On The Farm: Charlotte takes a pair from Toledo

On The Farm: Charlotte takes a pair from Toledo

Friday, Aug. 6, 2010
11:15 PMBy Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOX
Charlotte (AAA)
The Knights swept a pair of games from Toledo on Friday, winning the completion of Thursdays rain-suspended game, 5-4, before taking the nightcap, 6-1, at Knights Stadium.

Charlotte rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the opener, scoring two in the eighth inning and then plating the game-winner in the ninth on an Alejandro De Aza sacrifice fly. Jordan Danks hit a pair of solo homers for the Knights, allowing Clevelan Santeliz to earn his first victory of the year.

Danks had two more hits in the nightcap but it was Luis Rodriguez who drove in a pair of runs. Matt Zaleski earned the win after allowing a run in five innings.

Birmingham (AA)
The Barons, powered by a five-run seventh inning, squeaked by Jacksonville on Friday, 8-7.

Sal Sanchezs two-run single was the capper to the big inning. Jim Gallagher had a solo homer in the fourth inning after Christian Marreros two-run homer gave Birmingham a first-inning lead. Despite giving up three runs in 1 23 innings, Henry Mabee picked up the victory.

In other action, Kannapolis and Hagerstown were rained out on Friday and will make up the game Sunday afternoon in a doubleheader at Fieldcrest Canon Stadium beginning at 1:30 p.m. Bristol split a pair with Johnson City, taking the opener, 2-1, before dropping the nightcap, 11-3, at Boyce Cox Field. John Spatola had a homer and two RBIs in the opener while Dan Black duplicated the feat in the nightcap. Winston-Salem also split a twinbill on Friday, losing the opener to Frederick, 6-2, before taking the second game, 10-1, at BB&T Ballpark. Jon Gilmore went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the second game. SS Greg Paiml joined the team from Birmingham. To make room on the roster, outfielder Jordan Cheatham was sent to Kannapolis. The Dash announced that the White Sox will play an exhibition game at BB&T Ballpark on March 30th, 2011.

CUBS

Iowa (AAA)
The I-Cubs slammed five home runs on Friday night to defeat Tacoma, 11-6, before a season-high crowd of 13,206 at Principal Park.

Marquez Smith paced the barrage with a pair of homers and three RBIs. Brad Snyder, Micah Hoffpauir and Bryan LaHair also went deep. Snyder had three hits and his solo homer gave him a career-high 83 RBIs. Hoffpauir had two hits, including the homer, and two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to season-high 15 games.

Jay Jackson (9-6) earned the victory after allowing five runs in 6 23 innings.
In other action, Daytona topped Jupiter, 3-2, at Roger Dean Stadium to snap a four-game losing streak. Rebel Ridling had three hits, including a homer, and two RBIs. Trey McNutt tossed six shutout innings to improve to 3-0 in the Florida State League. Tony Campana had a pair of hits and three RBIs to lead Tennessee to a 6-1 victory at Montgomery. Jae-Hoon Has three-run homer in the sixth inning lifted Peoria to a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin. Nick Struck allowed a run in 5 23 innings to pick up his seventh win.

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

Bears need to find solidarity on revamped offensive line

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Bears need to find solidarity on revamped offensive line

Overshadowed in the aftershocks of the Bears’ release of veteran guard Matt Slauson (and safety Antrel Rolle) was another roster trim this offseason that went largely ignored because four days earlier, the Matt Forte non-return had gone down. That was the release of Jermon Bushrod, as much a fixture for two years at left tackle as Slauson was at left guard.

Probably because Bushrod had been replaced by Charles Leno Jr. last season as the starter, Bushrod’s exit had been expected since mid-year as he struggled with injuries. Bushrod had voiced his own farewell address late in the season.

But Bushrod, as with Slauson, was a core member of a group that arguably needs to be closer-knit than any other position group. Bushrod and Slauson were mentors to Kyle Long and to even Leno as he was replacing Bushrod, if anyone needs a character testimonial.

While coaches and GM Ryan Pace are on record stating that the best five offensive linemen will start, which points to positions for each being determined through this offseason, that also demands cohesion, which the group had with Bushrod and Slauson.

Bears history is replete with solid centers who anchored and fused lines together: Jay Hilgenberg, Jerry Fontenot, Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, even Bulldog Turner and Mike Pyle, looking further back. One key was that each was the best lineman in the group, or close to the best. That makes leading easier, when you’re secure and very good.

Hroniss Grasu is neither at this point of his career. Manny Ramirez is a new guy and on a one-year deal at age 33. Meaning: Who is the linchpin of an offensive line on whom the healths of Jay Cutler, Jeremy Langford and others rest? Kyle Long is the Bears’ best offensive lineman and a force in more ways that just talent-wise.

The challenge for the Bears projects to be less finding talent to replace Slauson in particular, but finding the individual and collective character to make the whole thing work. This is about more than just the 2016 season.

Preview: White Sox aim for 20th win in series finale vs. Red Sox on CSN+

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Preview: White Sox aim for 20th win in series finale vs. Red Sox on CSN+

The White Sox aim for win No. 20 in their series finale against the Boston Red Sox tonight 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.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Henry Owens (0-0) vs. Erik Johnson (0-0)

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

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David Ortiz paces Red Sox past Carlos Rodon, White Sox

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David Ortiz paces Red Sox past Carlos Rodon, White Sox

Carlos Rodon hasn’t been too far off the mark in his outings early in 2016.

His April 18 start aside, the team’s 2014 first-round pick has thrown the ball very well. Yet six starts into his sophomore campaign, Rodon has a 1-4 record.

The young White Sox left-hander made only one big mistake on Wednesday night and Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz took advantage. Ortiz’s fifth-inning home run off a Rodon fastball got the Red Sox on track and they tacked on several runs late to snap a three-game winning streak for the White Sox, who fell 5-2 in front of 14,383 at U.S. Cellular Field. Jose Abreu homered, but that was all for the 19-9 White Sox, who were stymied by seven sharp innings from Clay Buchholz.

“Just one pitch, and that’s the name of this game I guess,” Rodon said. “One pitch changes the game pretty dramatically. That’s why people love baseball I guess.”

Rodon has discovered the importance of one pitch several times this season.

He threw an outstanding game in his first start at Oakland on April 6 only to be felled by an opposite-field homer by Mark Canha. In his last turn in Baltimore, Rodon was on cruise control before his defense did him in. Later in the contest, Rodon allowed another opposite-field blast to Nolan Reimold, which sealed the southpaw’s fate.

On Wednesday, Ortiz taught him a lesson after Rodon issued a two-out walk to Xander Bogaerts with the White Sox leading 2-1 in the fifth. Rodon left a 1-1 fastball over the plate and Ortiz turned on it and drove it 397 feet to right on a windy, cold night.

“Don’t throw a fastball down the middle to Big Papi,” Rodon said.

It was the sixth homer of the season and 509th of his career for Ortiz, who is set to retire after the season ends.

But Big Papi wasn’t done yet.

He followed a pair of one-out singles in the seventh inning with one of his own against Zach Duke. Ortiz beat a White Sox shift and dribbled a single through an open spot on the left side of the infield to drive in run No. 22 on the season and put Boston ahead 4-2. The Red Sox added another run in the eighth.

Ortiz, 40, is hitting .311/.404/.633.

“He comes up big in certain situations,” White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “Ortiz is a heck of a hitter, and he’s gonna make you pay.”

The White Sox couldn’t do the same with Buchholz, who entered the game 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA. Eaton said the right-hander kept them off-balance by using all five of his pitches. Buchholz appeared to have trouble keeping the ball down in the first as Eaton flew out deep to left ahead of a Jimmy Rollins single and Abreu’s two-run homer, his first since April 19. Abreu’s fourth homer snapped a 61-plate appearance drought and put the White Sox ahead 2-0.

But Buchholz settled in and retired 19 of the last 22 batters he faced, including 10 in a row.

He limited the White Sox to two runs and three hits while striking out six.

“We got off well there, Jimmy getting on and Jose hitting a homer, but we can’t stop there,” Eaton said. “You know as an offense you can’t stop there.”

A lack of run support has also been an early theme in Rodon’s starts.

The team has scored a total of 10 runs with Rodon on the mound in six starts. Entering Wednesday, his 2.1 run support average per nine innings ranked 67th among 73 qualified starters, according to baseball-reference.com.

The limited backing has often left Rodon -- who minus his April 18 start against the Los Angeles Angels has a 3.03 ERA -- susceptible to one mistake costing him the game.

“I think he learns something every time out there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There's something to be gained from it and for him, he's going to be better for it. He's got great stuff, a competitor and all that, but you always learn stuff as you're going through this. Even looking at Sale or Quintana, they're still doing things and you learn something every time you're out there. Carlos is no different.

“We know he's a good pitcher, but even the good ones run through tough stretches.”