Tyler Flowers

Willson Contreras, Jon Lester carry Cubs to eventful win in the first game of the series with Atlanta

Willson Contreras, Jon Lester carry Cubs to eventful win in the first game of the series with Atlanta

The Cubs and Braves got through roughly one inning of Stranger Things Night at Wrigley Field before Willson Contreras made the evening his own. 

The catcher went 2-4 with three RBI, and provided the most notable moment from the game: a 2nd inning solo homer that caused both benches to clear. Contreras had taken issue with a few of the called strikes earlier in the at-bat, and said something to home plate umpire John Tumpane about it. Contreras continued to make his feelings known as he left the box, drawing the ire of Braves catcher Tyler Flowers.

“To be honest, those pitches weren’t even close to the strike zone,” he said. “[Flowers] got mad because I was talking to the umpire about that, and he jumped into the conversation. 

Contreras then proceeded to shout in the direction of Atlanta’s dugout while rounding first base, and the two catchers exchanged more words as he crossed home plate. The benches quickly emptied, and after a few moments of posturing, returned to their dugouts. 

“It was a lot of emotions together,” he said after the game. “I was having a conversation with the umpire, and it ended up with [Flowers], so that’s all I can say. I just basically told him to do his job and I’ll do mine. I don’t know why he got pissed off because that’s all I said - you do your job and i’ll do mine.”

“I was kind of amused by the whole thing,” Joe Maddon added. “I don’t really know Mr. Flowers - we had a nice conversation, walked away, and it was over. It really wasn’t worth more than what happened.

The confrontation was just one of a few testy moments between these two teams. In the top of the 2nd inning, Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson was caught on cameras shushing the Cubs dugout: 

Two innings later, it was Javy Baez who returned serve by blowing the Braves a kiss after stealing second on Flowers: 

“It’s fun because they’re good,” Maddon said. “And we’re good - that’s the fun part. Monday night, at 7:05, to have that kind of attitude and atmosphere is outstanding. That’s what baseball needs.” 

On the mound, Jon Lester bounced back from a run of three straight underwhelming performances. June hasn’t been kind to Lester, as the lefty had allowed 14 runs over the last 23 IPs prior to Monday’s start, good for a 5.93 FIP. He threw 94 pitches against the Braves, lasting six innings while allowing two runs -- both unearned, though -- and striking out seven. He only threw 94 pitches, but his control (0 BB) was excellent. Lester spotted his strikeout pitch well all night, getting four of his six right-handed K’s on the low outside corner:

“I just tried to stay down there, and had the backdoor cutter to those guys,” Lester said. “We were able to kind of exploit that, and then when we felt that guys were reaching out there a little bit, I ran the cutter in on some guys too. I was just able to command both sides of the plate tonight, which is huge against an offense like that.” 

“Great job by Jon,” Maddon added, “Jon had great stuff. Coming off of [throwing 114 pitches], he’s been throwing a lot of pitches on regular rest, so I wanted to limit that tonight. He was lobbying to go back out, but I didn’t feel good about it based on the longevity of the season and we had a rested Kintzler.

“But Jon was really good, and really good against a tough lineup.”

The White Sox all-time prospect team is sick

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AP

The White Sox all-time prospect team is sick

You know all about the current crop of White Sox prospects. Baseball America has five in its top 100. MLB Pipeline has seven.

But did you realize how many White Sox greats from the past three decades were rated as top-100 prospects?

Baseball Twitter had some fun earlier this week looking back at Baseball America's all-time top-100 prospect lists, the site's top-100 prospects for every year going back to 1990, and assembling all-time prospect squads for big league teams.

Well, I took a crack at assembling a 25-man roster for the White Sox, and it is very, very good.

Pre-2005 stars are well represented in this conversation, with guys like Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee and Ray Durham as no-doubt starters. But world champs like Tadahito Iguchi, Bobby Jenks and Jon Garland also made the cut. So too did a Hall of Famer in Frank Thomas and active players like Chris Sale, Jose Abreu and even Gio Gonzalez, who never pitched for the White Sox but had multiple stints in their farm system.

The choices were limited to guys who were ranked as top-100 prospects when they part of the White Sox organization. That, for example, is why you won't see Paul Konerko, who was a top-100 prospect (four times!) when he was part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

Oh, and I also decided to leave off current prospects like Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez because there's no knowing what they'll be just yet. They might one day dominate this list. Though I did include current catching prospect Zack Collins backing up Tyler Flowers because those were the only two White Sox catchers on the lists.

Here's my 25-man team, and let me know if I left someone off you would've included. The full lists are right here. Just Ctrl+F "White Sox" — or any other team you choose — to zoom down the lists.

Pitchers

James Baldwin
John Danks
Jon Garland
Gio Gonzalez
Roberto Hernandez
Daniel Hudson
Bobby Jenks
Brandon McCarthy
Jon Rauch
Addison Reed
Carlos Rodon
Chris Sale

Catchers

Zack Collins
Tyler Flowers

Infielders

Jose Abreu
Gordon Beckham
Joe Crede
Ray Durham
Tadahito Iguchi
Robin Ventura

Outfielders

Mike Cameron
Carlos Lee
Magglio Ordonez
Ryan Sweeney

Designated hitter

Frank Thomas

And if I was forced to play manager and write up a starting lineup ...

1. Ray Durham, 2B
2. Mike Cameron, CF
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Frank Thomas, DH
5. Magglio Ordonez, RF
6. Robin Ventura, 3B
7. Carlos Lee, LF
8. Gordon Beckham, SS
9. Tyler Flowers, C

Chris Sale, SP