Cubs

Word on the Street: Blackhawks get super charged

Word on the Street: Blackhawks get super charged

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
CSNChicago.com

The Blackhawks get super powers

Meet "The Blackhawk." This character is the latest Stan Lee "Guardian" comic book character released from the NHL in anticipation of the All-Star game. Joining superheroes The King, The Penguin, and The Hurricane, The Blackhawk controls the element of wind. (NHL.com)

CubsSox rivalry goes too far

A suburban Chicago man was sentenced to three years in prison for blinding a man. The argument started when Cubs fan Boguslaw "Bob" Czapla and two of his friends disagreed with another party-goer about which Chicago baseball team was better: the Cubs or the White Sox. Sox fan Robert Steele lost his right eye and suffered a broken nose in the fight, only for defending his team.

Garza deal as good as done?

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports that the Chicago Cubs are wrapping up a trade for Tampa Bay Rays starter Matt Garza. But CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan has been informed of alternative information. He says three major league sources confirmed that there have been discussions about Garza between Tampa Bay and Chicago, but no deal is imminent. (CSNChicago.com)

Bears playoff tickets on sale

The Chicago Bears playoff tickets went on sale today, but the supplies did not last long. The window to buy was very short. Ticketmaster confirmed that all the tickets were sold within six minutes of the opening. Tickets can also be purchased from NFL Ticket Exchange and StubHub. (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

Too much love for Scalabrine?

Every time this guy steps on the court the crowd at the United Center goes nuts. But David Miller of The Deep Dish says that Brian Scalabrine is one of those players that fans love to love - despite the fact that he's not that good. But fans still cheer for him because he's a hard worker and never complains. (SB Nation)

Is Cutler ready to be playoff leader?

Jay Cutler will be making his first postseason appearance on Jan. 16 when the Chicago Bears take on either Philadelphia, New Orleans, or Seattle depending on the results of the wild-card weekend. Despite it being his first trip to the postseason, he is ready to be the leader in the huddle.

"My confidence really hasn't been shaken since Week One with all of the ups and downs that we went through," Cutler said. (Chicago Tribune)

Cavaliers hire homeless man

A homeless man in Cleveland gets his big break. The Cleveland Cavaliers offered Ted Williams a position to put his rich, velvety smooth voice to work. Team spokesman Tad Carper said that job could include working in the Cavaliers downtown arena, the Quicken Loans Arena. (Tribune News Service)

Adbert Alzolay makes some memories on an otherwise forgettable night for the Cubs

Adbert Alzolay makes some memories on an otherwise forgettable night for the Cubs

The Cubs lost an entirely forgettable game on Tuesday night, dropping the second of their four games against the NL East-leading Braves by a score of 3-2. They left four men on base, only managed four hits, ran into two outs, and made one error in a game that was over well in time for a Clark Street nightcap, or three. 

What was memorable about Tuesday night was the performance of Adbert Alzolay, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect who was making his first major league start. The final line: 4.2 innings pitched, one hit, one run, four walks and four strikeouts. It’s certainly not the prettiest line you’ll see in tomorrow’s box scores, but the 24 year old passed the eye test with flying colors. 

“Everything was good - he was outstanding,” Joe Maddon said after the game. “I just think he hit a well there at the end. We just have to get him more used to that. Listen, he’s been injured in the past, he’s coming back - you’ve got to be real sensitive to the number of pitches and workload you put on him, because you can see how good he’s going to be.”

Things got off to an inauspicious start for Alzolay, whose first pitch of the game was crushed 413 feet into the left field bleachers for a leadoff homer, courtesy of Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. It would prove to be the only hit and run that Alzolay allowed on the night. 

“It’s just one pitch,” he said. “You have to keep working - the game continues. I was just starting the game, so if you lose your mind in that situation than you’re not going to last a lot of innings.

“Even after the home run, he came right back and said, ‘I’m fine’,” Maddon added. “Then he went up and got three really good hitters out. I liked the mound demeanor, we’ve just got to get him a little further along in regards to being stretched out.”

After coming out flat with his secondary pitches during his 4-inning relief appearance on June 20th, Alzolay flashed better command and execution of both his curveball and changeup. Half of his strikeouts came on the curveball - one to get left fielder Austin Riley in the 2nd and one to get Acuña in the 3rd. After throwing 13 changeups in his debut, Alzolay double that number on Tuesday (27). 

“I’m feeling really confident throwing the pitch in any count,” Alzolay said of his changeup. “Tonight I threw it a couple times when I was behind in the count and I got a good result after that, so I’ll just keep on throwing it.

“For us to get confident at something, you have to practice, you have to execute it, and you have to use it in the game,” said catcher Willson Contreras, who plated both of the Cubs’ two runs with a double in the 4th. “For him to be able to throw the changeup for a strike, and strikeout people, it’s really good - especially at his age.”

Maddon couldn’t answer when Alzolay would make his next start. With Kyle Hendricks eyeing a return around the All-Star break, there would seemingly be a few more opportunities ahead of the rookie. Given what he showed on Tuesday night, it’d be hard to argue against it.

"He can be really good in the big leagues," Contreras said. "He still needs to make adjustments like all of us, but with the confidence he has, the ability he has, and the way he prepares before the games, it's going to take him a long way."

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

White Sox fans saw a sight they hoped they'd never see Tuesday night.

Tim Anderson was helped off the field with an ankle injury in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, hurt while making a play on a ground ball on a wet night in Massachusetts.

The White Sox announced later in the evening that Anderson has a sprained ankle and that X-rays were negative. The team added that Anderson will be reevaluated Wednesday.

Anderson made an on-the-run throw to nab J.D. Martinez at first base, but a play that Anderson has made look fairly routine over the past couple seasons this time included a slip on the rain-soaked infield. The White Sox star shortstop fell to the ground in pain immediately. After having his ankle briefly checked by the trainer, Anderson was helped off the field, into the dugout and into the clubhouse.

The rain poured down on Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The start of the game was delayed a half hour, but the teams played through steady rains throughout, worsening playing conditions, something the White Sox and every team across baseball have had to deal with quite often this season.

The degree of Anderson's ankle sprain is unknown, but the sight of him coming off the field was a nightmarish one for the White Sox and their fans. A sigh of relief came with the team's update, which did not include the words "Achilles" or "tear."

Anderson has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise this season, earning AL Player of the Month honors after a sensational April and earning national attention for flipping his bat after home runs and his mission to make what he calls a "boring" game more fun. He's got a .317/.342/.491 slash line on the season.

Anderson is undoubtedly a core piece for the rebuilding White Sox, who can pen him in as their shortstop of the future as well as the present.

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