jon lester

It’s been a long time since I last spoke to you.  So much has happened in Chicago sports.  Here’s a look at the busy and unpredictable Chicago sports landscape.

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks:  They just keep doing what they do best, see win.  They lost their goalie Corey Crawford after an accident at a concert, but didn’t skip a beat.  Patrick Sharp returned to the ice and their winning ways have continued.  Right now, this organization is a blue print for the other teams in the city.

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Bulls:  So much was written about the man the team needs in order to win a championship-Derrick Rose.  As long as he is healthy for the playoff run I don’t care if he sits every other game.  He is back, but not completely healed so he takes what the defense gives him.  It seems others are following his lead of letting their bodies heal to be ready for the games that matter.  DRose also made headlines when he showed support for the Garner family by wearing the I Can’t Breathe shirt.  Some local sports media questioned his intelligence and motives.  He knows what he’s doing and the implications; please stop insulting the young man’s intelligence.  Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler are the team’s MVP and Niko Mirotic has been as good as advertised.  Biggest problem besides health is the defense; they’re giving up more points so far this year.

The newest member of the Sox.

The newest member of the Sox.

White Sox:  The south siders are making moves this off season.  They have signed reliever Zach Duke, closer David Robertson and first baseman/DH Adam LaRoche.  They completed a six player trade with the Oakland Athletics getting starter Jeff Samardzija.  Pitching coach Don Cooper was downright giddy after learning about the move.  So they have strengthened their bullpen, starting rotation and hitting; now the question is will they catch the ball or will they throw away games this season.

The first step in competing in 2015

The first step in competing in 2015

Cubs:  Theo and company made a huge splash getting the best free agent pitcher Jon Lester for 6 years for $155 million, $30 million signing bonus and no trade clause.  There are many who think now that the team signed Lester they will speed up their clock to compete and look to acquire a big bat.  They signed pitcher Jason Hammel and acquired catcher Miguel Montero, with that move some expect Wellington Castillo to be traded.  Theo said they aren’t looking to trade him and apparently he told other teams that shortstop Starlin Castro is not available.  Cubs need offense so keeping Starlin makes sense.

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears:  I saved the worst for last.  The coaches and players are bad, the front office is bad and the field is bad.  It’s just an all-around bad team.  Mel Tucker may be the fall guy, but I don’t think fans will think that is enough.  After this year many faces will be gone, and I’m not sure any of the young players are any good.  Thankfully the misery of this season ends in 3 weeks.

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Sox fans can breathe a sigh of relief as things are slowly starting to improve for the South Siders. After a miserable April when the Sox went 10-15, sovaldi the South Siders have seen improvement over the first few weeks of May going 9-8 and digging themselves out of last place of the AL Central.  On their road trip that ended this weekend in LA, the Sox saw their longest win streak of the season winning 4 in a row and finishing their road trip 4-3.

Highlights from the Angels series included a rare feat from White Sox 3rd baseman Jeff Keppinger, who after 140 plate appearances without a walk finally coaxed one forcing in the go ahead run and the Sox won 5-4 on Thursday.  In game 2 the south siders’ pitcher Chris Sale struck out a season high 12 batters on his way to a 3-0 win over the Angels.

Game 3 of the series the White Sox scored 9 runs, which normally is enough, but the bullpen struggled giving up 12 runs and the Sox lost 12-9.  The finale of the series featured several walks by the Sox pitchers and timely hitting by the Angels’ hitters.  Our boys in black lost 6-2 and finished to road trip 4-3 and are 6 games behind the Indians in the AL Central.

The Sox now begin an 8-game home stand starting with the Boston Red Sox (BoSox) tonight at the Cell.

The BoSox come to Chicago winners of 4 of their last 5 games and coming off a weekend sweep of the Minnesota Twins.  They have a record of 26-17 and are a game back of their fierce rivals the New York Yankees.

Can the ChiSox keep up their recently gained momentum against a very good BoSox team that are on their own hot streak? This is a big series here in Chicago that will certainly revitalize conversations about what exactly is ailing the Sox this season. Here’s what you need to know heading into this 3-game highly anticipated series.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • During their 8-game home stand that begins tonight, the White Sox will face the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs who are a combined 27 games under .500.  This is the time for the boys from the South Side to make their move and get right versus the lesser teams.  The Sox are behind in the standings and while they face lesser teams the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians will face teams that are a combined 22 games over .500.  The time is now to make a move in the division.

    Adam Dunn

  • Adam Dunn left Saturday’s loss to the Angels with back spasms.  Although Dunn is downplaying the injury back problems are always a concern.  This is tough because in his last 5 games Dunn has 8 hits, 4 homeruns and 10 RBIs after a horrible start to the season.  This back issue is definitely something to keep an eye on because a healthy and productive Dunn is needed if the Sox will come back in the division.
  • The BoSox are dealing with some nagging injuries themselves.  Both Shortstop Stephen Drew and Right Fielder Shane Victorino are day to day with back issues.
  • The BoSox hope to continue their torrid offensive pace when they arrive at the Cell this week.  During their 4 game win streak they have scored 28 runs.

PLAYERS TO WATCH FROM THE BOSOX

  • John Lester – Starting Pitcher (LHP):

    Jon Lester

The starting lefty will take the mound on Monday night and will be looking to extend his win streak to 7-0 and the BoSox’ win streak on the road to 7 games. Lester is having an incredible start to the season posting a 2.72 ERA. If he wins tonight, he’ll be the first BoSox pitcher to go 7-0 on the season in over 40 years.

  • David Ortiz-Designated Hitter (DH): 

David Ortiz

Big Papi is rounding into shape hitting .474 (batting average) over his last 7 games.  The White Sox pitching staff will have to try to contain him by making quality pitches and keeping men off base in front of him this series.

  • Dustin Pedroia-2nd Base (2B): 

    Dustin Pedroia

A career 304 hitter, Dustin remains steady in the sometimes inconsistent Red Sox lineup.  Over his last 7 games he is hitting .375 with 4 doubles.  He is heating up and hitting for more power but will also take a walk.

  • Clay Buchholz-Starting Pitcher (SP):  With a 6-0 record and a 1.78 ERA he is the ace of the staff and the schedule is set up for a series finale clash of the aces.  He started strong and is continuing his winning ways holding his opponents to a .192 batting average.

THE GAME TO WATCH

The Clash of the Aces…The White Sox’s Chris Sale will face The Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz on Wednesday night.  If you are into offense you may be disappointed as hitters are only batting .192 against both men.  Tickets to the Wednesday night game are as low as $7.00.  Get the best deals HERE and get to the Cell on Wednesday night for this pitching show-down.

As Hawk Harrelson would say:  sit back, relax and strap it down; because it’s going to be a fun series.

SERIES SCHEDULE:

Monday, May 20th: 7:10PM on Comcast SportsNet

Tuesday, May 21st: 7:10PM on WCIU

Wednesday, May 22nd: 7:10PM on Comcast SportsNet

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ChiSox vs. BoSox:  Let the second round of Sox Series begin!  The White Sox begin a 4-game series tonight at the Green Monster (nickname for Fenway Park) with several great story lines in the making.  Not only is this Kevin Youkilis’, cialis the Sox new power-slugging 3rd basemen’s first return back to Boston in a ChiSox uniform, sovaldi but the irony of where both teams sit in the standings also has people talking.  Before the season started, critics had the two Sox ball clubs going in opposite directions:  Boston was picked to have a deep playoff push and Chicago was predicted to be an average team that would miss the playoffs altogether.  Fast forward about 4 months and Chicago is sitting atop their division with the 4th most wins in the league while Boston is struggling to stay above .500. Who’d a thought?

What You Need to Know:

  • Both clubs started off the season with a new managers,Robin Ventura for the ChiSox and Bobby Valentine for the BoSox. These two men had the tall task of filling in for the managers who brought world series titles to Chicago and Boston. (Ozzie Guillen and Terry Francona)

    Kevin Youkilis

  • The Red Sox shipped Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in late June after a spat between Youk and manager Bobby Valentine. In an interview in April, Valentine stated that Youkilis wasn’t “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.” Youkilis rebutted the comment stating that everyone knows that he always works as hard as he can. Since then Valentine has accused Youk of taking the comment too harshly and the bad blood between the two boiled until Youk was traded to the ChiSox.  Monday will be Youkilis’ first game against the BoSox as a ChiSox.  Tuning in just to see the fan’s reaction to Youk and how the media will beat the story to death is tempting enough!

BoSox Players to Watch:

#14 Carl Crawford – Outfielder

Carl Crawford

Monday night will be Crawford’s first appearance this season since under-going wrist surgery this winter and re-injuring himself in spring training.  Crawford is a 4-time All-Star with a whopping 7-year $142 million contract.  After a disappointing 2011 season, the slugger will be looking to redeem himself after sitting out the first half of the season.

#34 David Ortiz – Designated Hitter

David Ortiz

Ortiz, AKA Big Papi, is having a monster year. He currently leads the Red Sox in batting average, hits, home runs, walks and RBIs. Papi just appeared in his 7th All-Star game last week and might prove to be a handful for Chicago pitchers.

 

#64 Will Middlebrooks – Third Baseman

Will Middlebrooks

This rookie replaced Kevin Youkilis when Kevin went down with an injury earlier this season and has been phenomenal. He has a batting average at .336 and can certainly be a part of this season’s rookie of the year conversation.

Series Schedule:

Monday, 7:10PM Dylan Axelrod vs. Aaron Cook on Comcast Sports Net

Tuesday, 7:10PM Philip Humber vs. Jon Lester on WCIU

Wednesday, 7:10PM T.B.A. on Comcast Sports Net

Thursday, 7:10PM T.B.A. on Comcast Sports Net

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