Cubs

Turco in net, Bolland out as Blackhawks face Avs

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Turco in net, Bolland out as Blackhawks face Avs

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010
2:46 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

DENVER Dave Bolland is out with an upper-body injury and Marty Turco will get the start in goal when the Chicago Blackhawks face the Avalanche tonight at Pepsi Center.

The Blackhawks called up Ryan Potulny from Rockford to replace Bolland, who coach Joel Quennville said is day to day with an injury he sustained against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. The Blackhawks now have four players out of the lineup.

Our approach has been good (through injuries), guys have been upbeat and certain guys are getting opportunities, Quenneville said. Everybody goes through it, nobody feels sorry for you, nor should they.

Turco will get his first start since Dec. 3, when the Blackhawks were shut out by Vancouver 3-0. Corey Crawford, who has won seven of his last eight starts, is coming off what Quenneville called arguably his best game of the year, a 2-1 overtime loss to San Jose.

(Crawford) deserved a lot of consideration, Quenneville said. Certainly it wasnt easy.

Meanwhile, Quenneville said Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Fernando Pisani could all be skating today or Tuesday. Kane was expected out up to three weeks with that left ankle injury.

We think hes progressing well, Quenneville said of Kane. Well have a better indication when he starts to skate. Hopefully he can get on the ice the next day or two.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

The Wrigley Field basket has played a huge role in this week's Cubs-Reds series.

In Monday night's game, Cincinnati catcher Curt Casali hit a game-tying homer into the basket in the seventh inning of a game the Cubs went on to lose.

But the basket giveth and the basket also taketh away.

Tuesday night, it was Kyle Schwarber and the Cubs who were singing the praises of one of the strangest ballpark quirks in baseball.

Schwarber connected on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, hitting a fly ball through the impossibly-humid air and into the basket in left-centerfield for a 4-3 Cubs win.

"Whoever thought about that basket — whenever that occurred — tell them, 'thank you,'" Joe Maddon said. "Although it did work against us [Monday]. When it works for you, it's awesome."

Schwarber has stood under the left-field basket many times with his back against the wall, thinking he might be able to make a play on a high fly ball only to see it settle into the wickets and turn into a chance for a Bleacher Bum to show off their arm. 

But is he a huge fan of the basket now that it worked in his favor?

"I guess so," Schwarber laughed. "Yesterday, it cost us, but today, it helped us out. It's just the factor of Wrigley Field. Happy it worked out today."

It was Schwarber's first career walk off RBI of any kind.

It was the Cubs' fourth walk-off homer of the season, but their first since May 11 when Willson Contreras called "game" on the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The Cubs are now 4-1 since the All-Star Break and hold a 2.5-game lead in the division.

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease picked up a win in his first start, but his second did not go as well.

Cease pitched six innings Tuesday at the Royals and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven, but took the loss in an ugly game for the White Sox.

The game got off to an ominous start with Eloy Jimenez getting injured on the first batter Cease faced. The White Sox defense didn’t help Cease much either with three errors (Cease had one of those on an errant pickoff throw).

After giving up six runs in the first four innings, Cease settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

Cease struck out six in his first start and is the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out six or more in each of his first two career appearances.

A deeper look at Cease’s numbers show his swing and miss stuff hasn’t quite caught on as expected so far. Cease got 13 swinging strikes in 101 pitches in his major league debut. He got 12 whiffs on 108 pitches on Tuesday. His slider did get five swinging strikes on 25 pitches against the Royals.

Fastball command remains a key part to Cease’s success. He only threw 26 out of 54 fastballs for strikes in his debut. Cease improved upon that with 31 strikes on 50 fastballs against the Royals.

Most of the Royals’ damage came against Cease’s fastball as well. Six of the Royals’ eight hits off Cease, including all three extra base hits, were off heaters. Cease also gave up four hits with two strikes.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Cease since he joined the White Sox, but he hasn’t hit the ground running in the majors just yet. Having 13 days between the first two starts of his career due to the all-star break and the White Sox giving him some extra rest also isn’t the ideal scenario for a young pitcher.

Cease’s ERA is now at 5.73, which isn’t going to set the world on fire. Still, there have been enough positives in his first two starts to see where reasonable improvement could lead to Cease becoming the pitcher the White Sox expect him to be.

 

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