Cubs, Campana knock Halladay off his game

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Cubs, Campana knock Halladay off his game

PHILADELPHIA This could have been what Philip Humber meant when he said he didnt know what his name was doing on this list.

Until Humber made baseball history last week with the White Sox, the last man to throw a perfect game was Roy Halladay, the machine who did it to the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010.

Some four months later, Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first postseason start (against the Cincinnati Reds). The Philadelphia Phillies ace has won the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

Halladay appeared to be in the zone on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, retiring the first 10 Cubs he faced. A sellout crowd in South Philly (45,261) might have wondered if history was unfolding.

Tony Campana, whos listed at 5-foot-8, made everyone take notice in the fourth inning. He was a blur sprinting down the line, getting underneath the tag and sliding headfirst into first base.

The Perfect Game Watch was over with that bunt single. The Cubs were putting a 5-1 victory in motion.

Campana stole second and scored the games first run when Starlin Castro singled to right-center field. The 25-year-old outfielder has brought a different dimension to this team since the Marlon Byrd trade, and will keep pushing until Brett Jacksons ready to play center.

After watching Campana run out two infield hits, score two runs and steal his fifth base in six games since his promotion from Triple-A Iowa, manager Dale Sveum committed to playing him 80 percent of the time.

Thats awesome, Campana said. That gives me a chance to kind of show what I can do and hopefully I can stay there for a long time.

Since 2005, the Cubs are now 5-1 in their six games against Halladay, who took the loss after giving up three runs in seven innings. Campana liked to think that he disrupted Halladays rhythm.

Definitely, Campana said. Hes usually one of those guys that likes to just get the ball and go and he had to slow down and really pay attention to me a little bit more.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for Paul Maholm, who began his start by giving up back-to-back singles before shutting down the Phillies (9-11) for six innings.

Maholms 100th and final pitch was drilled by Ty Wigginton for a home run in the seventh, but the left-hander still outdueled Halladay.

Hes a great pitcher and you know hes not going to give up a ton, Maholm said. You just got to make sure you make your pitches, get groundballs and do everything you can to make sure that we had a chance to come back in and get some things going.

It took a little while, but luckily I kept throwing up a couple zeroes and the defense was making plays.

You probably didnt see this coming from the Cubs (7-13). Maholm has won his past two starts after getting hammered in his first two. Campana has shown that he can be a game-changer. It turns out Halladay wasnt perfect.

I dont think you ever have any explanation about beating the best pitcher in baseball, Sveum said. It didnt look too good after those first three or four innings. It didnt look like we were going to do a whole heck of a lot off his fastball and his cutter. (But) we fought and scratched and did what we could to get the runs when we had to.

What to make of Blackhawks blockbuster deals

What to make of Blackhawks blockbuster deals

Before the clock struck noon on a day Chicago was hosting its first ever NHL Draft, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman sent shockwaves throughout the city and hockey world by completing a pair of blockbuster trades within an hour of each other.

The first was dealing three-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona, and the second involving Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad in a swap of talented wingers with Columbus.

This comes two days after the Blackhawks announced Marian Hossa will miss the 2017-18 campaign with a progressive skin disorder. That's three core players gone in the blink of an eye.

Who's ready for a new era in Chicago?

Rather than maximizing a championship window that was viewed as closing quickly, Bowman has elected to take a long-term approach and it might not be the worst idea.

There's no doubt the loss of Hjalmarsson, who remains one of the most underrated blue liners in the league, and Panarin, who finished in the top-10 in scoring among forwards in both of his first two NHL seasons, will sting.

But there's a good chance the Blackhawks wouldn't have been able to reward them with the pay raises they deserve after their contracts expire following the 2018-19 season, and that certainly played a huge role in the decision to head in a new direction.

In reacquiring Saad, the Blackhawks finally give Jonathan Toews that reliable left-winger they've desperately lacked since Saad was shipped out of town in 2015, providing balance throughout the top-six. Saad is also locked up for the next four years at a $6 million cap hit that will look better as time goes by.

For the last two years, the Blackhawks were known as a one-line scoring team thanks to the chemistry developed between Patrick Kane and Panarin.

The second-half emergence of Nick Schmaltz and familiarity Kane has developed with center Artem Anisimov has allowed Panarin to become expendable in their quest to solve their top-line woes. And that's not a bad consolation line, especially when you consider top prospect Alex DeBrincat could also be in the cards as early as this season.

On the back end, the Blackhawks receive a 24-year-old defenseman in Connor Murphy, who's also signed for the next four years at a $3.85 million cap hit, and carries a right-handed shot, something they've needed more of in the organization. While there will certainly be growing pains under Joel Quenneville, Murphy's ceiling is fairly high and gives the Blackhawks some speed coming out of their own zone.

In making both of these deals, the Blackhawks got younger in their attempt to keep up with a league that relies more on speed, addressing a few areas that Nashville exposed during their first-round sweep of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.

And while they may have sacrificed two key players in the short-term, the Blackhawks executed a plan that should keep the perceived championship window open longer than expected.

Jimmy Butler is switching jerseys to the number he wasn't allowed to wear in Chicago

Jimmy Butler is switching jerseys to the number he wasn't allowed to wear in Chicago

Jimmy Butler is paying homage to the GOAT.

The former Bulls star could never be No. 23 in Chicago because of some guy named Michael Jordan, but now Butler is free in Minnesota.

Butler posted an emotional goodbye to Bulls fans and the city on Instagram Friday afternoon and fans pointed out he also changed his IG bio to read "#23 in minnesota, forever #33 from marquette."

Butler wore No. 21 during his six years with the Bulls since the most iconic jersey number in sports is retired in Chicago.

Considering Butler is probably the Bulls' best player since MJ, it makes sense Butler would want to follow in Jordan's footsteps in terms of jersey number, too.

Butler wore No. 21 with the Bulls to honor his college teammate, Joe Fulce, who he played with at Tyler Junior College. When Fulce later committed to Marquette, he brought Butler with him in Buzz Williams' first year in Milwaukee.