Good morning, frents!
There's one week until Opening Day, so it seems like a good time to ask: What do you want to see from Midway Minute's baseball coverage this season? The day-to-day capsules have always been an ongoing project here, but I'd like to zero in on a format that brings you what you need to know in the most efficient manner.
Hit me up on email if you have any thoughts ...
Cavs 103, Bulls 94
Louisville 62, Northwestern 53
A's 14, Sox 4
Cubs 6, Mariners 2
Panthers at Hawks (7, NBCSCH)
Reds at Sox (3, MLB.com)
Dodgers at Cubs (8, Marquee)
What happens now for the Bulls?
The NBA's trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. local time.
What the Bulls will look like after is anyone's guess.
What does seem certain is that the Bulls probably won't be tied to that thought of making a run at a playoff spot as they were, say, maybe two weeks ago.
Wednesday night brought an embarrassing 103-94 home loss to Cleveland, a team that's trailed the Bulls all season. The defeat dropped Billy Donovan's crew to 19-24 and they've lost four of their last five. They currently hold the 10th spot in the East, 1.5 games behind Boston for the eighth spot.
The Celtics are in disarray, so that doesn't seem like an insurmountable margin. But the near future for the Bulls doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
- Nine of the Bulls next 10 games will come on the road in a period of just 17 days.
- They're 3-16 against teams better than .500.
- Zach LaVine, who was held to just four points in the second half, was seen limping late in the game.
But let's be honest. Better for the team to be showing its cracks now while they can still improve the team for the long-term with a Woj bomb or two.
Will the Bulls be able to make noise and set themselves up well for future years? It's unclear.
Lauri Markkanen's expiring contract limits the potential haul and New Orleans' reported asking price a first-rounder for Lonzo Ball (plus a new contract in the offseason) might be too high for someone who still hasn't proven to be an elite difference-maker.
Arturas Karnisovas' ability to bring back a return for players like Thad Young or Otto Porter is his biggest test this year — at least until the draft.
This latest skid, while disappointing, might end up being the best thing that could have happened to the Bulls. While the 2020-21 season has largely been ruled by optimist, a little slump has jolted everyone back to the reality there's still a lot of work to be done.
Starting with the next eight hours or so.
News and results
Dalton named QB1 by the Bears Twitter account: Bask in the certainty, fellow Bears fans. Nothing to worry about ever again.
Bears sign RB Damien Williams: Backfield depth shouldn't be a problem after this. Williams won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs two seasons ago, then opted out in 2020 with his mother undergoing treatment for cancer. It's a solid move, though it probably means the end of Cordarrelle Patterson's time with the team.
Final: Cubs 6, Mariners 2
- Promising: Zach Davies struck out eight over 4 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the spring. He allowed an earned run (his first in 13 1/3 innings), four hits and two walks. Davies, who came over from San Diego in the Yu Darvish trade, has an 0.68 ERA in four outings.
- Eric Sogard continues to perform his way into a role on the 25-man roster. Starting at third base, he went 2 for 3 with a two-run single in the fourth, along with a walk. He's batting .360 with a .968 OPS in 25 at-bats.
- Craig Kimbrel worked around a leadoff error and pitched a scoreless seventh, retiring J.P. Crawford and Jordan Cowan on fly balls, and Dillon Thomas on a grounder. Kimbrel has pitched three straight scoreless outings, allowing one hit and no walks in that span.
Final: Athletics 14, Sox 4
- Right-Hander Lance Lynn allowed three runs and five hits, including a pair of solo homers to go with four strikeouts over five innings. He threw 52 of 74 pitches for strikes
- The concerning news: Eloy Jiménez injured his left shoulder reaching over the left-field fence chasing a fly ball in the top of the second inning Wednesday. He exited the game with shoulder discomfort, the Sox said, and will be re-evaluated today.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports the Sox won't hold rookie Andrew Vaughn from making the Opening Day lineup because of money it might cost the team down the road. They also haven't said if Vaughn has made the team yet, either.
- Yikes: Closer Liam Hendriks hasn't pitched since March 17 because he is in the process of passing a kidney stone. To get in some work, Hendriks threw about 25 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday.
— David Brown
Thursday thank yous!
Today I'd like to thank Greg Braggs Jr., Chris LeBarton, Mark and Nancy McKnight, Ryan Lindeman, Pat Savaiano and Shai Smargon for their support!
Want to add your help?
There are three great ways to get involved ...
No matter what your level of support, thank you so much for reading Midway Minute every morning.
- RIP Granville Waiters. A Jordan and Pippen teammate in the pre-dynasty years, Waiters was only 60. Bulls.com
- The Athletic's latest mock draft has the Bears picking twice in the first round. The Athletic
- The Cubs unveiled their new touchless entry system for 2021 and it's basically the same what they've been using in Mesa. Bleed Cubbie Blue
- Cameron Krutwig is a Jacobs High alum and the Algonquin school is predictably going nuts right now. ABC7Chicago
- A plan for a $30 million eSports stadium has been approved for Bronzeville. Block Club
Finally, NASCAR will have a Chicago street course for its i-Racing series this year and isn't denying an actual street race here in the future.
After seeing the video below: Yes, please.