A crosstown letdown for Cubs, Dempster


A crosstown letdown for Cubs, Dempster

You could hear the jet engines during the flyover. The visiting dignitaries from the NATO summit included Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was the White Sox, the entire city and a national television audience at home watching.

The Cubs went quietly on Saturday night at Wrigley Field, losing 7-4 in a game that wasnt nearly that close. White Sox left-hander John Danks took a perfect game into the fifth inning, and the Cubs saved all their offense until the ninth.

A loss is a loss, Ryan Dempster said afterward. I dont really care whos watching. I dont like losing anytime. So if there was one person in the stands, or theres 40,000 people, to me, it means the same thing.

It just sucks to lose a ballgame.

Dempster is now winless in his last 16 starts, a streak that dates back to Aug. 16 of last year, and one of the few big names left on this team now that Kerry Wood has retired.

Dempster (0-2, 2.28) gave up back-to-back shots to Dayan Viciedo and A.J. Pierzynski in the third, and allowed four runs in six innings, for a team thats 10 games under .500 and doesnt have that kind of margin for error. These will be the growing pains.

I think theres just a tremendous thing here on the North Side with this staff and this management (team), Wood said. Im excited to watch for the future. (These) young guys here, the Barneys and Castros and Samardzijas and Russells and Campanas are starting the journey Im ending today. I look forward to the excitement of watching these guys grow and learn this game and ultimately bring a championship to this city that deserves it.

The Cubs roster is still in flux, with Welington Castillo dealing with a knee injury, Geovany Soto recovering from knee surgery and Koyie Hill coming over from the Cincinnati Reds organization for cash. There was Blake Parker leaving the game with a hamstring injury and Randy Wells coming up from Triple-A Iowa to take Woods spot in the bullpen.

Were running out of lockers, Dempster said. Thats probably the biggest thing. Maybe we should hurry up and dress up the rookies here pretty soon because we have a lot of em.

Its unfortunate. We got a lot of guys getting hurt not major things, but little things. We just got to find a way to battle through that and go out there and win ballgames.

Curie senior Elijah Joiner commits to Tulsa


Curie senior Elijah Joiner commits to Tulsa

Curie senior guard Elijah Joiner ended his recruitment on Sunday by committing to Tulsa on Twitter.

The 6-foot-3 Joiner helped the Condors with the Class 4A state championship in Illinois last season as the combo guard averaged 11.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Joiner shot 49 percent from the floor, 36 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the free-throw line on the season.

Forming a dynamic duo with current DePaul freshman Devin Gage last season, Joiner was one of the toughest players to defend in the city. He committed to Tulsa during his official visit to campus this weekend.

"It felt like home and it was a great situation," Joiner said of Tulsa.

Without Gage this season, Joiner will be Curie's go-to player as the Condors will once again be a major threat for a city and state championship. Since Joiner can handle the ball and also play off of it, it'll be intriguing to see how head coach Mike Oliver uses his star in Curie's offense. 

Fire wrap 2016 season with loss at Toronto


Fire wrap 2016 season with loss at Toronto

It wasn’t a full youth movement on the season's last day, but there was one new face in the Chicago Fire’s lineup and that could signal something to come in the offseason.

Goalkeeper Patrick McLain made the start in goal for the Fire in a 3-2 loss at Toronto FC to close out the season.

With the Fire out of contention weeks ago, arguably more notable than the result is the absence of Sean Johnson. Johnson did not travel to Toronto as a healthy scratch while McLain got the start and Matt Lampson was the backup. Considering coach Veljko Paunovic's repeated assurance that he would play what he thought was the strongest lineup and not rotate players just to give younger players more playing time, this decision stands out.

This will fuel further speculation that Johnson could leave in the offseason. Johnson, 27, has been with the Fire since being drafted in 2010. He is the longest tenured Fire player.

McLain finished with three saves, including a nice reaction save following a corner kick in the first half.

Johan Kappelhof also did not play due to a right hip injury. Rodrigo Ramos started at right back in his absence.

As for the actual game, the Fire (7-17-10, 31 points) took the lead via Michael de Leeuw’s seventh goal of the season in the 18th minute. Arturo Alvarez picked up his ninth assist by sliding a pass to de Leeuw, who finished from a tight angle.

Toronto (14-9-11, 53 points) tied things up just before halftime when Sebastian Giovinco was tripped in the box by Joao Meira for a penalty kick. Giovinco buried the penalty and the match was tied at halftime.

Giovinco showed why he is the reigning MLS MVP on the second goal. He managed to control a ball while being double teamed in the box and cut by his man to get to the end line and crossed to Justin Morrow, who finished with a powerful header in the 54th minute.

Jonathan Osorio made it 3-1 when he dribbled around McLain and scored in the 62nd minute.

John Goossens, who came off the bench in the first half for an injured Matt Polster, scored in the 83rd minute to make for a closer finish to the game. Goossens half-volleyed a loose ball in the box with a hammered left-footed strike and his third goal of the season. Polster left with a knee injury.

The loss meant the Fire became the first team in MLS history to finish last place in back-to-back seasons.