Intimidators Turn Off Power For Morning Victory

Intimidators Turn Off Power For Morning Victory

Wednesday April 20, 2011
Posted: 9:13 p.m.

WHITE SOX Kannapolis A
Jake Petricka continued to pitch well Wednesday morning yet the reigning Sally League pitcher of the week didnt factor in the decision as Kannapolis rallied for a 6-5 victory over West Virginia at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Petricka went six innings, allowing his first run of the season, and struck out six while scattering five hits. He stretched his scoreless-inning streak to 16 before the Power pushed a run across in the sixth. Petricka left with a 5-1 advantage that was erased when Paul Burnside allowed four seventh-inning runs, including a two-out, three-run homer to Matt Curry.

Burnside 2-0 was able to pick up the victory, though, when Dan Black drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI-single in the bottom half of the inning. Jake Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Black finished with two RBIs as did Juan Silverio and Mike Blanke.
Charlotte AAA
Lucas Harrell earned 14 victories in the last season and a half for Charlotte but had been a bit inconsistent through his first two starts this year, neither of which resulted in a victory. The veteran right-hander was shaky at times again on Wednesday but did enough to earn his first win of 2011 as the Knights bested Durham, 8-3, at Durham Athletic park.

Harrell allowed three runs over six innings, scattering six hits and walking four. He didnt strike out a batter but left on the winning side of the ledger after Charlotte scored five times in the fourth inning. Johnny Nunez and Brian Bruney combined to pitch three perfect innings to close out the Bulls. Bruney, the former Yankee, hasnt allowed a run in four innings this season.

Jim Gallagher and Eduardo Escobar each had a pair of RBIs with Escobars coming on a two-run triple in the fourth.
Birmingham AA
The Barons rallied after Mississippi took an early lead Wednesday afternoon, earning a 7-4 victory at Regions Park.

Justin Greenes two-run double sparked a three-run sixth inning, erasing what had been a 4-2 deficit. Tyler Kuhn had three hits and scored twice, pushing his average to .405. Seth Loman also had three hits while Andrew Garcia had a homer and knocked in four.

Shane Lindsay 1-1 benefitted from the comeback, earning the victory after pitching two scoreless innings in relief of Justin Edwards. Nate Jones also tossed two scoreless frames to pick up his first save of the year.
CUBSPeoria A
The Chiefs swept a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon, taking a pair from offensively challenged Quad Cities, 4-0, and 1-0, at Modern Woodman Park.

The River Bandits have struggled to score runs all season and Wednesday they had more trouble with Peoria pitching. Austin Kirk 1-1 started and won the opener after taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He struck out four and allowed only two hits in his five innings of work before Yohan Gonzalez pitched two innings for his first save. Kirks win was the first by a Peoria starter this season. Greg Garcias fifth0-inning double off Kirk was the first hit he allowed to a left-handed hitter in 15 at-bats this year.

Dallas Beeler 1-1 also pitched five innings in winning the nightcap before Bryce Shafer danced his way through two innings to earn the save.

Greg Rohan got hits in both games, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest such streak in the Midwest League this season. It was Arismendy Alcantara who drove in the lone run in the nightcap, though, with a fourth-inning double. Catcher Chad Noble was added to the roster from Daytona after reliever Marcus Hatley was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right thumb. Sergio Burruel threw out Michael Swinson attempting to steal second base in the third inning for the first runner caught stealing by a Chiefs catcher this season in 19 tries.
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs split an afternoon doubleheader with Albuquerque, taking the opener, 3-1, before dropping the nightcap, 3-0, at Principal Park.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx 1-1 returned to his 2010 form in winning the opener, scattering two hits over six innings while striking out nine. He had allowed 12 runs in 10 innings coming into the affair but lowered his ERA from 10.80 to 7.31 with the effort. Chris Carpenter walked two in the seventh but still managed to record his first save.

Lou Montanez had a an RBI triple and Bobby Scales added an RBI double in a two-run fifth inning to snap what been a 1-1 tie.

The I-Cubs managed just one hit in the nightcap, a two-out double by Marquez Smith in the seventh-inning that spoiled John Elys no-hit bid. Robert Coello 1-2 allowed three runs over six innings.
Daytona A
Jae-Hoon Ha continued to run roughshod over the Florida State League as a trio of Daytona pitchers shut down Lakeland Wednesday night in a 5-2 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Ha had a pair of hits, pushing his average to .414 and extending his hitting streak to seven games. Mike Burgess added a homer, two RBIs and drew a pair of walks, making it easier for Kevin Rhoderick 1-0, who allowed a run in three innings.

He followed Brett Wallach, who also allowed a run in three innings. Jeff Beliveau tossed three shutout innings to record the save.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies hit three home runs, two of which came in a big sixth inning, Wednesday night to power their way by host Carolina, 9-5.

Brett Jackson, who had three hits and three RBIs, and DJ LeMahieu each hit solo shots with LeMahieus homer giving Tennessee a 3-2 lead. Steve Clevenger added a solo homer in the Smokies three-run eighth. Marco Carillo earned the win with four innings of relief.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at

Jon Lester says Cubs haven’t done anything yet: ‘Nobody likes second place’

Jon Lester says Cubs haven’t done anything yet: ‘Nobody likes second place’

As Cubs players and generations of fans celebrated Christmas in October, Jon Lester had to be The Grinch for a moment. Sure, the Cubs would party from Saturday night into Sunday morning, probably get “a little bit” drunk and enjoy the franchise’s first National League pennant in 71 years. But the reality of the Cleveland Indians would set in once the Cubs got rid of this hangover.

“We ain’t done anything yet,” Lester said during the Wrigley Field celebration after the Cubs eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Nobody likes second place.”

There are enough Boston Red Sox connections in this World Series that Lester already knows what to expect, starting with Indians manager Terry Francona, who became a father figure as he dealt with a cancer scare as a rookie.

There are ex-teammates from those championship teams in 2007 (Coco Crisp) and 2013 (Mike Napoli, Andrew Miller) at Fenway Park. There is the accumulated experience from throwing 119 postseason innings (2.50 ERA) and becoming one of the best big-game pitchers of his generation.

“I don’t want to sound like a smart-ass, but we got a long ways to go,” Lester said. “I know that manager on their side’s going to be prepared. I know their coaching staff’s going to be ready. I know their players are going to be ready, just based on one player alone, and that’s Mike Napoli. I know what he brings to the table. He helped transform our 2013 team.

“Come Tuesday, we got to put the gloves back on. We got to get ready to fight and grind and do what we’ve done well all year. We got four more games to win.”

After limiting the Dodgers to two runs in 13 innings, and being named the NL Championship Series’ co-MVP along with Javier Baez, Lester should be a worthy Game 1 starter opposite Corey Kluber, the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner.

This is why Lester took a leap of faith with Cubs bosses/ex-Red Sox executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer and chairman Tom Ricketts’ family and what had been a last-place team in 2014.

Two seasons into the $155 million contract that signaled the Cubs would be serious about contending – and not just in the Baseball America/Baseball Prospectus prospect rankings – the franchise has won 200 games and four playoff rounds and remained in position to dominate for years to come.

“Theo and Jed and the front office and Tom and all these guys had a belief,” Lester said. “I believed in that belief. The talent here speaks for itself. I didn’t do anything – I came here because I wanted to win in Chicago. I’m just happy to be here and be a part of this and get to this point.

“(But) we’re four hard wins away from doing what we set out to do in spring training.”

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As bright as the future looks on the North Side, Lester will be 33 next season and his left arm has already accounted for more than 2,000 innings during his decorated career. John Lackey turned 38 on Sunday. Jake Arrieta only has one more season before becoming a free agent.

The Cubs built their franchise around young hitters, with the idea that they can figure out the pitching later with free agents, change-of-scenery trades and bounce-back guys. Easier said than done. They have a true No. 1 starter now in Lester, who as a free agent watched a recruiting video that imagined what it would be like when the Cubs win the World Series.

“This isn’t it,” Lester said. “It’s been a tough playoffs for us to this point and it’s only going to get tougher. We’re going to enjoy it. We’re going to show up Tuesday in Cleveland ready to play. We’ll see what happens.”

Three quick fixes for some Bears woes while searching for a turnaround

Three quick fixes for some Bears woes while searching for a turnaround

Positives were difficult to find in last Thursday’s 26-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. So maybe the place to look for improvement lies in just getting rid of a few negatives.

As far as positives, Leonard Floyd would be the obvious one, with two sacks, one a strip and fumble recovery for a TD. Ka’Deem Carey would be another, with 10 carries for 48 yards, his second straight game with high-impact running; Jordan Howard has been shackled for two weeks, so the Bears have needed another backfield-committee member contributing. Jeremy Langford may have trouble finding work when he comes back from his ankle injury.

But negatives have far outweighed positives, which is how you get to 1-6. Fixing three of those will go a long way toward improving their chances against a Minnesota Vikings team that appeared eminently beatable in losing at Philadelphia on Sunday:

Stop the penalty hemorrhaging

For the third straight game the Bears had 10 penalties walked off against them. This "streak" started after eight infractions in the win over Detroit. The 10 in Green Bay cost the Bears 108 yards in a game where their offense netted just 189. Seven of the penalties were charged to the defense, six of which gave the Packers first downs.

The three offensive penalties were mental. A wide receiver (Alshon Jeffery) lined up offsides. The quarterback (Matt Barkley) drew a delay flag. An offensive lineman (Ted Larsen) was illegally downfield.

All of which point to a discipline problem getting worse, not better. Whether the fault lies with players losing focus or coaches not instilling a mindset is a debate, but meaningless if the problem is not addressed. “There were a lot of penalties out there,” said cornerback De’Vante Bausby, who committed three of those penalties. “We had a good scheme and plan but we just didn’t finish in the second half as a group.”

Stop the dinking

While Brian Hoyer replacing Jay Cutler scaled back the downfield element of the offense, the loss of an emerging Kevin White should not be understated. The de facto rookie may not have gotten in the end zone but he was leading the team in receptions before he suffered a broken leg in the win over Detroit.

Since the loss of White, however, the offense has shrunk. The Bears averaged 7.5 yards per pass attempt through four games with White. Without White the average is 7.0, and that is including the blip in Indianapolis, which stands as a complete anomaly. The average was 5.9 in the Jacksonville loss and 5.0 in Green Bay.

Hoyer’s ball-security orientation has been a positive, but also a limiting factor. Cutler last year had one of the best ball-security seasons of his career, yet the offense was able to average 7.5 yards per attempt.

The Bears scored two of their three rushing touchdowns in games with White, who may not yet be the field-stretcher his 4.35 speed but the prospect of White arguably made for a more threatening offense than even with the contributions of Cam Meredith.

Stop the Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have suffered injuries at a rate like the Bears’ but have overcome them. Until Sunday in Philadelphia, when the Eagles sacked Sam Bradford six times and hit him more than a dozen other times. The Vikings never sacked Carson Wentz, who wasn’t special but was good enough while Minnesota was self-destructing.

The Vikings have beaten the Bears the last three times they’ve met, the first time that’s happened since 1999 and 2000, which is also the last time the Bears started 1-6. And the Bears have lost three straight.

The Bears were able to end the first three-game skid by focusing on one game: the Lions. The result was shutting down a very good offense, the lowest yardage-allowed (263) of the season and the firmest commitment to the run game (29) attempts.

Morale inside the locker room can only be revived by a win. One game. This game.