Cubs

Word on the Street: Hawks sign prospect Olsen

Word on the Street: Hawks sign prospect Olsen

Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
CSNChicago.com
Blackhawks ink prospect

The Blackhawks signed defenseman Dylan Olsen to a three-year, two-way contract on Saturday.

Olsen was the No. 28 pick of the 2009 draft for the Blackhawks. Olsen is currently a sophomore at University of Minnesota-Duluth. He has 12 assists in 17 games this season.

Olsen is playing for Canada in the 2011 World Junior Championships. (CSNChicago.com)

Weis to be named Florida's offensive coordinator

Reports came out Saturday that former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator at the University of Florida.

Someone, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the move hasn't been formally announced, says it will be made public Monday.

Weis is expected to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs throughout the AFC playoffs. (Chicago Tribune)

Vikings sign Juaquin Iglesias off Bears' practice squad

According to an NFL source, the Vikings have signed WR Juaquin Iglesias off of the Bears' practice squad and on to their 53-man roster.

Today was the final day for teams to make a move and Iglesias will be on the Vikings' roster for their season finale in Detroit.

Iglesias was the 99th overall draft pick for the Bears in 2009 and spent the entire season on the practice squad.

With the loss of Iglesias, the Bears have now lost their top two picks of '09 draft. Second round pick Jarron Gilbert was released in August. (Chicago Tribune)
Bulls players hate day games?

Bulls players have complained that they don't like day games, and proved it on New Year's Eve by shooting 39 percent against the New Jersey Nets.

"We didn't start playing hard, really, until the end, guard Derrick Rose said after the contest. Usually, you're taking naps right now or getting ready, putting your clothes on, heading to the game. That's why it's the NBA. It's going to be a challenge.

Kurt Thomas added, "I've never been a morning person and I know that, You've just got to find a way to get yourself up and ready to go. Definitely for myself, it's tough getting a little bit older, but you just find a way."

The Bulls still survived the game, due in large part to Carlos Boozer's double-double. (Daily Herald)

White Sox eyeing Soriano

The White Sox seem to have interest in reliever Rafael Soriano, but they might not have enough cash left to pursue him.

Soriano is looking for Mariano Rivera type money. (30MM)

After losing closer Bobby Jenks to the Red Sox, the White Sox will need to free up some more cash if they want to be considered a legit suitor for the top closer on the market. (mlbtraderumors.com)

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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