Whitenack Continues His Mastery In The Florida State League

Whitenack Continues His Mastery In The Florida State League

Friday April 22, 2011
Posted: 9:20 p.m.
CUBSDaytona A
When Robert Whitenack got bumped up to the Florida State League from Peoria late last season, he showed glimpses of what he could do for Daytona. He certainly pitched better in his seven starts for the Cubs than he had in nearly two dozen Midwest League starts, so much so that the parent club was excited to see how he would fare this spring.

Well, Whitenack hasnt disappointed with Fridays effort at Lakeland serving as his latest big outing. Daytona bested the Flying Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium and it was Whitenack that led the way in the 3-1 victory.

Whitenack 3-0 allowed a run on two hits over six innings, striking out seven. His ERA sits at 1.17 through four starts this year and in 11 outings for the Cubs since last summer he is 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 62 23 innings. Jeff Lorick and Frabk Batista, who picked up his fourth save, closed out Lakeland and kept Whitenack undefeated.

Matt Cerdas two-run single in the seventh snapped a 1-1 tie. Junior Lake had three hits from the leadoff spot after going 3-for-14 there previously this season.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies took the rubber game of a five-game series at Carolina Friday night, earning a 5-4 victory at Five County Stadium.

Rebel Ridlings solo homer in the fifth inning provided the winning margin for Alberto Cabrera, who earned his second victory of the season. Cabrera allowed four runs on six hits over six innings but the bullpen was dominant with David Cales tossing a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

While Ridlings homer was the game winner and just one of his three hits, James Adduci also had a big game going 3-for-3 with a pair of walks to push his average to .405 through 14 games. Ryan Flaherty had a pair of hits, drove in a run and scored twice.
Iowa AAA
The Cubs banged out 13 hits in only six innings and captured a rain-shortened 7-2 victory over Albuquerque at Principal Park Friday night.

Tony Campana had four hits from the leadoff spot, sparking the first three hitters in the Iowa lineup to go 7-for-11. Brad Snyder had two hits and two RBIs while Lou Montanez had a hit and two RBIs. J.R. Mathes went the distance, scattering four hits and striking out two for the win.
Peoria A
The Chiefs game against Beloit at OBrien Field was rained out and will be made up on Saturday as part of a doubleheader beginning at noon. Cam Greathouse (0-0, 6.23) will start the opener for Peoria against Logan Darnell (0-1. 4.09). Graham Hicks (0-1, 0.90) will get the nod in the second game against Beloits Adrian Salcedo (0-1, 4.22).

WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
Kyle Sheltons RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Barons to a 3-2 victory over Mississippi Friday night at Regions Park.

Christian Colonel led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Greg Paiml. Ozzie Lewis beat out a bunt hit to put runners on first and second before Sheltons single up the middle put Birmingham in the lead. Andrew Garcias run-scoring single in the seventh knotted the score at 2-2.

Kyle Cofield 1-1 earned the win after throwing one-hit ball over 2 23 innings before Greg Infante picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Winston-Salem A
The Dash and Wilmington were postponed Friday due to weather and will make up the game Saturday as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. at BB&T Ballpark.
Kannapolis A
The Intimidators and West Virginia were rained out Friday night. They will make up the game on Saturday as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.

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

With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?

With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?

LOS ANGELES – John Lackey is ramping up for a return to the rotation and all those “Big Boy Games” the Cubs are supposed to play in October.

The Cubs expect Lackey to test his strained right shoulder and throw two bullpen sessions this week, manager Joe Maddon said Sunday at Dodger Stadium. If everything goes smoothly for the two-time World Series champion, the Cubs will tentatively schedule Lackey’s next start for either the Labor Day weekend showdown against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, or near the beginning of a three-city road trip in early September.     

Lackey (9-7, 3.41 ERA) has accounted for 158-plus innings, making 24 starts and stabilizing the rotation before going on the disabled list on Aug. 15. Jason Hammel should eventually cool off and will be “well-rested” after Maddon’s quick hook on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs also like what they’ve seen from Mike Montgomery, believing the lefty can develop into a solid big-league starter.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Could the Cubs go to a six-man rotation down the stretch?

“We haven’t planned that specifically yet,” Maddon said. “I’m not opposed, let me put it that way. We’ll see how it all plays out with Mikey the next time through. Again, to do anything we possibly can to conserve our arms for the end of the year is important. 

“It’s being proven throughout the industry right now. Moving forward, the biggest trick there is to get the sixth guy that you like. Most teams are clamoring to get (No.) 4 and 5. We got five that we like. Now we’re working on 6.”

It’s not like the Cubs are fighting for a wild-card spot or clinging to a one-game lead in the division. The best record in baseball allows them to look at the big picture and get creative in September. The counterargument to keeping starters fresh for October would be keeping creatures of habit like Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in a rhythm. 

“Starting pitchers have always rallied to say that they need to stay on that particular plan,” Maddon said. “But I think it’s kind of been proven – just give them that extra day or two on occasion and it really benefits them. So I just think you’re fighting this old view of specifically how it needs to be done." 

Bears cut 10 players, trim roster to 80

Bears cut 10 players, trim roster to 80

The Bears have until Tuesday to move their roster down to 75, and they began Sunday by cutting 10 players.

The following players were waived: DL Keith Browner, WR Kieran Duncan, WR Derek Keaton, OL John Kling, RB Senorise Perry, WR Darrin Peterson, DB Joel Ross, TE Gannon Sinclair, OL Martin Wallace, FB Darrell Young

The Bears' roster currently sits at 80 players. After getting the roster down to 75 on Tuesday, the team will then cut down to 53 for the start of the regular season.

The Bears open their regular season on Sept. 4 in Houston against the Texans.

Carlos Rodon, White Sox shut down Mariners in series finale

Carlos Rodon, White Sox shut down Mariners in series finale

Carlos Rodon continued his best stretch of the season on Sunday afternoon.

The White Sox pitcher earned his fifth consecutive quality start in the team's 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field.

Rodon had another impressive day, finishing the game with six innings pitched while allowing one run on five hits and one walk. He also struck out six.

In his last five starts, Rodon is 3-0 and has allowed only six runs (five earned) while tacking on 26 strikeouts. He lowered his season ERA to 3.91.

"Carlos is really evolving. As he goes along he just seems to be getting better, there's more confidence there," manager Robin Ventura said. "He's learning a lot about himself as well, going through these. He gets extended somewhat, he's in there for a while, he's seeing these guys the third time around, which is good for him.

"He has the stuff to be able to do that and continue to do that, really. The future's really bright for him."

Though four runs were scored, it was mostly a quiet night for the White Sox offense, which finished the game with five hits. The team had two hits in the first seven innings and the remaining three came in the eighth.

The White Sox opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a single by Justin Morneau, which scored two.

Adam Eaton left the game in the fifth inning with a bruised right forearm after the White Sox outfielder was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. X-rays were negative and he remains day-to-day. J.B. Shuck replaced him in center field.

"He got hit in the forearm and he couldn't hold on to the bat," Ventura said. "As of right now, he's just day to day."

The Mariners got on the board in the sixth thanks to a solo homer by Robinson Cano, his 30th of the year, to cut the lead in half.

On his 100th pitch of the day, Rodon was removed in the seventh after allowing back-to-back singles to lead off the inning.

"As a competitor, I want to be in that situation," Rodon said. "I didn’t want to come out. But when you’ve got a manager who has done it for awhile, he knows the game of baseball, he knows what he’s doing, obviously it worked out there. You put your trust in him and leave it to your teammates, let them do it.

"You’re up 2-1, you want a quick inning, you want another hold in that seventh. Didn’t really want to dip into the pen that early. I’ve been trying to stay in the game longer. Just a little frustrated. I want to be competitive, I still want to be out there. But hats off to my teammates once again for digging me out."

The White Sox bullpen shut down the Mariners the rest of the way in the final three innings. Chris Beck, Dan Jennings and Nate Jones combined for two scoreless innings.

In the eighth, Melky Cabrera legged out an RBI triple for the White Sox to pull ahead, 3-1. An RBI single from Jose Abreu, who was hit by a pitch twice, made it 4-1.

David Robertson closed out the ninth and earned his 33rd save of the season, which ranks third in the American League.

The White Sox are 63-66 on the season and have won six of their last eight. As it stands, the White Sox are 7.5 games out of a wild card spot and 10.5 behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians.

The White Sox picked the perfect time to heat up if there's any shot of them playing October baseball, with 27 of their last 33 games being against division opponents. 

"Anything’s possible," Morneau said. "It’ll take a lot but we do it one day at a time one game at a time. If we kind of prepare the way we need to prepare and go out there and do everything we can to win that day. If you look at the big picture it seems pretty overwhelming, but if you go out there and just try and do what you can everyday I think we’re still alive.

"We kind of control our own destiny."