Better believe it: Garza says hes ready to go


Better believe it: Garza says hes ready to go

LOS ANGELES In Matt Garzas mind, theres no doubt that hes on track to start Tuesday night in San Diego.

You better effin believe it, dude, Garza said.

Thats not entirely up to Garza, who felt much better on Saturday after throwing a bullpen and off flat ground at Dodger Stadium. But the Cubs havent pushed him back again either, which looked like a real possibility after shutting down Fridays bullpen.

Its not his decision, manager Dale Sveum said with a laugh. Im glad he thinks that way.

Thats still more than a week too late for a front office that wanted another showcase start or two. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer got plenty of interesting calls about Garza before the trade deadline, even though he hadnt pitched since July 21. The Cubs called it triceps cramping and indicated the MRI on his right elbow was mostly clean, except for traces of fluid.

But the uncertainty made it difficult if not impossible for the Cubs to extract maximum value for Garza, whos 28 and under club control next season. Epstein and Hoyer called the timing unfortunate and seemed to signal that they would be open for business again this winter.

It is a guy you could build a rotation around, Sveum said, but the fact of the matter is you still listen to offers (on) anybody. Thats just the way the game is. (But), yeah, when everythings right, he can go out there with no-hitter stuff.

Garza wont be at that level the next time out, limited to around 70 or 80 pitches. He felt stiff on Friday, though the Cubs said that was to be expected after taking three days off to be with his wife during the birth of their fourth child.

(Im) anxious as hell, Garza said. But Im running my butt off and doing everything I can (to get ready). Getting out there is a different story. I want to get out there first, then Ill worry about pitch counts and all that other crap later.

Watch: Former Bulls center Joakim Noah misses everything with this free-throw attempt

Watch: Former Bulls center Joakim Noah misses everything with this free-throw attempt

We all remember Joakim Noah's twisty-turny tornado shooting style from the free-throw line.

It was funny, and it worked better than you might expect, with Noah's unconventional shooting style from the charity stripe going through the net better than 73 percent of the time over a five-season span from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

But things haven't gone so well there for Noah in his first season with the New York Knicks. Entering Monday night's game, Noah was shooting just 42.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Well, things might've hit rock bottom Monday, with this nasty-looking free-throw try from Noah that missed everything.

Take a look:

Say it ain't so, Jo.

TSN coaches poll: Wild favored to win West over Blackhawks

TSN coaches poll: Wild favored to win West over Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups since 2010, and have eliminated the Minnesota Wild from the playoffs three times from 2013-15.

But it's the Wild that NHL coaches believe will win the Western Conference this season as we approach the trade deadline.

In his annual midseason poll, TSN's Bob McKenzie surveyed 25 of 30 coaches to vote on multiple categories, such as the league's best player and the team most likely to win it all.

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According to the survey, 11 coaches predicted the Wild will win the West while the Blackhawks and Sharks tied for second with four votes.

As for winning the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals are the favorite, earning 10 votes, followed closely by the reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins with eight. The Wild and Blackhawks rounded out the poll with three and two votes, respectively.

Joel Quenneville earned one vote as the NHL's best coach, which is three fewer votes than he had last year, despite this year being arguably his most challenging — and best — coaching job since arriving in Chicago, given the youth on the roster.