April 27, 2015

This week in sports: The Chicago special

CHICAGO CUBS: The Cubs were able to make the most of a rain-shortened weekend. On Friday night in Cincinnati, the Cubs and Reds went 11 innings, with Chicago emerging victorious. Jon Lester gave up three runs over six innings with 10 punch-outs. The Cubs scored four runs in the top of the 11th. The deciding inning included a pinch-hit appearance from pitcher Travis Wood. The final score was 7–3. The Cubs did not get the chance to make it two in a row on Saturday, as the game was rained out. Thus, the Cubs would have to wait it out until Sunday to get another crack at the Reds. In the end, the Cubs won the finale on Sunday 5–2, behind a strong pitching performance from Jake Arrieta, whose ERA currently hovers right around 2.00. With the Cubs already ahead 2–0 after a Miguel Montero jack and an RBI single from Montero two innings later, rookie infielder Addison Russell notched a bases-clearing three-run double to stretch the Cubs’ lead to 5–0 which would prove to be enough. The Cubs will play six games this week: a three-game set with the Pirates and then a weekend series with the Brewers.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX: The White Sox played two games this weekend, and both ended on Sunday, but there was no doubleheader involved. The solution to this riddle? A suspended game! The White Sox home matchup with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night was suspended at the beginning of the ninth inning, tied at two. On Friday night, Jose Quintana let up two runs over seven innings while his counterpart, Danny Duffy, yielded just one unearned run. The Royals’ bullpen gave up a run in the bottom of the seventh. Saturday’s play was washed out entirely due to rain, which meant the completion of the suspended game would have to wait until Sunday afternoon. At 1:10 p.m. on Sunday, closer David Robertson took to the mound for the ninth. He struck out three batters for a scoreless ninth. In the bottom of the ninth—around 1:20 p.m., mind you—Avisail Garcia notched a two-out single to score Melky Cabrera and end the game 3–2. The White Sox celebrated with fireworks and then got back to work. The offense came alive in the sixth against Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez. Chicago plated a five-spot against him in the bottom of the sixth to come back from a 3–0 deficit. Robertson had two strikeouts and a groundout to close the game. Robertson earned both a win and a save in the same day, the first time a Sox player has done that since 1999. The White Sox will be on the road this week, first for a three-game set in Baltimore and then four in Minnesota.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: The Blackhawks punched their ticket to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past weekend. The Hawks defeated the Nashville Predators 4–3 on Saturday night at the United Center to clinch the series victory, 4–2. The Blackhawks were down 3–1 early with Scott Darling in net. The goalie controversy continued to be a factor this postseason for Chicago, as Coach Quenville pulled Darling in the first period after the quick goals. Replacing him was Corey Crawford, who didn’t allow a goal after entering the game in the first period. The Blackhawks were able to fight back thanks to goals from Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith. Keith’s goal with under four minutes to go in the third sealed the victory. The Hawks will face the Minnesota Wild in the second round. The specific starting date and times have not yet been announced.

CHICAGO BULLS: After pulling out a double-overtime victory in Milwaukee on Thursday evening, the Bulls were unable to complete a sweep of the Bucks on Saturday night. The Bulls fell 92–90 to the Bucks at the buzzer on an inbound pass to Jerryd Bayless with 1.3 seconds to go. Still, the Bulls hold the upper hand in the series, returning home for game five in Chicago. If they manage to lock up the series, the Bulls will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round.