Bears-Packers: And the winner is...

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Bears-Packers: And the winner is...

The season has wobbled off its CSNChicago.com gyro (thats a gyroscope, not a Greek sandwich) the past several weeks. Not surprising, since the Bears have lost their compass over that stretch and possibly their season. Maybe their coach.
 
It is unlikely to get better Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers, based on current information and the CSNChicago.com crystal ball, which is getting a little foggy.
 
Before the season, here is how CSNChicago.com operatives saw the Bears and this game:
 
Green Bay Packers (2011: 15-1)    Sun., Dec. 16, noon
 
Analysis: The Bears will have won four straight and be playing with confidence and a need for payback. They will edge out the Packers for the NFC North title but Green Bay is not surrendering its crown willingly.
 
Result:    L    (10-4)
 
Well, the four straight was almost right, just not the won part. But this game could well be over within the first 15 minutes, definitely by halftime. The Bears are 1-6 over the past two seasons when trailing after one quarter (0-3 this year). That worsens to 1-10 over the past two seasons when trailing at halftime.
 
The last time the Bears faced the Packers they were outgained 87-0 in the first quarter based on yards lost on two sacks of Jay Cutler. They self-destructed to allow 10 points in the final 2 minutes of the first half, seven on a fake field goal and three on a field goal after a Cutler interception.
 
The Bears should still make the playoffs with a 10-6 record. This just wont be one of the 10.
 
Packers    24    Bears    16

Cubs slug their way to a sweep of Reds in Cincinnati

Cubs slug their way to a sweep of Reds in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (AP) Anthony Rizzo legged out his first inside-the-park homer on Wednesday - another unusual moment in a series full of oddities - and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 for a three-game sweep that got them back on solid footing after a rough week.

The Cubs went 1-6 last week, hurt by an injury-depleted lineup and a balky bullpen. With thousands of Cubs fans in the stands at Great American Ball Park for each game, they pulled off an invigorating sweep.

The NL Central leaders won the opener 11-8 as Kris Bryant became the first major leaguer with three homers and two doubles in a game. They won 7-2 in 15 innings Tuesday night in a game that featured Javier Baez's grand slam and three relievers playing left field alternately.

There was more wackiness in the finale.

Fire cut ties with Gilberto, mutually terminate contract

Fire cut ties with Gilberto, mutually terminate contract

Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said the club would likely be quiet in the summer, but they announced a big move on Wednesday.

The Fire and Gilberto mutually agreed to terminate the Brazilian forward’s contract, cutting him loose in the middle of the season.

The move is significant for a number of ways. First, it marks the end of another failed Designated Player for the Fire. Gilberto scored five goals in 10 matches after joining the team on July 27 last season, but had no goals and two assists in nine matches this season.

The second important thing to note is that Gilberto’s departure means the Fire now have an open DP slot. David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike are the remaining two DPs on the roster. Also, Gilberto is off the books both in terms of salary and in terms of his salary cap hit for the remainder of the season.

“Despite his best efforts, Gilberto was not able to reach his top form in Major League Soccer,” Rodr√≠guez said in a statement. “He is a good person, with a big heart and a passion for the game, and we hope he finds success at his next stop.”

Gilberto’s departure also means the Fire have an open international spot on the roster. Previously all eight international spots were filled up.

Gilberto last played for the Fire on May 21, when he delivered the assist on the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against Houston. Coach Veljko Paunovic said after the following match on May 28, a 1-1 draw with Portland, that Gilberto asked for some time away for personal reasons a couple days before the match.

Gilberto’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season. His contract was the highest on the team at $1,145,000, according to the MLS Players Union.

White Sox draftees one win away from College World Series title

White Sox draftees one win away from College World Series title

The White Sox are going to have to wait a little longer for two members of their 2016 MLB Draft class to join their farm system.

Coastal Carolina closer Mike Morrison (27th round) and third baseman Zach Remillard (10th round) have played a major role in the Chanticleers magical postseason run which has them one win away from a College World Series championship after Tuesday's thrilling 5-4 win against Arizona.

With a depleted pitching staff, Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore turned to his senior closer to make just his third career college start in an effort to even the best-of-three series at 1-1.

Gilmore's decision paid off.

Morrison tossed a career-high 103 pitches on the biggest stage of his career, limiting Arizona to just two runs while matching a College World Series finals record with 10 strikeouts. Morrison was pulled after just 6 2/3 innings. Although he didn't get the victory, Morrison gave Coastal Carolina the quality start they needed.

Before exiting the mound, a teary-eyed Morrison embraced pitching coach Drew Thomas and reliever Bobby Holmes, then walked to the dugout to a standing ovation from the 24,716 in attendance.

“I put my heart and soul into this program for four years, man, and to end it like that, I mean, that was special,” Morrison said via Josh Planos of  KETV.com. “That standing ovation was probably the coolest things that’s ever going to happen in my entire life.”

Morrison presumably finishes his season with a record of 8-1 and a 1.50 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 72 innings.

While Morrison will be watching the winner-take-all Game 3 from the sidelines, Remillard, who scored the game-winning run Tuesday night, will try to ignite the Chanticleers offense batting out of the cleanup spot.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014, Remillard has rebounded into one of the nation's premier hitter — he's no slouch with the glove either. The New York native has a slash line of .345/.392/.617 with 19 homers and 72 RBI this season.

As the soon-to-be White Sox aim to bring some hardware back home, their former teammate and current White Sox prospect will be cheering them on from Charlotte.