Youkilis' patience pays off in win over Royals


Youkilis' patience pays off in win over Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Like the majority of his peers, Kevin Youkilis is no fan of lengthy baseball games.
But the White Sox third baseman might be more adept than most in the way he handles those types of contests based on his experience playing in New York YankeesBoston Red Sox marathons.
Though he discounted the notion hes accustomed to longer games because of baseballs biggest rivalry, Youkilis clearly knows what hes doing. He fouled off nine pitches in a 14-pitch showdown with Royals reliever Everett Teaford before he drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly to center.
You just have to battle, hope you get a pitch and stick with it, Youkilis said. You dont change your approach, you just shorten up a little bit and try to put the ball in play. I think thats the key to baseball. When we change our approach, at times, you might have success once in a while. But over the long haul youre going to find failure. So just bear down, especially in extra innings. Guys are trying to end the game with a home run and thats not what you need sometimes. You just need to get on base.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura had to appreciate it when he saw Youkilis stride toward the plate with runners on the corners and one out in the 14th inning after Alejandro De Azas single to left advanced Gordon Beckham to third base.
Since he arrived in a June 24 trade, Youkilis has had a number of highlight-reel moments for the White Sox. Youkilis now has 15 RBIs with the White Sox in 14 games after he had 14 RBIs in 42 games with Boston.
At some point, you figure hes battling enough that hes going to be able to win that, Ventura said. Hes done it before and you expect it. Its a nice spot for him to be in. First and third, hes the guy you want up there.
Youkilis figured his teammates had battled long enough and wanted to reward them. Fridays game took 5 hours, 23 minutes.
Youre trying to end the game, Youkilis said. We had a couple of chances and scored and then they came back and scored. Youre just trying to go home. We dont get paid for overtime. We get paid really well for our jobs, but we just wanna go home and get ready for the next days game.

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona


Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

Bill Belichick scoffs at Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison

Bill Belichick scoffs at Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison

All of the good graces Bill Belichick may have won on Tuesday afternoon -- when he compared the Bears' offense to Kansas City's -- are officially gone. 

Today, when talking to reporters, a Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison came up. Belichick, who coached LT as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in the 1980s, was NOT having it: 

"Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in (LT’s) class. Put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor."

A bit harsh, Bill. 

For what it's worth, here's Khalil Mack's 2018 projection, assuming his latest ankle injury doesn't make him miss time: 

20 sacks, four interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries

That's .5 sacks less and four INTS, 16 FFs and 4 recoveries more than LT had in his 1986 MVP season. And yeah, maybe "they didn't record tackles/fumbles in 1986" and "16 forced fumbles would not only blow the current record (10) out of the water but is just plain unrealistic" but whatever, we're just sayin'. 

UPDATE: shocker, LT agrees: