Bulls

Sox show off bounce-back ability

773624.png

Sox show off bounce-back ability

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

One characteristic of the White Sox this season has been their ability to shake off bad losses.

Just in the past 12 games, theyve had to rebound from three of them -- 9-1 against Kansas City on May 13, 7-2 at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on May 16, and 9-2 against Minnesota on May 22.

Yet after their 14-7 victory over Cleveland on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox have won four in a row and eight out of nine, showing the distinct ability to ignore what happened in the past.

Alex Rios provided a microcosm of that attitude Saturday.

Rios was robbed of two extra-base hits with multiple RBI in his first three plate appearances. He still finished 3-for-5 with a home run and a double, while tying his season high with three RBI.

Theres no point to lose focus on the game because youre going to have a couple more at-bats that could be useful, Rios said. You get a little mad, but its not something thats going to take you away from your plan.

In Rios first plate appearance, he drove a Derek Lowe pitch deep into center field. But Michael Brantley timed it perfectly as he leapt to catch the ball over the fence, just to the left of the 400-foot marker.

Despite losing a three-run home run on the catch, Rios appreciated the stellar defense.

Its a good play, he said. With runners on base its an even better play. You have to understand that if its a good play, its a good play.

Rios followed that with an RBI single and later scored during Chicagos four-run third. But in the fourth, Rios was robbed again.

With Paul Konerko on second, Rios sliced a pitch down the right-field line only to see it end up in the glove of a sliding Shin-Soo Choo. Rios had the final say, though, as he finished with an RBI double and two-run home run in his final two plate appearances.

If I changed my mentality, it would have ruined my day, Rios said. So you just have to keep focused and look forward to the other at-bats.

Rios was only part of the story as the Sox set season-highs in runs and hits (17) while earning their fourth straight victory. Dayan Viciedo finished with a career-high five RBI, while Konerko continued his torrid pace with a four-hit, three-run, two-RBI afternoon.

The offensive surge helped Jake Peavy despite a less-than-stellar appearance. He gave up a season-high seven runs in 6 13 innings, yet also had a season-high nine strikeouts and earned the win to improve to 6-1.

Peavy said Rios exemplified what is becoming the signature of the White Sox under first-year manager Robin Ventura.

You should watch the attitude of this team, Peavy said. Watch what Alex went through. Were going to battle and grind this thing out to the end. You watch that attitude with a specific player (like Rios). Thats just the mentality were taking with Robin and this team.

Thumb injury leaves Wendell Carter Jr. on the outside looking in at NBA All-Rookie teams

Thumb injury leaves Wendell Carter Jr. on the outside looking in at NBA All-Rookie teams

Wendell Carter Jr. was on his way to becoming the second consecutive Bulls player to make an All-Rookie Team, but a thumb injury that required surgery in January ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in his omission.

The All-Rookie Teams were announced on Tuesday afternoon and, as expected, Carter was not on either. The seventh overall pick had a promising rookie campaign in which he averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Those marks ranked 10th, 4th and 2nd, respectively, among first-year players.

But Carter's thumb injury limited him to just 44 games. Of the 10 players who made the first and second teams, Memphis' Jaren Jackson Jr. played the fewest games (58) while the group averaged 72.8 games played.

Carter's thumb injury was initially diagnosed as a jam, but further testing revealed that surgery was the best course of action for the then-19-year-old (he turned 20 in April). The Bulls opted not to rush Carter back at the end of the season - a wise decision on multiple levels - and Carter, when he spoke with media members for the first time after undergoing surgery, said his goals had moved to the long-term.

“So many people have had this injury and they don’t get it taken care of and bones are coming out of their socket very easily,” Carter said. “I just wanted to eliminate all that. If I was to get in a cast and come back and the tendon didn’t come back out, then I’d have to wait another eight weeks and get the surgery. So I just went ahead and knocked it out to get it out of the way.

"It's all good. I'm just looking at the long-term now."

He was one of the league's youngest rookies but hardly played like it. He moved into the starting lineup for good just a few days into the preseason and wore multiple hats for the Bulls. Injuries to Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine thrust Carter into a significant scoring role for the Bulls, sometimes acting as the No. 2 option behind Zach LaVine early in the season.

He took on more of a traditional post-up role - with solid footwork making him a serviceable roll man - when those players returned and Jim Boylen took over, slowing down the offense. He shot a respectable 48.5% from the field and his 79.5% mark from the foul line showed a nice touch. But he also went 6 of 32 from beyond the arc in his rookie season. He'll need to find some more versatility on the offensive end, though there will be more floor spacing in his sophomore season after the Bulls added Otto Porter Jr. at the trade deadline.

He is one of five rookies over the last seven seasons to average at least 7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, joining Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid in that category. That's not to suggest that Carter will have the same career arc as those All-Stars plus Noel - he's got plenty to do on the defensive end - but in Carter the Bulls have found a defensive anchor and someone to complement Lauri Markkanen on that end of the floor.

He's a raw talent who showed promise as a rookie. And while it didn't result in an All-Rookie bid, the future is bright in the middle for the Bulls. Like many of his teammates, expectations will increase for Carter as they enter Year 3 of their rebuild.

Check out the All-Rookie Teams below.

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Wrigley Field, his night ended with Cubs fans giving him a rousing standing ovation. The former Cubs right hander tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cubs to victory in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS—their only win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that series.

Arrieta returned to Wrigley Field as a visitor on Monday night, making his first start against the Cubs since joining the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Ironically, Arrieta’s counterpart for the night was Yu Darvish, who ultimately replaced Arrieta in the Cubs starting rotation.

Despite now donning Phillies red, Cubs fans once again showed their love for Arrieta, giving him a lengthy standing ovation ahead of his first plate appearance. Darvish even stepped off the mound in respect for the moment.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters postgame. “[I’m] very happy that our fans would acknowledge him like that. Yu stepped away from the mound nicely. Jake deserved it.”

Arrieta tipped his helmet in appreciation for the crowd, taking in the moment for more than 30 seconds before stepping into the batter’s box. After the game, he told reporters that moment brought back memories of his time with the Cubs.

“That was something that really brought back great memories of getting that same sort of ovation pretty much on a nightly basis,” Arrieta said. “[I’m] very appreciative of that. I can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago, I really can’t.”

Arrieta took fans back to his Cubs tenure on Monday, throwing six innings of one run ball in the Phillies’ 5-4 10-inning win. Although the 33-year-old didn’t pick up the victory, he matched Darvish—who threw six innings of three-run ball—pitch by-pitch.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler noted how well Arrieta handled his emotions throughout the night.

“I thought he handled the emotions really well. I thought he was in control of the game even when we were down,” Kapler said to reporters. “He always maintained his poise and he just got stronger as the outing went on and that’s why we were able to have him take down the sixth inning for us.”

It’s well-documented how Arrieta’s career improved for the better after the Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2013. When the Cubs acquired him, Arrieta held a career 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts). He finished his Cubs career with a 2.73 ERA in 128 regular season starts. He also won five postseason games with the Cubs, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Despite moving on in free agency, Arrieta spoke highly of his time with the Cubs, their fans and the city of Chicago.

“Cubs fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them,” he said. “It means a lot, it really does.

"I’ll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization, everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career.”

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