Chicago's Inside Pitch

Hammel's (almost) exploding hand

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 05/21/2014 - 13:01

It’s a much brighter day here at Wrigley, with hazy sunshine coming through after a rainy Tuesday night, when the Cubs beat Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 6-1. It was Tanaka’s first lost since 2012 in Japan.

Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel was the winner, and he arrived in the clubhouse this morning with his right hand bandaged, the result of being hit with Brett Gardner’s comebacker to begin the game last night. Hammel said X-rays show he has a deep bone bruise and no break.

“When it hit me, I thought my hand exploded,” said Hammel, who is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale at San Diego.

Hammel has some swelling in the hand, but even as it swelled last night, he was able to continue pitching.

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Get ready for tonight's NBA draft lottery

Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 05/20/2014 - 12:13

The NBA draft lottery is tonight (7 p.m., ESPN). The Bulls are on the outside looking in this year, but do have two first round picks, Nos. 16 and 19 in the June 26 draft.

It will be interesting, though, especially with so many Eastern Conference teams at the top of the naughty list, led by Milwaukee.

The consensus top three players appear to be Kansas center Joel Embiid, Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins and Duke forward Jabari Parker, all freshmen. Most mock drafts have either Wiggins or Embiid going No. 1, but that could change as teams meet with the players.

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Love not a great fit for Bulls

Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 05/19/2014 - 08:37

Here’s a link to a story from April covering the chances of Minnesota’s Kevin Love finding his way to the Bulls.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140408/sports/140408361/

Yahoo and ESPN reported Sunday that Love has made it clear he will opt out of his contract next summer and is interested in finding a new home.

There is nothing new to the story, really. It was already obvious the Timberwolves will have to make a move with Love or risk losing him for nothing in return next year. A trade could happen during the summer or before the February trade deadline.

Love posted remarkable statistics this season (26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists) and would have been in the MVP conversation if Minnesota had finished closer to the top of the Western Conference standings.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Sunday brunch blog: Schierholtz sits; minor league notes

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 05/18/2014 - 12:59

It’s a beautiful Sunday at Wrigley Field, and it was a pretty quiet morning, with all of the media crush over at the United Center for the Blackhawks. As far as Cubs news, manager Rick Renteria said reliever Pedro Strop will head down to Mesa to continue his recovery from the left-groin strain that put him on the disabled list.

The Brewers throw right-hander Marco Estrada against the Cubs and left-hander Travis Wood today. About the most interesting lineup news is that Ryan Kalish has replaced the struggling Nate Schierholtz in right field. Schierholtz, who had a career season last year with 21 home runs, is off to a miserable start this year. He has no homers and a hitting line of .197/.248/.252.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Braun back for Brewers; more 'clutch' talk

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 13:13

Ryan Braun returns to the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup today as they take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field. We’ve got some sun and some clouds today, but overall, it’s a much more pleasant day than Friday. Carlos Gomez was supposed to return from his suspension and lead off for the Brewers, but he was a late lineup scratch with lower-back tightness.

Edwin Jackson starts for the Cubs today against former Cub Matt Garza. We’ll see if the Cubs lay down a bunt or two against Garza, who has trouble throwing to first base. Garza beat the Cubs 5-2 in Milwaukee on April 25.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Renteria: Samardzija a winner despite record

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 05/16/2014 - 12:58

It’s a raw, cold, wet day at Wrigley, and the tarp is on the field less than an hour before today’s schedule game against the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will pitch for the Cubs against Kyle Lohse. Despite his 0-3 record, Samardzija has as 1.45 ERA, which ranks second in the National League to Johnny Cueto of the Reds. Cueto’s ERA is 1.25.

Samardzija is winless in his last 14 starts dating to last Aug. 30. According to the Cubs and Elias, Samardzija is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to give up 3 or fewer in each of his first 8 starts to a season and not earn at least 1 victory.

Despite the record, manager Rick Renteria said Samardzija is a winner to his way of thinking.

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Bulls could be affected by coaching changes

Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 05/16/2014 - 09:54

The NBA’s coaching wheel could end up spinning into the Bulls, although it’s too soon to tell. Here’s a rundown of the coaching news:

STEVE KERR TO WARRIORS: At the surface, this moved seemed to be a surprising snub of Phil Jackson and the Knicks, but it actually makes perfect sense.

Kerr was intrigued by the Golden State job all along, but knew the Warriors’ first choice was Stan Van Gundy, so Kerr figured it was a matter of time before he settled on a deal to coach New York. When Van Gundy chose greater authority in Detroit, the Warriors made another pitch to Kerr this week, reportedly flying to Oklahoma City on Tuesday to meet with him before Game 5 of the Clippers-Thunder series.

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NBA should have fixed flawed replay system years ago

Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 05/14/2014 - 13:09

The red flag of NBA video review has been waving for several years.

Near the end of the 2009-10 season, while the Bulls battled for the No. 8 playoff seed, they played a game in New Jersey. Clinging to a 2-point lead in overtime, Derrick Rose drove into the lane, lost the ball out of bounds and the officials initially ruled Bulls ball.

But first they checked the replay.

The video showed a Nets guard – Devin Harris, if my memory is correct – reaching in from behind, grabbing Rose’s arm and causing him to lose the ball out of bounds. It was as obvious a foul as you’ll ever see and the referees missed it.

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Report: Pistons closing in on Stan Van Gundy

Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 05/13/2014 - 14:56

Stan Van Gundy is best known as the older brother of former Knicks coach and current TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy. But Stan might be the most underrated coaching free agents available.

Stan Van Gundy has been a head coach for seven full seasons. He's never finished with a losing record, his teams have not missed the playoffs and in five of those years, he advanced to the second round.

He was fired by Miami 21 games into the 2005-06 season and the Heat went on to win the NBA title. Van Gundy did reach the finals with Orlando in 2010, losing to the L.A. Lakers in six games.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Gillaspie back with Sox; Danks (not Semien) sent down

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 05/07/2014 - 18:06

Conor Gillaspie is off the disabled list and back with the White Sox for tonight’s interleague game against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field.
Marcus Semien, however, gets the start at third base for the Sox vs. Cubs lefty Travis Wood.
With Gillaspie (sore left hand) coming back from a rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte, Semien could have been sent to the minor leagues to clear a spot on the 25-man roster.
Instead, outfielder Jordan Danks headed back to Charlotte.
Semien doesn’t have a great batting average at .213, but all 3 of his home runs have put the Sox ahead in the seventh inning or later and he also hit the game-winning double in the 12th inning against the Cubs Monday night at Wrigley Field.