Thursday Sept. 9, 2010
Posted: 12:10 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
The Smokies will receive some reinforcements just in time for Thursdays Southern League playoff opener against West Tenn. Tennessee added four players to the roster that clearly strengthen the team and could have significant impact on the outcome of the series.
Chris Carpenter was brought back from Triple-A Iowa and will start Game Two of the series. He was 8-6 with a 3.16 ERA before getting bumped up to Iowa.
Lefty reliever Luke Sommer was also brought back from Iowa for a second stint with Tennessee. Sommer began the year in Daytona and went 1-1 with a 2.52 ERA and six saves before getting the bump up to the Southern League. He was 1-1 with a 2.02 ERA and eight saves, earning a spot on the Southern Leagues mid-season All-Star team before he was promoted to Iowa. Sommer was 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA in seven games for the I-Cubs, who were eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of the regular season.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos, who returns from Iowa, could have the biggest impact of the group. He hit .318 with 15 homers and 64 RBIs in 77 games for the Smokies, earning spots on both the mid- and post-season all-star teams in the Southern League. He then hit .364 with three homers and 10 RBIs for Iowa.
Finally, infielder DJ LeMahieu hit .314 with 73 RBIs for Daytona, which was also eliminated from playoff contention on the final weekend of the Florida State Leagues regular season.
In related roster moves, RHP Alberto Cabrera, INF David Macias, RHP Corey Martin and C Mark Reed have been sent to Daytona.
Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are three keys and a prediction for Saturday's Notre Dame-Syracuse game in New Jersey.
1. Make a play on Amba Etta-Tawo: Orange quarterback Eric Dungey targets Etta-Tawo, college football’s leading receiver through four weeks, an average of 13 times a game. Covering Etta-Tawo well is one thing, but that won’t necessarily mean Dungey will look elsewhere to throw the ball. Senior Cole Luke will probably get the first crack at guarding Etta-Tawo, and he’ll have to make a few plays on the ball (a tipped pass, an interception, etc.) to force Dungey out of his comfort zone. If Luke can’t do it, look for an underclassmen — Donte Vaughn, who picked off a pass against Duke, would have to lead that next group — to step in. Stopping Etta-Tawo would go a long way toward keeping the points down against Syracuse’s going-to-plaid offense.
2. Meet “the standard” on offense. DeShone Kizer has been somewhere between very good and great this season, but it hasn’t been enough for Notre Dame to avoid any of their three losses. Syracuse’s defense is prone to allowing explosive plays and has struggled against the run, so triggering Josh Adams, Dexter Williams and/or Tarean Folston on the ground could allow Kizer to pick apart the Orange secondary as the game goes on. Most importantly, Kizer and his teammates need to avoid carelessly turning the ball over, as they did a few times against Michigan State and Syracuse.
3. Effective play from the young guys. Kelly said one of the defensive changes we’ll see going forward is a lot more younger, talented players getting on the field in situations in which they weren’t equipped to in Brian VanGorder’s complex defense. Maybe that means defensive end Daelin Hayes using his elite pass rushing trait to pressure Dungey, or linebacker Asmar Bilal using his excellent speed trait to run with a crossing route and break up a pass. No matter how it happens, it has to happen — with that “it” being making defensive plays. Without sacks, TFLs, fumbles and/or interceptions, all that talk of Notre Dame having more “fun” this week will ring hollow on Saturday.
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Syracuse 42. Adams and Williams both have big games on the ground and Kizer leads an offensive oscillating between explosive and efficient to, for the first time this year, enough points to overcome a shaky defensive performance.
It was no secret after Theo Epstein's contract extension on Wednesday, but the Cubs officially announced extensions for general manager Jed Hoyer and senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod on Friday.
The new contracts run through the 2021 season.
Both Hoyer and McLeod joined the Cubs on Nov. 1, 2011. The team is set for its second straight postseason appearance this October.
CSN Chicago's Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney had more on Epstein keeping the band together when Epstein's deal was first announced on Wednesday.