by Carlos Nazario,
Hello folks, it is time for this week’s report. Would the White Sox stay afloat in the AL Central race? Have the Cubs traded away their high-priced stars? How is the Bears training camp going?
First up are the White Sox. They had a rough week the week before, losing 6 of 7 and falling out of 1st place in the Central. How would they bounce back?
Well, the Sox bounced back very nicely, thank you very much. They had a very short 3 game home stand against the Minnesota Twins. They went wild on the Twins, scoring 26 runs in a sweep. In the opener, Gavin Floyd came off the disabled list to win 7-4 against Francisco Liriano. The Sox big 3 of Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and Alex Rios each homered. It would not be the last the Sox heard of Liriano, however. More on that story later.
After sweeping past the Twins, the Sox traveled to Texas to face the powerhouse Rangers. They won 2 out of 3 games in Texas, beating the Rangers’ 2 best pitchers in Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison.
Winning 5 of 6 games this week catapulted the White Sox back into first place. After being down by 1 ½ games, they are now up by 1 ½ games over Detroit.
Now back to Liriano. On Friday, the Sox traded for the lefty. He has talent, but has struggled this season, posting a 3-10 record with a 5.31 ERA. Perhaps a move to a contender could rejuvenate the left-hander.
Liriano makes his first start on Tuesday against, whom else, his old teammates in Minnesota. The Sox play the Twins again this week before coming back home to face the Anaheim Angels.
The Sox are looking to reinforce their first place lead this week. With the non-waiver trade deadline looming on Tuesday at 4 PM Eastern, perhaps more deals are on the way for them.
Over on the North side, the Cubs again had a good week. They faced the contending Pittsburgh Pirates on the road and took 2 out of 3 in a series that had 3 pretty good pitching duels. Both teams combined for a total of 13 runs (9 for the Cubs 4 for the Pirates). Remember, the week before Cubs’ pitching allowed 12 runs IN ONE INNING!
After leaving Pittsburgh, the Cubbies came home to face the hated St Louis Cardinals. When the Cubs faced the Cards in St Louis, their pitching staff got torched for 23 runs, while the offense scratched out just ONE measly run. The Cubs were looking for some payback.
It appeared like more of the same in the opener. Starter Travis Wood again helped the Cubs go into the record books for something not good, becoming the first major league starting pitcher in history to give up a home run in each of the first 5 innings. The Cards bombed their way to a 9-6 victory.
The next 2 games were different, though. The Cubs pulled out a 3-2 win on Saturday when Reed Johnson bunted in the game winning run. Then on Sunday, in the rubber game, the Cubs ran out to a 2-0 lead early, only to have the Cards tie it up late. The game went into the 10th inning, when 1B rookie sensation Anthony Rizzo hit a 2-run walk off home run to give the Cubs a series win. It was the type of victory every Cubs fan loves.
On the trade front, no one has been traded yet. The Cubs thought they had a deal done with the Atlanta Braves for Ryan Dempster, but Dempster vetoed the deal. He was able to by having the 5/10 veto power. That means he has been in the league for 10 years, 5 of them with his current team. He used the veto so the Cubs are back at square one. There are reports that they are talking to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but nothing has come up yet.
We will see what the Cubs and Theo Epstein have up their sleeves in advance of the trade deadline. There are many suitors, but can they get the right offers?
On Thursday, the Monsters of the Midway Chicago Bears opened camp. This year’s camp opened to some great expectations for the team. There have been some key additions and subtractions that have Bears’ fans really excited. How excited? Well, when Denver started their camp they reported 4,600 fans attended. At the Bears second practice, how many fans were estimated? Over 10,000! THAT IS HOW EXCITED CHICAGO IS FOR THEIR TEAM! I will have more extensive reports about the Bears later this week. For now, Bear Down!
The Bulls made some news last week. They officially welcomed Kirk Hinrich back to Chicago, and officially waved goodbye to backup C Omer Asik. He is a good backup, solid defensively, but $25 million was just too much for the Bulls to spend on a defensive specialist. As a result, they signed Nazr Mohammed. Mohammed is a solid backup, and he returns to his home city. Could the reports of last week about the Bulls waiting 2 years before retooling and going after big free agents be true? The only players signed beyond the next 2 years are Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Carlos Boozer. It is expected, however, that the Bulls will amnesty Boozer’s contract. The other one that will probably be signed could be Taj Gibson. Some say the 2014 free agent class could be better than the 2010 class. We will see.
Well, until next Monday, enjoy your sports!