Cubs lose sixth consecutive game

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Cubs lose sixth consecutive game

Like the weather, the Cubs (3-11) stayed ice-cold Friday, dropping their sixth straight game by a score of 9-4 to the Cincinnati Reds (6-8).

Game-time temperatures dipped into the 30s with the wind chill at Wrigley Field as a disastrous first inning doomed the Cubs and starter Chris Volstad.

After striking out Zack Cozart to lead off the game, Volstad allowed five straight batters to reach, resulting in four runs. The Reds stole two bases in the inning and the Cubs committed two errors -- one charged to Starlin Castro after a throw to second on an attempted steal got by him into center field and one on Marlon Byrd on a throw to third base later in the frame.

"After striking the first guy out, it kind of snow-balled," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Obviously an inning we didn't need at that point."

"One bad inning each of the last two starts," Volstad said. "This one happened to be the first inning, so it put me and the team in a huge hole to start the game off...It's disappointing because starting the game like that, the team is down 4-0 right away and it's hard to battle back."

The Cubs attempted to claw back with a couple of unearned runs in the third when Reds left fielder Chris Heisey dropped Castro's two-out fly ball on the warning track, allowing David DeJesus to score. Bryan LaHair, hitting cleanup for the first time this season, followed with a base hit.

But Volstad allowed the Reds on the board twice the very next inning, surrendering a two-out, two-run double to Drew Stubbs, who had three hits on the afternoon.

"The big hit of the game was Stubbs to put it 6-2 after we just scored," Sveum said. "That was kind of the back-breaker to the whole deal."

Cincinnati tacked on solo runs in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings to put the game away. Volstad is now winless in his last 14 starts, dating back to the middle of last season. He has seven losses and seven no-decisions in that span.

"That's the way the game is, I guess," Volstad said. "I just have to keep worrying about pitching...Just have to keep battling and get ready for St. Louis in my next start."

On a day when the Cubs received bad news regarding the health of veteran pitchers Kerry Wood (who was placed on the DL with right shoulder fatigue Friday) and Ryan Dempster (whose start Sunday is in doubt with a quad issue), the offense was snakebitten as well.

Despite hitting the ball hard all day, the Cubs had little to show for it, racking up just five hits and one earned run. Ian Stewart was especially unlucky, lining out hard three of his four times up.

"That's probably about the best we've swung the bat all year," Sveum said. "We hit the heck out of the ball all day, right at people and didn't get anything to show for it. A couple balls would have been home runs...Stewart didn't have anything to show for a really nice day at the plate.

"It was nice to see...We battled and swung the bats great."

Bryan LaHair led the Cubs offense with two hits -- including a double -- as well as an RBI and run scored. But he, too, was miffed by the Cubs' bad luck.

"I think everybody hit at least two balls hard," he said. "Tough break, tough game and we just have to keep doing it."

Box Score

Adam Eaton's defense has forced White Sox to change plans for Avisail Garcia

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Adam Eaton's defense has forced White Sox to change plans for Avisail Garcia

Adam Eaton’s outstanding defensive play in right field has altered the team’s original plans to give Avisail Garcia some playing time there.

Through 47 games, Eaton has played at a Gold Glove-level for the White Sox. He leads all major league defenders with 14 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), according to fangraphs.com, which has made it impossible to play Garcia in the field. That has White Sox manager Robin Ventura considering other ways to get Garcia on the field, including taking fly balls in left.

“The emergence of Adam out in right field has made it different,” Ventura said. “It’s a different spot for (Garcia). Eventually he’ll be back out there, but right now, what works for us is Adam in right field.”

“Adam has been above and beyond what we really thought he would be in right field.”

Garcia, 24, has nearly been relegated to full-time duty as the team’s designated hitter in 2016. He has a total of 16 innings played in the outfield.

Last year, Garcia started 129 games in the outfield. But his collective struggles — Garcia produced minus-11 DRS in 2015 — with Eaton’s forced the White Sox to look for a defensive-minded center fielder this offseason. Whereas last year the White Sox outfield was 26th of 30 with minus-22 DRS, this season they’re fifth overall at 7 DRS with Austin Jackson patrolling center.

The team’s defense has been a critical part to the club’s early success, which makes it nearly impossible for Eaton to sit. Garcia could see time in right field on days when Eaton needs to rest. But he’s more likely to force Melky Cabrera to the bench for a day or two and has worked to prepare for such an occasion.

“He’s getting some fly balls out there,” Ventura said. “That’s probably going to be really the rotation starts coming in for him to be able to get out there and get on the field. Or if something comes up with Adam or we want to DH. I even thought of that the other night during the DH. Again, Adam feels like he’s good enough to keep going.”

Bears sign former Notre Dame linebacker Jarrett Grace

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Bears sign former Notre Dame linebacker Jarrett Grace

The Bears announced on Wednesday they have signed former Notre Dame linebacker Jarrett Grace.

Grace attended Bears rookie minicamp earlier this month as a tryout player. 

Grace appeared in 32 games with the Fighting Irish and notched 78 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Grace was named to the Butkus Award Watch List prior to the 2014 season, but ultimately missed the whole year while recovering from a broken leg he suffered against Arizona State in 2013.

Following the 2015 season Grace expressed interest in applying for a sixth year waiver from the NCAA, but didn't fit the league's requirements, as CSNChicago.com Notre Dame Insider JJ Stankevitz highlighted.

To make room for Grace on the 90-man roster the Bears waived linebacker Danny Mason.

Mason spent parts of the 2015 season on both the Bears and Denver Broncos practice squads, but never appeared in a regular season game.

93 Days to Kickoff: Glenbrook North

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93 Days to Kickoff: Glenbrook North

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Glenbrook North Spartans

Head coach: Bob Pieper

Assistant coaches: Matt Purdy, Dom Savino, Justin Georgacakis, Mike Standerski, Justin Weiner

How they fared in 2015: 8-2 (5-0) Central Suburban North. The Spartans made the Class 7A state playoff field. Glenbrook North lost to Bradley in the opening round.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the experienced defense hold on, while an inexperienced offense gets up to speed?

Names to watch this season: QB Kevin Burnside, DE Matt Pawlowski, WR Tommy Gertner

Biggest holes to fill: The Glenbrook North offense brings back Burnside and a few other experienced names, but the Spartans will need to find answers on the line, as well in the backfield.

EDGY's early take: Year in and year out Glenbrook North is one of the top teams to watch in the Central Suburban North and that shouldn't change in 2016. If the Spartans defense can allow the offense to gain some early experience this will be a nice team to watch for in 7A.