As of noon today, nobody has made any threats about moving or anything else around the ballpark. It’s a much cooler day at Wrigley Field, with the wind coming straight in off the lake. We talked a little bit about lineups today with Cubs manager Dale Sveum, whose team takes on the Padres and left-hander Eric Stults.
Starlin Castro again is in the fifth spot, as Sveum is going with his right-handed hitting lineup. Don’t get too used to Castro hitting fifth.
“In our normal lineup, he’s going to hit second,” Sveum said. “I don’t really want to get away from our normal lineup.”
Today’s lineup looks like this:
Here’s the rundown on injuries and illnesses at the Bulls’ Thursday shootaround:
--Kirk Hinrich (left calf bruise) did not participate and is most likely out for tonight’s Game 6 against Brooklyn at the United Center. Coach Tom Thibodeau declined to speculate on whether the injury could keep Hinrich sidelined beyond tonight’s contest. “We’re just going day by day, hour by hour,” he said. “There’s still 6 or 7 hours before tonight’s game, so we’ll see where he is tonight.”
--Luol Deng and Taj Gibson are still sick. They missed practice Wednesday, checked in at the Berto Center today to listen to the game plan and are game-time decisions tonight. Brooklyn’s Reggie Evans was also out sick yesterday.
One memory that probably helps fuel the Bulls right now is how last year's playoff series ended:
With time ticking down and the Bulls up by 1 in Game 6 at Philadelphia, C.J. Watson passed the ball to notoriously bad free-throw shooter Omer Asik. Asik missed both shots, the Bulls didn't get back on defense, Andre Iguodala made 2 free throws to win the series.
The decision to pass the ball probably helps explain why Bulls fans have booed Watson, now a Brooklyn Net, in the current playoff series.
So it was interesting late Wednesday night when Oklahoma City, trailing against Houston in the fourth quarter, decided to play Hack-Asik. The Thunder fouled the former Bulls big man relentlessly.
It’s been a busy couple of days on all Cubs fronts. For my “take” in tomorrow’s paper, I’ll get to some of the things regarding the Wrigley Field situation and Tom Ricketts’ threat/non-threat to move if the Cubs don’t get the signage they want in a renovated, er, “restored,” ballpark. My quick take here is that it was an odd time to be playing that card. Should have been done subtly months or even shortly after Ricketts bought the team, and it could have been done without making Ricketts look like a heavy. Speaking of odd things with this group, I also felt the “concourse” press conference a couple weeks back was awkward, too.
Before Game 6 arrives, let’s take a closer look at this question: When Kirk Hinrich doesn’t play, does Carlos Boozer’s performance suffer?
As great as Nate Robinson has been this season, it has seemed obvious that the Bulls are best with Robinson coming off the bench and Hinrich starting. Robinson’s tendency to take a lot of shots is often pegged as the reason. Here are the numbers:
--Boozer played in 63 games with Hinrich (including playoffs), averaging 14.8 shots per game, 17.2 points and a .501 field-goal percentage.
--Boozer played in 21 games without Hinrich, averaging 13.3 shots per game, 13.7 points and a .425 field-goal percentage.
It will be slightly warmer tonight at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out hard as the Cubs and Edwin Jackson take on Edinson Volquez and the Padres. Hang with us tonight even as you flip between the Cubs and Blackhawks. Let’s do a few leftovers from last night and get to our minor-league report below.
Manager Dale Sveum said last night the infield defense is indeed better with Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney back in there.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider's campaign is circulating a fundraising email suggesting that the Deerfield Democrat's 2012 election opponent, Republican Robert Dold of Kenilworth, is going to take another shot in 2014.
It's pretty direct: "We just got word that former Republican Congressman Bob Dold has decided to run again."
Here's the thing. The National Republican Campaign Committee says he hasn't decided yet.
"The NRCC is hopeful Mr. Dold will make a decision in the coming days to run for his seat again in 2014," said NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill.
It wouldn't be a shock if Dold made the run. The race for the 10th Congressional District in Lake and Cook counties was the closest race in the suburbs in 2012. And any number of factors could tip it in either direction.
Patrick Kane’s playoff mullet is back.
And he persuaded Blackhawks rookie teammate Brandon Saad to get one too.
“We got them yesterday,” Kane said. “It was one of those things I didn’t know if I was going to do, but I think when push came to shove it was kind of something fun to do for playoffs. I think a lot of my friends and people around the organization wanted me to do it for the playoffs. It’s something fun to do.”
Kane and Saad each have the razor cuts on the side.
“Saad’s is looking good too,” Kane said. “Hopefully we’ll have some time to let it grow.”
Saad said he had a mullet a couple years ago in juniors for the playoffs.