Hello sports fans, Carlos here giving you the latest Windy City Sports Report. In today’s report, did the White Sox keep a hold of first place? How are the kids progressing for the Cubs? How did the Bears do on their season opener?
Well, it was going to be an interesting week for the Sox. After stumbling a bit the previous week, they found their lead in the AL Central disappeared. They were tied with the Detroit Tigers atop the division. They started the week out with 3 games against the Minnesota Twins.
In the opener, the Sox did not let the horrible road trip bother them. Assisted by a Gordon Beckham homer and a good start out of Hector Santiago (making his first career major league start), the Sox won 4-2. With Detroit’s loss, the Sox again had some space between them and the Tigers.
In the second game, the Twins came out smoking, using a 7-run 2nd and a 10-run 5th to throttle the Sox 18-9. The Sox hit 10 doubles (a franchise record) but it went for naught. They could not take advantage of a second straight loss by the Tigers.
In the rubber game, Alex Rios provided all the offense for a Sox 6-2 victory. He hit a grand slam in the 1st inning, and added a 2-run shot in the 6th to help Jake Peavy get his 10th win of the season. The win kept the Sox in sole possession of 1st place.
After a day off, the Sox faced those pesky Kansas City Royals-those same Royals who swept them a couple of weeks ago, and who have dominated the Sox for the last few seasons.
Despite hitting 3 homers in the opener, Addison Reed gave up a 2-run homer to the Royals’ Lorenzo Cain (his 2nd of the game) in the 9th that gave the Royals another win over the Sox. It was their 6th consecutive win over the Sox and their 9th consecutive win over the two division leaders (they swept the Tigers after sweeping the Sox).
The Royals were showing that although they have not had a successful season, they will not lie down and be road kill for the division elite. “I guess we’re going to try to shake things up a bit,” said Cain. “We’re going to finish the season strong regardless of what the standings look like right now. We’re going to try to go at them and beat them each and every night.”
Chris Sale was going for his 16th win in the middle game. He went 6 strong innings and left the game with a 5-1 lead. These are the Royals, however, so you know they had a run in them, and they did. They scored a run in the 8th and 2 in the 9th, and had the tying run at 2nd base, with Lorenzo Cain again facing Addison Reed with the game on the line. This time, though, Reed struck Cain out and the Sox finally beat the Royals.
There was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel in the rubber game. The Sox and Royals went toe-to-toe for nine innings, and went to extras with the game still scoreless. The Royals ended that in the 10th, however, scoring 2. The Sox also got on the board in the bottom half of the inning, scoring a run, and had the tying run on third and winning run on second with only one out. Royals closer Greg Holland struck out Alejandro De Aza and Ray Olmedo to preserve the Royals win. The Royals again win a series against the Sox, but with another Detroit loss, the Sox kept their lead intact. The best news out of the Royals series was the fact that there is only one more series between them, Sept 18-20 in Kansas City.
As I said, the White Sox still have a hold on the lead in the AL Central. In fact, even though they went 3-3 last week, the Tigers went 1-5 to give the Sox a 2 game lead heading into this huge week for both teams. Huge because the Tigers travel to Chicago to face the Sox in a 4-game series that could give one team a stranglehold on the division lead.
After the big series the Sox travel to Minnesota to face the Twins. We will see if that series has the Sox flying high trying to maintain their lead, or if they are trying to recover. We will see.
Over on the north side of Chicago, the kids continue to play. They opened the week with a 4-game series against the Washington Nationals. The thumping the Cubs got was not pretty. They were swept, getting outscored 31-9 in the process. In the final game, frustrations boiled over and the benches cleared twice, though no punches were thrown.
The beating must have woken something up in the youngsters that carried into their next series, against the Pirates at Pittsburgh. They opened the series with a 12-2 drubbing of the Pirates and kept on going, sweeping the playoff contending team. This time they did the scoring, outscoring the Pirates 20-7.
Whatever the near brawl did for the Cubbies, let’s hope it continues. This week they face the Astros in Houston before coming home and facing the Pirates again over the weekend.
The Chicago Bears opened their 2012-2013 season on Sunday with a 41-21 blowout of the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts. Luck was the top pick of this year’s draft, who some consider to be a can’t-miss player. He did have his moments in the game, but he spent most of it running around. He was sacked 3 times, threw 3 INT’s, and lost a fumble.
The Bears unveiled their new look offense on Sunday. With big receiver targets and a running attack that rammed in some touchdowns in goal line situations, the Bears showed that they could have a high octane offense that could keep up with the Green Bay Packers and give them a difficult time this season.
It did not start out well for the Bears, however. In their first 4 plays from scrimmage, they suffered a sack a bad snap, a penalty, and an interception run in for a touchdown.
Jay Cutler started out 0-8, but then the offense straightened out. He went 21-27 after that bad start and finished 21-35 for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns. His newest targets, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, also had good days. Marshall caught 9 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, while Jeffery caught 3 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Marshall and Jeffery were not the only newcomers to have a good day. Michael Bush had 12 carries for 42 yards and scored 2 touchdowns in goal-line situations. On defense, the newcomers had 13 of the team’s 51 tackles, with Kelvin Hayden recording a team-high 7.
One person who should get some of the credit for the great start of the season should be GM Phil Emery. He made the decisions to bring in the new faces and there is a new feel to this team. Yes, the game was against a poor Indianapolis defensive unit, but you could see that this offense was one that was looking pass first and the running game was secondary. Even with the game the Bears had, Emery is not finished adding more faces. Today he signed tackle Jonathan Scott to help bolster the offensive line.
The Bears do not have time to savor this victory. In just 3 days they have a battle against last year’s NFC North champions, the Packers, with the reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. The Packers lost their first game so they are looking to bounce back. Expect another epic game in the NFL’s oldest rivalry, and one of the bitterest rivalries in sports.
Well there you have it sports fans. Another fun, exciting week in Chicago sports. With critical games and rivalries on tap this week, let’s hope this one is more epic. Until next time, enjoy the final days of Buckingham Fountain for this year.