On The Farm: Dashing Towards The Playoffs

On The Farm: Dashing Towards The Playoffs

Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
Posted: 9:45 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
The Dash continued their quest to make a clean sweep of the Carolina Leagues Southern Division on Thursday afternoon by topping Lynchburg, 11-0, at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem, which has won seven consecutive games, improved its lead to 1 games over Kinston, which was scheduled to play Thursday night.

A trio of Dash pitchers allowed only five hits. Joe Serafin 3-4 picked up his second consecutive victory and 10th overall this season after scattering three hits over six innings. Ryan Kussmaul and Charlis Burdie each allowed a hit over the final three innings to preserve the victory.

Winston-Salem scored five times in the first inning, providing Serafin and Co. all they would need. Jon Gilmore had the third of three consecutive singles to lead off the inning, a liner to right that brought in the games first run. Nick Ciolli continued his tear since coming up from Kannapolis by rocking a two-run double to right before Luis Sierra added a two-run double of his own.

Ciolli finished 3-for-5 and has hit safely in all five games .478 in which he has played for the Dash. Winston-Salem finished with 15 hits and has outscored the Hillcats, 27-2, through the first three games of the series. ... Joe McEwing was named carolina League manager of the year on Thursday. Eduardo Escobar, Jon Gilmore, Brandon Short and Justin Greene were all named to the post-season All-Star team.
Kannapolis A
Andre Rienzo put quite the exclamation point on what was a marvelous season Thursday night in Kannapolis 8-5 victory at Delmarva.

Rienzo 8-4 improved to 8-0 in his last 11 starts dating back to July 7. He posted a 1.95 ERA over the 64 innings in that 11-game stretch. He allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last 10 starts.

Ryan Lee was 3-for-6 with an RBI while Kevin Dubler had two hits, two walks and drove in three.
In other action, Mike Aubreysthree-run homer in the bottom of the 13th gave Norfolk a 4-1 victoryover Charlotte. Carlos Torres started and allowed a run in seveninnings. Dayan Viciedo was 1-for-5. ... Birmingham blanked visiting Carolina, 8-0. Ricky Brooks scattered four hits and struck out eight over five innings to pick up the victory. Josh Phegley hit his first Double-A homer and drew a pair of walks while Chris Marrero had two hits and two RBIs.
CUBSDaytona A
The Cubs remained in the Florida State League playoff hunt Thursday night but are on the verge of elimination despite defeating Clearwater, 5-4, at Bright House Field. Daytona remains two games behind Tampa, which defeated Brevard County, with three games left in the regular season.

Rebel Ridling had a homer and three RBIs to pace the Cubs while DJ LeMahieu added a homer and two RBIs of his own. Nick Struck allowed three runs over 5 13 innings to pick up his first FSL victory. The Cubs close out the season with three games at Lakeland while Tampa will host Dunedin in a three-game set.
In other action, Tennessee dropped a 6-2 decision at Jacksonville. The Smokies managed only three hits. Rafael Dolis allowed four runs in 5 23 innings to take the loss. Tennessee manager Bill Dancy was named Southern League manager of the year on Thursday.

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

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8

We're living in a bizarre age of fantasy football.

Each week we're questioning whether or not we should start players such as DeAndre Hopkins and Todd Gurley. At the same time, we're making room in our lineups for Jacquizz Rodgers, Ty Montgomery and Terrelle Pryor.

Down is up and up is down.

If you have any questions, hit us up on @CSNFantasy and tune in to our weekly Fantasy Fix Facebook Live show every Thursday.

Let's get right into the Week 8 Start/Sit and as always, Liam Neeson has a message for you:


Devontae Booker, RB, DEN (vs. SD) - With the news that C.J. Anderson is likely done for the season with a torn meniscus, Booker has turned into a must-own/must-start running back. The rookie out of Utah is averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry in limited time, and now moves into the starting role in Gary Kubiak's running back friendly offense which ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing attempts per game. Booker is a no-brainer this weekend against a Chargers defense which has allowed the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in 2016. (Scott Krinch)

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, NYJ (@ CLE) - I'll get criticism for this prediction, but Fitzpatrick should be a firm QB1 in Week 8. The Browns are always on the fantasy radar as a friendly opponent for quarterbacks, which is the team Fitzpatrick draws on Sunday. Cleveland hasn't allowed less than two passing touchdowns in any game this season, and have given up three scores to opposing signal callers four out of the last five weeks. This is a layup for Fitzpatrick owners. (Krinch)

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, GB (@ ATL) - Fantasy players were given an early stocking stuffer when Montgomery was granted running back eligibility in the majority of leagues. It doesn't matter which position you want to insert Montgomery in, he just needs to be in your lineup at all costs. With 20 receptions on 25 targets and 12 carries for 66 yards in his last two games, Montgomery is turning into one of the league's most valuable fantasy commodities. The Packers opponent this weekend, the Falcons, have allowed the second-most receptions to running backs. Look for Montgomery to take advantage in that area. (Krinch)

[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear here]


Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI (vs. MIN) - Jay Cutler's thumb has mysteriously healed and it's time for Jeffery to become a Top 10 wide receiver, right? Not exactly. I like Jeffery's outlook for the remainder of the season, but for this week and this week only, I'm staying clear of him. The Vikings defense presents a major mismatch for the Bears offense, and Jeffery will be in for a long night against a Vikings which ranks No. 2 against opposing wide receivers. (Krinch)

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (@ HOU) - Stafford is having an MVP-caliber season and in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career so I know I'll get a lot of flack for benching him. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Stafford fan and think he's one of the best fantasy bargains in 2016. I just expect him to be more of a game manager against a stingy Texans secondary. Look for Stafford to keep the turnovers at a minimum and for the Lions to establish a ground attack, limiting Stafford's fantasy value for this week. (Krinch)

Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR (vs. ARI) - The forgotten man in most fantasy circles — despite routinely finishing each season as a Top 20 running back — is going to keep that label this weekend. The Cardinals front seven has been a nightmare for opposing running backs, and I expect it to be no different on Sunday. If the Cardinals get up big — a very good possibility — it's going to be a game of catch-up for the Panthers offense which will limit Stewart's touches. (Krinch)

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Anytime Nikola Mirotic is on an island defensively in a crucial moment of a game, there’s a general sense of nervousness and doubt that’s palpable inside the United Center.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Mirotic defended Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown well enough to force a travel in the final minute of the Bulls’ 105-99 win Thursday night.

With the Celtics down two, Brown started his drive from the top of the key and pivoted back to his right. When he rose up for a jumper or pass, Mirotic was right in his face and Brown, a talented rookie playing in his second NBA game, didn’t know where to go.

He came back down with the ball still in his hands for a traveling violation, and the stage was set for Dwyane Wade’s closing heroics.

Wade, the closer was set up by Mirotic, the stopper—well, let’s not go that far just yet.

“I tried just to play good defense, to make him drive the ball because we want him to shoot a contested shot,” Mirotic said. “It was big-time defense. We needed that one. After that, Dwyane Wade has huge stop and made that 3. It’s a team job, team defense. I was just trying to be a part of that. I’m very happy about the game.”

In all fairness, Brown is a rookie and the Bulls would rather not see Mirotic in a one-on-one situation late in games defensively. But it appears as if Fred Hoiberg will give him the opportunities to close games so Mirotic will find himself in instances where he’ll have to make plays on both ends.

Hoiberg called it the defensive play of the game, and agreed with the assessment of Mirotic being an underrated defensive rebounder despite his struggles on that end of the floor.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It just goes to show you even when your shot isn’t falling, you can still have a positive impact,” Hoiberg said. “I loved his attack. He was getting in the paint and got some offensive rebound tip-ins as well so just overall solid game.”

Although Hoiberg had to make the decision to insert Taj Gibson as a starter at power forward over Mirotic, it’s not hard to see scenarios like Thursday where both are together to close games—Mirotic will be needed to spread the floor for Wade and Jimmy Butler to create shots in one-on-one situations.

Mirotic missed five of his six 3-point shots but was flawless inside the line, scoring 15 with nine rebounds.

“To be honest, I didn’t feel very comfortable with my 3-point shot,” said Mirotic, although Hoiberg said Mirotic’s attempts were good looks. “I tried to find a way to score, make an impact on the game---rebound the ball, play unselfish. My goal was to play good defense because I know that’s the next step.”

Getting over the idea of losing a starting job many believed would’ve been his given the composition of the roster seems to be behind Mirotic, who was a starter last season before acute appendicitis forced him out of action before the All-Star break.

“It doesn’t feel right to be honest. But no disappointment. It is what it is,” Mirotic said. “I want to not think and be focused and play my game. Now that I come from the bench, it’s like, ‘All right, figure out how you’re going to do that, how you’re going to help your team and play well.’”

Gibson and Mirotic were the only Bulls to shoot over 50 percent, as Gibson’s strong preseason play carried over to the opener. Make no mistake, if the Bulls are to exceed modest expectations, Mirotic will have to step up, as his production is no longer a luxury.

“It’s going to be a long season. But I told Fred it’s no problem,” Mirotic said. “I respect your decision. Taj is an amazing player. He’s playing so good. He’s in great shape. He deserves to be the starter. He has played a lot of years here. So I respect that. I’m cool with that. What I want to do is play my game, improve this year, make my team win more games. That’s all I can do.”