fine. That's fineable. Fine him. That's what I said — fine him — but you cannot kick him out right there.

"He did nothing to be kicked out of that game. He did throw his stuff, whatever, but he did not say anything derogatory towards the umpire.

"...You don't kick Javy out. If he gets in your face and is obnoxious or belligerent or whatever, but he did not. He turned his back to him. That needs to be addressed, on both ends."

Maddon and the Cubs really want Major League Baseball to get involved in this situation. 

There are many other layers to the issue, including veteran Ben Zobrist having to come into the game as Baez's replacement. Maddon was not keen on using the 37-year-old Zobrist for 1.5 games during Saturday's doubleheader and now feels like he has to rest the veteran Sunday to lessen the wear and tear of a difficult stretch for the team.

There's also the matter of the groundball basehit in the eighth inning that tied the game — a seeing-eye single that just got past Zobrist as he dove to his left. It tied the game at 3 and the Cardinals took the lead for good the following inning.

Does Baez make that same play if he were out there instead of Zobrist? It's certainly possible.

"The dynamic of our defense was lessened by [the ejection]," Maddon said. "Again, listen, if it's deserved, I'm good. It was not. They don't need me out there, we need Javy out there.

"And it surprised me. I stand by what I'm saying. It was inappropriate. MLB needs to say something to us that it was inappropriate because it was and it could've led to the loss of that game."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 37th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 37th homer 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.

Sosa's 37th homer of the 1998 season was a big one, an opposite field blast off the front row of fans in right field and into the basket at Wrigley Field.

The eighth-inning 3-run shot gave the Cubs some insurance in a game they ultimately won 9-5 and the Wrigley faithful responded by throwing a bunch of trash on the field.

Earlier in the contest, Sosa tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth inning. He finished with 4 RBI, giving him 93 on the season with more than 2 months left to play.

Fun fact: Vladimir Guerrero was the Expos' No. 3 hitter for this game an dhe also hit a homer (his 20th). Now, Guerrero's son is nearing his MLB debut as a top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system.

Fun fact No. 2: Mark Grudzielanek - who later played for the Cubs in 2003-04 - was Montreal's No. 5 hitter for the game at Wrigley. He was traded 10 days later from the Expos to the Los Angeles Dodgers for another fellow Cub - Ted Lilly.