On The Farm: Charlotte Literally Walks Off With A Win

On The Farm: Charlotte Literally Walks Off With A Win

Friday, Aug. 20, 2010
Posted: 12:05 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
WHITE SOXCharlotte AAA
Charlotte snapped its five-game losing streak Thursday night at Knights Stadium, topping Gwinnett, 4-3, with a pair of ninth-inning runs.

The Knights were down to their last out when Braves closer Craig Kimbrell fanned Rob Hudson for the final out. He reached first, however, on a dropped third strike. Alejandro De Aza then drew a walk to tie the game before Buck Coats worked out a game-winning walk in a 10-pitch at-bat.

Randy Williams earned the victory after throwing a scoreless ninth inning. He was one of four relievers who kept the Braves off the board after Brandon Hynick allowed three runs in five innings.
Birmingham AA
Christian Marreros RBI single in the eighth inning lifted the Barons to a 4-3 victory over Huntsville Thursday night.

Marrero had two hits and two RBIs but the latter of the two put Greg Infante in position to win his second game. Anthony Carter pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save.
In other action, Bristol at Bluefield was postponed because of weather, Hickorys game at Kannapolis was postponed because of weather and Winston-Salems twinbill with Salem was post-poned because the field was deemed unplayable as a result of rain. Orem scored twice in the bottom of the ninth and defeated Great Falls, 8-7. Nelson Curry not only blew the save but took the loss after allowing both runs. Mike Blanke had a hit and an RBI for the Voyagers.
CUBSIowa AAA
Matt Camps two-run double capped a ninth-inning rally Thursday night as Iowa squeaked by Sacramento, 7-5, at Raley Field.

Robinson Chirinos negotiated a two-out walk and then went to third as Marquez Smith reached on an error. Camp then doubled them home off Justin James to break a 5-5 tie. Camp finished with four RBIs. Brian Schlitter earned the victory after tossing two no-hit innings. He also extended his scoreless inning streak to six over his last four appearances.
Tennessee AA
Russ Canzler brought home Tony Thomas in the bottom of the 10th on a fielders choice Thursday night to lift Tennessee past Mississippi, 5-4, at Smokies Park.

The Braves held a 4-0 lead before the Smokies rallied for four runs in the sixth. Matt Spencers two-run homer capped the outburst and set the stage for the 10th inning action. Brandon Guyer saw his hitting streak come to an end at 18 games.

Kyle Smit, whom the Cubs picked up from the Dodgers at the trading deadline, improved to 3-0 with Tennessee by pitching three hitless innings. TyRelle Harris, whom Chicago acquired earlier in the week from the Braves, pitched two scoreless innings in his Cub debut.

In other action, Peoria saw its four-game winning streak fall by the wayside as Burlington earned a 7-2 victory at OBrien Field. Justin Bour had three hits and an RBI, snapping a 28 at-bat streak without driving in a run. Despite a big effort on the mound from Brooks Raley, Daytona dropped a 3-1 decision at Dunedin, dropping the Cubs two games behind Tampa in the Florida State Leagues North Division. Raley allowed four hits over 5 13 scoreless innings and left with a 1-0 lead before the pen allowed three seventh-inning runs. Mark Reed had a pair of hits for the Cubs. Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits and two RBIs to lead the AZL Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Athletics. Alvaro Sosa tossed 3 13 scoreless, no-hit innings to pick up the win.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Bears, Lions have been totally different teams in fourth quarters

Bears, Lions have been totally different teams in fourth quarters

Apart from any specific player or statistic, one unavoidable part of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions looms ominously in front of the Bears, and there is no way they can avoid it: The fourth quarter.

Every game has one, and it has been the blessing of the Lions’ 2016 existence and the bane of the Bears’. The Bears talk constantly about the importance of playing a 60-minute game.

Before last Sunday’s 28-13 win over the New Orleans Saints, the Lions had trailed in the fourth quarter of all seven of their previous victories this season. A team that had traditionally found undisciplined ways to squander games has been finding ways to win them, according to a formula.

As Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel noted, “every single one of these games has looked the same: There was the drive, the field goal and the huge defensive play or, at least, some variation of those things."

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This is particularly relevant — and concerning — for the Bears, who have been the virtual opposite: Three times this season (at Houston, at Indianapolis, vs. Jacksonville) they have led in fourth quarters and lost those games.

The reasons lie in different phases, not simply cases of one, same unit failing.

"With us it’s not excuses, but we’re young, on our third quarterback, and that can affect it as far as experience and just being in that situation,” said coach John Fox. “To close the game, sometimes it’s just a mindset. When you have young players, it’s learning how to deal with adversity and learning how to deal with prosperity.”

The Bears did not outscore an opponent in the fourth quarter of any of their first 10 games this season, finally getting something going late in the Tennessee and San Francisco games, outscoring those two opponents by a combined 19-3.

“Being able to finish games, that’s something we’re learning and I think I saw examples of it last week in the San Francisco game and even going back to Minnesota, games where we have closed it, even in the first Detroit game, although we made that one interesting,” Fox said. “We found a way. So a lot of it’s experience under pressure and hopefully we’re figuring it out and can figure it out the last four games of the year.”

Beginning Sunday, presumably, against the NFL’s reigning comeback team.

Joe Maddon breaks down Wade Davis vs. Aroldis Chapman as Cubs ramp up for another World Series run

Joe Maddon breaks down Wade Davis vs. Aroldis Chapman as Cubs ramp up for another World Series run

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The Cubs downplayed expectations after spending almost $290 million on free agents during their 2-for-1 offseason.

Trading for one season of Wade Davis at $10 million – and betting his right arm can withstand another deep playoff run – feels logical and measured in an environment where the New York Yankees just gave Aroldis Chapman a five-year, $86 million contract that smashed the record for closers.

Giving up Jorge Soler – an immense Cuban talent who looks like an NFL linebacker and once sparked a bidding war among big-market teams like the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers – seems painless. The Cubs have a roster crunch and obvious concerns about Soler’s ability to stay healthy and can’t turn him into the part-time designated hitter the Kansas City Royals envision.

But don’t confuse acting rational at the winter meetings with thinking small. Everything becomes clearer once you escape the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center bubble and head toward Reagan National Airport. Make no mistake, the Cubs left Washington on Thursday after acquiring the closer they believe will get the final out of the 2017 World Series.

“The Wade Davis move is an aggressive move,” team president Theo Epstein said. “It’s not like a hedge or a cautious move. We traded a longer-term asset for a short-term asset. But if you do that, you have to make sure the short-term asset is an impact one. And that was the case with Chapman. And that’s now the case with Davis.

“I see that as an aggressive move of an organization that’s hungry to win another World Series.”

After the Cubs handed manager Joe Maddon a shiny new toy – and gave up uber-prospect Gleyber Torres in that blockbuster Chapman deal with the Yankees in late July – Epstein asked: “If not now, when?”

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The Cubs viewed Chapman strictly as a rental and showed no interest in bringing him back to Chicago. The end would always have to justify the means after trading for a player who began the season serving a 30-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic-violence policy. The Cubs got that championship parade down Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, so it won’t really matter if Torres becomes a star in The Bronx.

Beyond the enormous financial commitment and off-the-field concerns with Chapman, the Cubs are now getting an All-Star closer who worked at his craft by first making 88 starts in the big leagues. Where dealing with Chapman presented a language barrier and his preference to work one clean inning at a time, Maddon managed Davis during his first four seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“They’re just different kinds of pitchers,” Maddon said. “I mean, Aroldis is pretty great. There’s several guys out there right now that everybody would like to have – and the guys that are out there as free agents are obvious. Guys like Wade Davis – ask around the industry – how many people would like to have him also?

“I can’t tell you he’s better. He’s just different. Like I said, Aroldis pretty much relies on his fastball and he’s got a great slider, whereas Wade, growing up as a starter, pitches.

“It’s just a different method of closing.”

Chapman is an athletic freak who created a buzz throughout Wrigley Field as fans looked up at the 3,990-square-foot LED video board for the velocity readings. He will turn 29 in spring training, but at some point the question will inevitably become: Can he pitch with something less than a 103-mph fastball?

Instead of waiting to pounce at the trade deadline, having Davis from Opening Day through possibly October should help protect Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr. and Justin Grimm from a manager who wants to win every pitch and pushes his relievers hard.

Credit Chapman for evolving in the World Series and throwing 97 pitches in Games 5, 6 and 7 combined. But adding Davis shows the Cubs want to be a dynasty.

“He’s definitely a difference-maker,” Maddon said. “His stuff is that good. He’s high velocity, great cutter, very good curveball. He knows how to pitch, too, so part of the allure with him is he’s just not a thrower out there.

“He has other things other than his fastball. He gets out righties and lefties. So he pretty much does it all.”