On The Farm: Archer stays sharp for Tennessee

On The Farm: Archer stays sharp for Tennessee

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010
10:40 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS
Tennessee (AA)
Chris Archer continued to his magnificent run Tuesday night, pitching Tennessee by Huntsville, 7-1, at Smokies Park.

An apropos score considering Archer improved to 7-1 with Tennessee after going 7-1 with Dayton earlier this season. He allowed only a run in seven innings while striking out eight, leaving his Southern League ERA at a microscopic 0.58 in 46 13 innings.

Archer remains within striking distance of a 20-win season despite only having five starts remaining. Depending on weather or any relief appearances, he could become the first 20-game winner since John Fritz won 20 games for Quad Cities 1992.

Ryan Buchter and Jeremy Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the victory. Brandon Guyer had a pair of hits and three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Hes batting .472 (25-for-53) with 19 RBIs during the streak. Russ Canzler had two hits and drove in a pair.

In other action, Tampa romped past Dayton, 8-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Jake Optiz had three hits and an RBI. Portland upended Iowa, 13-3, at Principal Park. Jeff Samardzija took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits in seven innings. Micah Hoffpauir took his 18-game hitting streak to Chicago, having been called up when the Cubs placed Derrek Lee on the bereavement list. Hoffpauir, who is the reigning PCL Player of the Week, was hitting .413 (31-for-75) during the streak.

WHITE SOX

Charlotte (AAA)
Lucas Harrell bounced back from his worst Triple-A performance of the season on Tuesday, putting for a strong effort as Charlotte defeated Durham, 5-4, at Durham Athletic Park.

Harrell (10-9) allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings after allowing four runs in two innings of his last start on Aug. 5. He had considerable help from the pen as a trio of pitchers preserved the victory with Ryan Braun earning his 17th save despite allowing a ninth-inning run.

Brent Morel had three hits and drove in a pair while Jeremy Reed knocked in two with a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Winston-Salem (A)
Brandon Shorts two-run triple in the sixth inning provided the margin of victory as the Dash downed Wilmington, 5-4, on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium.

The scored had been tied 3-3 when Short picked up his second triple in as many games. Jose Martinez also had a pair of hits and an RBI to make a winner of Charlis Burdie, who allowed a run in three innings.

Kannapolis (A)
The Intimidators closed out their homestand on a positive note Tuesday, defeating Hagerstown, 8-2, at Fieldcrest Canon Stadium. Kannapolis went 6-2 on the stand to draw to within four games of .500.

Brady Shoemaker had a pair of hits and drove in three. Hes hitting .412 over his last 109 games. Nick Ciolli added a pair of hits and drove in two allowing Andre Rienzo to pick up his eight win of the year and fifth in his last seven outings.

In other action, Bristol banged out 16 hits and romped by Danville, 8-3. Jeffer Patino had four of the hits and drove in one. He also scored three times. Chase Blackwood and Mike Schwartz (three RBIs) had three hits apiece. Jamaal Hollis improved to 3-0 after tossing three shutout innings. Sal Sanchezs second-inning grand slam paced Birmingham to a 7-3 victory over visiting Mississippi. Great Falls and Missoula were postponed due to weather with no makeup date set.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Bears’ Markus Wheaton says wide receiver group is 'definitely underrated'

Bears’ Markus Wheaton says wide receiver group is 'definitely underrated'

No doubt, there are doubts about the makeup of this 2017 Bears wide receiver corps. But as the departed Alshon Jeffery created doubts, health-wise, the past two years about whether he could stay on the field to prove himself worthy of a big payday (which he didn’t even get from the Eagles), Ryan Pace brought in a handful of replacements who’ve flashed in this league before. But recent history’s shown each of them has something to prove as well.

From Rueben Randle to fellow former Giant Victor Cruz. From former first rounders Kendall Wright to Kevin White, taking a third swing at making it though an entire NFL season.

Then there’s Markus Wheaton, the only free agent signee at the position this season to receive a two-year deal ($11 million total, with $6 million guaranteed). Like the rest of the group, though, he’s at a career crossroads. Following seasons with 53 and 44 catches in Pittsburgh in 2014 and 2015 (with a 17-yard average in the latter), the quick-twitch former Steeler was limited to three games a year ago before eventually undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in January.

“Everyone’s new, so we don’t know what it’s gonna be,” he said of the group at the team’s recent minicamp in Lake Forest. “In Pittsburgh you kind of have a clue `cause they’ve done it for so long. Everybody’s new, everybody’s trying to find their niche, so we’ll see how it goes. Anything’s possible. We’ve got a lot of guys who are looking for opportunity. A lot of guys that are hungry and have something to prove. Anything’s possible. Anyone can come out on top. The ultimate goal is to win games and I’m sure the coaches will put us in position to do that.”

The former third-round pick out of Oregon State (where he’s the Beavers’ all-time career leader in receptions, one ahead of Brandin Cooks) played all three receiver positions in Pittsburgh at various times, and while he seems most natural in the slot, is working to make himself as versatile as possible here. But that comes with some risk as a quarterback room that’s also gone through its share of turnover tries to get on the same page with all the targets. But Wheaton is more than confident the results will come from within this group.

“I think we definitely are underrated," Wheaton said. "We’ve come in and worked to get to where we wanna be. We will get there, and it’ll show up on the field.”

The incumbents in the room include Joshua Bellamy, Deonte Thompson, Daniel Braverman, Cam Meredith, and, of course, White. Wheaton can see the potential in the ex-seventh overall draft pick.

“I couldn’t imagine all the stuff he’s been through, all the pressure that’s been put on him," Wheaton said. "But he’s a down-to-earth guy who works extremely hard, so I think he’s gonna get his. He’s a big-time playmaker, so I’m excited to see him play.

“They welcomed me with open arms. Everybody’s down to earth, been easy to talk to so when I have questions, I’ve been getting answers, so it’s been real easy for me.”

That surgically-repaired shoulder was cleared for full participation just in time for minicamp two weeks ago. And Wheaton won’t allow himself to become hesitant physically as he aims to conquer what hesitation he could have within the offense, working with quarterbacks not named Ben Roethlisberger.

“I really don’t think there’s time for that. When you’re ready to go, you just go,” Wheaton told us. “You come in, you work, you rehab. And for me personally I had to rehab a lot to get back to where I wanted to be. There’s a level I want to be at. I’ve been just working to get there, so there’s no time for that.”

That last statement comes even if some observers hesitate to call Wheaton and these wideouts “underrated.” They’ll start attempting to prove that when the Bears report to Bourbonnais exactly one month from Monday.

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.

Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.

“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."

Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."

Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.

“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”