Bears schedule: Packers, Vikings apply pressure

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Bears schedule: Packers, Vikings apply pressure

With Green Bay and Minnesota winning, the Bears cannot give any ground vs. the Detroit Lions in the division, one of only two with three of four winning records (NFC South). Right now they hold the No. 2 record (4-1) in the NFC and third-best in the NFL (Atlanta 6-0, Houston 6-1) and dont play a team with a winning record until Houston in three weeks.

Lovie Smith teams have won five of their last six after a week off and it will have been 15 days since the win at Jacksonville. Monday is a chance to go three games up on Detroit and take a commanding conference position only the Giants, Falcons, 49ers and Vikings have fewer than three losses.

Indianapolis Colts (3-3) W 41-21

Balanced identity established with 33-35 run pass ratio and O runs up 428 yards with Jay Cutler throwing for 333 yards and 2 TDs to go with rushing TDs by Michael Bush (2) and Matt Forte (1) as part of 122 rushing yards.

@ Green Bay Packers (4-3) L 23-10

Cutler berates offensive linemen on national TV for seven sacks; linemen just have to accept Cutlers four INTs apparently. Embarrassing offensive performance all around as defense holds Aaron Rodgers and Pack to 3 FGs and one TD.

St. Louis Rams (3-4) W 23-6

Defense sacks Sam Bradford six times and holds Rams out of the end zone. Offense scores only one TD for the second week in a row and Cutler continues to find a groove with receivers.

@ Dallas Cowboys (3-3) W 34-18

Five interceptions of Tony Romo, two returned for TDs (Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman) and a workmanlike 360 yards on offense produce a crucial road win on MNF.

@ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) W 41-3

Bears offense runs up 501 balanced yards (214 rush, 287 pass) and explodes after a sluggish first half. Briggs and Tillman make NFL history with TD interceptions for second straight week and Brandon Marshall puts up 144 yards on 12 catches.

Sun., Oct. 14 Bye Week

vs. Detroit Lions (2-3)

Next: BEARS, MNF

vs. Carolina Panthers (1-5) Sun., Oct. 28, noon

Freefall reaches four straight as Cam Newton cant get Panthers offense above 14 points for third time in last four. No answer to Dallas two FGs in the fourth quarter. Next: at BEARS

@ Tennessee Titans (3-4) Sun., Nov. 4, noon

Remember Chris Johnson? Bills will after franchise RB goes for 195 yards and 2 TDs on 18 carries. Titans go to Buffalo and upset Bills behind another Matt Hasselbeck comeback. Two straight wins and scoring. Next: vs. Indianapolis

Houston Texans (6-1) Sun., Nov. 11, 7:20 p.m

After Green Bay embarrassment, Texans annihilate Baltimore. Seven games with at least 23 points and defense is top 10 vs. both run and pass. Next: Bye Week

@ San Francisco 49ers (5-2) Mon., Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.

49ers survive a defensive taffy pull with Seattle to recover from the embarrassment vs. Giants. Offense questions with QB Alex Smith remain but Frank Gore runs for 131 vs. good Seahawks D. Long break to prepare for Cards in tough NFC West match. Next: @ Arizona (Mon.)

Minnesota Vikings (5-2) Sun., Nov. 25, noon

Weak offensive day vs. Cardinals except for APs 23 carries for 153 yards and a TD. Christian Ponder nets 58 passing yards but a W is a W. Vikes 4-0 at home. Next: vs. Tampa Bay

Seattle Seahawks (4-3) Sun., Dec. 2, noon

Russell Wilson struggles with 9-for-23 passing and cant get Hawks in the end zone for four quarters or on the scoreboard in the second half vs. 49ers. Next: at Detroit

@ Minnesota Vikings (5-2) Sun., Dec. 9, noon

Green Bay Packers (4-3) Sun., Dec. 16, noon

Another Aaron Rodgers masterpiece: 30-37 passing, 342 yards, 3 TDs, no turnovers for second straight game. Rams threaten but Packers score three times in fourth quarter. Next: vs. Jacksonville

@ Arizona Cardinals (4-3) Sun., Dec. 23, 3:15 p.m.

A stumble at Minnesota makes three straight for former 4-0 team that now gets 49ers, Packers and Falcons. John Skelton in for Kevin Kolb and is sacked seven times. Next: vs. San Francisco

@ Detroit Lions (2-3) Sun., Dec. 30, noon

Next: @ BEARS (MNF)

Starters help White Sox bullpen maintain health for lengthy stretch

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Starters help White Sox bullpen maintain health for lengthy stretch

The White Sox are at another point in their schedule where every inning is precious.

So even though they only managed a split in Monday’s doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians, the White Sox have to feel good not to have taxed their bullpen.

Mat Latos and Erik Johnson combined for 12.1 innings pitched and five relievers combined for another 5.1 on Monday for the White Sox, who are in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in 16 days. Given they have Chris Sale and Jose Quintana scheduled the next two games, the White Sox feel pretty fortunate at the midway point of their lengthy run.

“We didn’t really abuse anybody,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “These doubleheaders can kind of get away from you and both sides probably had that. You get out of these things without having to use anybody in both games and extending anybody.”

With the way things had recently gone for Latos and Johnson’s command issues in his last start, Monday’s doubleheader could have been trouble for the White Sox bullpen.

Latos hadn’t completed six innings since April 24 and posted a 7.84 ERA in his last four starts. And in his only major league start this season, Johnson allowed four earned runs in five innings against the Boston Red Sox on May 5.

Not only do the White Sox have two more here against the Indians, they start a four-game series in Kansas City on Thursday and then head to Citi Field for three against the New York Mets. Only then do they have another day off.

Johnson made two early mistakes, but mostly followed in the footsteps of Latos, who delivered six innings in the opening game before he departed with a 6-3 lead courtesy of a three-run homer by Brett Lawrie.

While Johnson left a 3-0 fastball up to Rajai Davis and he ripped it for a two-run homer, which put Cleveland up 3-1 in the fifth, he faced only five over the minimum through six innings.

“EJ did a good job for us, we just weren’t really getting anything going,” Ventura said.

Johnson — who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after the start — entered the seventh inning at 93 pitches. With his team trailing by two, Ventura hoped to steal another inning from his right-hander. The Indians took advantage as Juan Uribe homered and scored another run off the combination of Johnson and reliever Matt Purke, who allowed a hit in 2.1 scoreless innings.

“You want to help the team out and save the bullpen as best you can, especially on these nine and nines,” Johnson said. “That’s your job as a starter for a regular nine inning game, whether it’s a doubleheader or not.

“I’m thankful for the opportunities and if they keep coming I’m going to keep coming back here.”

For now, the opportunity belongs to reliever Tommy Kahnle, whom was added as the 26th man before the doubleheader. By optioning Johnson to Charlotte, the White Sox will employ an eight-man bullpen.

Preview: Chris Sale targets 10th win as White Sox battle Indians on CSN+

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Preview: Chris Sale targets 10th win as White Sox battle Indians on CSN+

The White Sox continue their series with the Cleveland Indians tonight, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet Plus. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (9-0, 1.58 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (6-0, 3.56 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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Preview: Cubs look to snap losing streak vs. Cardinals on CSN

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Preview: Cubs look to snap losing streak vs. Cardinals on CSN

The Cubs look to snap a three-game losing streak against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jason Hammel (5-1, 2.31 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (2-4, 4.03 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Cubs Pulse.