Cubs

Williams still looking to add before trade deadline expires

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Williams still looking to add before trade deadline expires

MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox general manager Kenny Williams was succinct when asked Sunday afternoon if he might possibly make any more trades.

Yes, Williams said without offering anything else.

Even after a wild five-week period where Williams completed trades, which brought Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano to the White Sox, the veteran GM will continue to try and find ways to further improve his first-place team.

While there are only precious hours remaining before Tuesdays 3 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline, Williams has plenty of time to make deals. Clubs can also acquire players who have passed through waivers before Aug. 31 and still use them in the postseason.

So with upgrades already made at third base and in the setup role, and Liriano in to bolster a young rotation, where else might the White Sox try to improve the roster? Heres a look at several possible positions:

Middle infield: With Eduardo Escobar gone in the deal for Liriano, the White Sox promoted veteran Ray Olmedo, 31, to the roster. Olmedo has 899 minor-league appearances at shortstop, where he has a .952 fielding percentage in 14 seasons. Olmedo also hasnt been in the majors since 2007, which could make him a temporary fix as Williams looks for a better solution.

Left-handed reliever: Currently the role of left-handed specialist belongs to rookie Leyson Septimo, who has all of 8 13 innings pitched in the majors. Left-handed hitters are just 2-for-16 this season against Septimo, who also only allowed four hits in 42 at-bats to lefties in the minors. But he is susceptible to walks -- he has issued four -- and had a difficult outing against all left-handers in Boston, where Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off him after he walked Carl Crawford and David Ortiz.

Veteran Matt Thornton has limited lefties to a .230 average over his career, but theyre hitting .256 against him this season, which may prompt Williams to add an arm.

Fourth outfielder: Jordan Danks has proven to be a capable defender who can play all three spots in the outfield. Danks 1.2 Ultimate Zone Rating -- a metric which measures how many runs he saves over the average defender at a position -- shows he has contributed in limited playing time. He also has 11 hits in 35 at-bats and can run, as evidenced by 18 steals at Triple-A Charlotte in 2011. But Williams may again prefer a veteran who could fill in if any of his starters are lost to injury.

The White Sox players are happy with the way their roster is currently constructed. The team feeds off a strong core of veteran players. Chemistry is strong this season and players have found a way to brush off bad times and never get too high when things have gone well. But even if Williams adds to the mix and alters the roster, the White Sox are confident they can handle another change or two.

Well welcome anybody at any time and Kenny knows that, pitcher Jake Peavy said. We feel very good about our chemistry we have in this clubhouse and are not in any way concerned about any move Kenny would make affecting that. Weve got a core group of guys who will keep each other going in the right direction.

'Season-defining win'? Cubs are here for it

'Season-defining win'? Cubs are here for it

Smiling came easy for Anthony Rizzo as stood at his locker and fielded questions in a robin-egg blue T-shirt that read: "positive vibes."

This was roughly a half-hour after he went through the high-five line telling all his teammates the 12-11 victory was a "season-defining win" for the Cubs.

Who knows if it will really be that big of a "W" for this ballclub in the midst of what has been an up-and-down season to this point, but there has certainly been no shortage of positive vibes around the clubhouse lately.

One thing's for certain: The Cubs will wake up Thursday morning in sole possession of first place again as the Cardinals lost to the Brewers in a rain-shortened game in St. Louis.

Yu Darvish and the Cubs bullpen squandered a 6-2 lead and then a 10-9 lead. Yet the offense picked up the slack, smacking 14 hits, including Kris Bryant's game-winning two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"We haven't won a game like that really all year, I don't think," Rizzo said. "They scored 9 runs in the fifth to seventh innings. Teams don't really win when that happens. Just a good, hard-fought, never-quit win."

Rizzo is right: The Cubs haven't won a game in which they allowed at least 11 runs since Sept. 2, 2017 when they beat the Braves 14-12.

The Cubs have claimed 14 of 17 games at home since the All-Star Break and are now 43-19 at Wrigley Field this season - a winning percentage approaching .700 to combat the .390 winning percentage on the road.

So is it a season-defining victory?

"That's what Rizz told me," Bryant said. "We were high-fiving there and Rizz told me this is a season-defining win. I mean, I can't disagree with him. It's one of those games where you don't feel like you're gonna win just because you take a lead and then you're giving it back, but we came out on top. 

"Definitely some good momentum. We're playing good at home here, obviously and just gotta roll with the records at home and on the road."

Early on, it looked to be a night where the Cubs would cruise to victory behind Darvish, who came into the game red-hot and had settled into a rhythm after serving up a two-run shot to the third hitter of the game.

But that wasn't the case, as Darvish served up four homers overall and Derek Holland and Tyler Chatwood combined to allow 4 runs while notching just two outs as the first arms out of the bullpen.

Before the game, Joe Maddon talked again about how he felt like the only way the Cubs would be able to pull away in a tight NL Central race would be if the offense got into a groove and for one day at least, they were certainly firing on all cylinders.

The only starter who didn't reach base safely at least twice was Kyle Schwarber, and he drove in 3 runs on a homer and a groundout in which he hustled down the line to avoid a double play. Darvish even chipped in with an RBI single in the second inning.

Yes, it was a good win. Yes, the Cubs can go to sleep feeling content and wake up feeling hopeful.

But the only way this becomes a "season-defining win" is if the next five weeks play out like they hope. There have been several wins before Wednesday that seemed like they could propel the Cubs - including the finale in Cincinnati on the last road trip where Bryant once again came through with a clutch late homer. And every time, the team failed to keep the good times rolling for an extended period.

This is all a moot point if the Cubs come out and look flat this weekend or fail to carry any momentum onto the road.

"We'll find out," said Maddon, who has been in this game for nearly four decades. "I mean, I've been involved in those seminal moments and all of a sudden, things switch. 

"I'll tell you one thing though - I liked the method at the plate. Nobody was grinding sawdust; everybody was up there nice and chill and were getting good hacks on good pitches. ... I liked that. That's what we need to get to that point."

Bulls Talk Podcast: Rookie survey surprise, Joakim will double-team anyone

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Rookie survey surprise, Joakim will double-team anyone

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Sean Highkin and Michael Walton join Kevin Anderson.

1:00 The great Chicken Sandwich Wars- believe the hype

5:15 Judging the Bulls missed free throw promotion with Chick-fil-A

9:25 The story of Michael Jordan betting with teammates on the Dunkin Donuts race

11:45 The myth of the special NBA Jams version with Michael Jordan

17:00 How Jordan would have used twitter in the 90’s

18:00 Which player in NBA history would have had the best twitter account

22:20 Are you with Devin Booker or Joakim Noah in the double-team debate?

25:37 On the NBA rookie survey and Cam Reddish winning ‘best career’ vote

Listen to the full podcast here

Bulls Talk Podcast

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