Cubs may have to skip Garza's turn in rotation


Cubs may have to skip Garza's turn in rotation

By Paul LaTour contributor

A virus running through the Cubs may force manager Dale Sveum to further push back Matt Garzas next start.

Garza was already moved back one day, but prior to Saturdays game with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sveum said Garza was iffy regarding Sundays scheduled start in the series finale from Wrigley Field.

Id say thats good way to put it, iffy, Sveum said in his office. Hes probably right on the 'iffy' line. I dont think its long term, but hes pretty down and out. Hes pretty sick.

Sveum said if Garza cant go, Travis Wood would get his first start. The Cubs are expected to recall the left-handed Wood up from Class AAA Iowa. Wood was 1-3 with a 5.08 earned-run average in five starts for Iowa. He has allowed 35 hits and eight walks with 30 strikeouts in 28.1 innings.

As for Garza, Sveum said he may be forced to have Garza skip his turn in the rotation, giving him five more days to recover from the virus that has struck several players.

Infielder Jeff Baker is also sidelined because of illness.

Hes getting even sicker, Sveum said. Hes not getting any better, thats for sure, so he probably wont be available today either.

Sveum added that he believes its the same virus, and that it is just working its way through the team.

(Scott) Maine got it leaving Philadelphia, and its kind of snowballed into everybody getting sick on the team, he said.

Losing Garza even for one start could hurt the Cubs, who have been getting strong starting pitching as late. In five starts, Garza is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 10 walks in 33.2 innings.

This might linger on to where we just skip his start altogether, and get him ready for his next start five days from (Sunday), Sveum said.

Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida


Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida

Iowa is going back to the Outback Bowl.

Yes, for the fifth time in the last 13 seasons, the Hawkeyes will wrap their campaign with a trip to Tampa and an appearance in the Outback Bowl. And for the third time, their opponent there will be the Florida Gators. That game kicks at noon on Jan. 2.

Iowa and Florida met in the Outback Bowl to conclude the 2003 and 2005 seasons, splitting those two matchups.

This time around, the Hawkeyes are coming off an 8-4 regular season, a disappointing follow up to their 12-2 campaign a season ago that started off a perfect 12-0 before postseason losses in the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl.

Kirk Ferentz has led his team to a bowl appearance in 14 of his 18 seasons, though Iowa has lost the last four of those games, without a bowl win since taking down Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl.

Iowa is 2-2 in its four previous Outback Bowl appearances, beating Florida, losing to Florida, beating South Carolina and losing to LSU.

As for the Gators, they own an 8-4 record, as well, after falling to Alabama in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. Florida is known for its sluggish offense, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country.

Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium


Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

Start spreadin' the news.

Northwestern is heading to New York for its bowl game this season, specifically the Bronx, where it will battle Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Though it isn't your typically warm bowl destination, the baseball-stadium setting should be pretty fantastic. The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Dec. 28.

The Wildcats reached bowl eligibility with their sixth win in the regular-season finale against Illinois. Northwestern is heading to back-to-back bowl games after missing out on the postseason in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014.

This is just the 13th-ever bowl trip for the Cats, though it's their seventh in 11 seasons under Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern has a 1-5 record under Fitzgerald in the previous six bowl games, though that win is one of just two all-time bowl victories by the program.

This season started slowly for the Cats, who lost upsetting home games to Illinois State and Western Michigan and started 1-3. But Northwestern turned things around with back-to-back road wins over Iowa and Michigan State and finished 6-6. The Cats' offense has been particularly effective this season compared to seasons past. Wide receiver Austin Carr took home Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after leading the conference in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Running back Justin Jackson was the league's leading rusher until getting surpassed by just a couple yards by both Wisconsin's Corey Clement and Penn State's Saquon Barkley, who both competed in Saturday night's Big Ten Championship Game, adding to their respective rushing totals.

Pitt has had a pretty noteworthy season. Despite having four losses, it beat two teams that finished ranked in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings: No. 2 Clemson and No. 5 Penn State. The Panthers are coached by former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.