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.

All Bull - Chicago Bulls

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.

All Bull - Chicago Bulls

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.

All Bull - Chicago Bulls

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.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Cubs' Rusin throws no-hitter for Iowa; Cougar honored

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 05/07/2014 - 15:31

While we await Cubs-White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, we have news that lefty Chris Rusin tossed a no-hitter for Class AAA Iowa this afternoon. The I-Cubs beat New Orleans 3-0 on the road, as Rusin worked 9 innings, giving up 2 walks while striking out three. He threw 118 pitches in running his record to 2-4 with a 3.58 ERA.

Rusin, who has seen major-league time the past few seasons, was up with the Cubs on April 12, and he pitched 5 innings in relief of Carlos Villanueva in a 10-4 loss at St. Louis. Rusin gave up 3 hits and 1 run that day, but more important, he saved the bullpen.

Today’s no-hitter was the first for an Iowa pitcher since Reggie Patterson in 1984.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Classy Cubs have parting gift for Konerko

Posted by scotgreg on Tue, 05/06/2014 - 17:57

As he dressed for his final game at Wrigley Field Tuesday afternoon – assuming the White Sox and Cubs don’t meet up in the World Series (wink, wink) – Paul Konerko joked about taking something from his tiny locker in the cramped visitor’s clubhouse as a keepsake.
Retiring at the end of the season after 17 years in the major leagues, 16 with the Sox, Konerko is going to be honored by the rival Cubs before tonight’s game and he’ll receive a proper parting gift.
“That’s the word on the street,” Konerko said.
It’s a classy move by the Cubs.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Abreu, Sale, lack of Sox-Cubs 'buzz'

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 05/05/2014 - 18:47

Jose Abreu, Jose Abreu, Jose Abreu.
The White Sox' new first baseman seems to be in the headlines every day, and Monday is no different.
Before the Sox took the field against the Cubs at chilly Wrigley Field tonight, Abreu was back in the record books.
Abreu is the first player in American League history - and second overall - to be named Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in his first month in the major leagues.
Last year, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig claimed double honors in June.
Abreu batted .270 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and 20 runs scored in 29 April games.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Charting the workloads of Cubs relievers

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 05/05/2014 - 18:16

It’s Cubs-White Sox week in Chicago. With the Blackhawks going full tilt in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and neither the Cubs nor the lighting it up, the atmosphere seems pretty subdued for the intra-city baseball series. As far as the Cubs go, manager Rick Renteria said reliever Hector Rondon is not available tonight after working in four straight games over the past five days.

Rondon suffered the defeat in last night’s 5-4 loss to the Cardinals. He threw 28 pitches, giving up 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 walks while striking out two.