Good morning, frents!
So Javy Baez is not only hitting .200 with the Mets, he now has the New York tabs targeting him on the back cover and the team issuing a statement distancing itself from him.
Turns out that "booing" the home fans with a thumbs down after hitting a homer is not a great idea when you're headed into a contract offseason and you play for one of the few teams with a blank checkbook.
Anyway, busy weekend in Chicago sports proper. Hello to all of the new faces around here and all of the old ones, too. Let's get into it.
Sox 13, Cubs 1
Sky 107, Storm 75
Cubs and Sox both off
The South Side rides again
Is it possible for the Sox and Cubs to have a series that isn't weird?
The one just completed featured a Friday opener with 30 combined runs and a Cardinals/Bears-like final score of Sox 17, Cubs 13.
It continued on Saturday with Alec Mills and Codi Heuer holding the Sox offense to four hits in a 7-0 shutout.
It ended on Sunday with the Sox bats roaring back in a 13-1 triumph that featured Dylan Cease (11 Ks) and Eloy Jimenez (three-run homer) continuing to torment their former organization.
Any chance of this season's six games being competitive basically ended with the Cubs' deadline dismantling, but it doesn't seem possible to pack both ballparks and not have something wild ensue.
A few additional bulletpoints:
- There were four innings of 5+ runs over the weekend, including the six-run Cubs' first on Friday and the eight-run third by the Sox that was part of an unanswered 13-run comeback.
- Yasmani Grandal came back from the IL with eight RBI on Friday, tying a franchise record most recently hit by Robin Ventura in 1995.
- There were four two-homer efforts: Grandal on Friday, Patrick Wisdom on Friday and Saturday and Luis Robert on Sunday.
- The Cubs' victory on Saturday prevented the first six-game sweep by either team in the 24-year history of the series.
- The Sox now hold a 74-66 edge in the all-time series.
And now the teams go their separate ways toward a September that don't hold much meaning for both, but for different reasons.
The Sox hold a 76-56 record and a 10-game lead over Cleveland. They have both today and Thursday off with a two-game set against Pittsburgh sandwiched in between. That's good news for a lineup that was resting both Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada on Sunday.
The Cubs are 57-75 and 22.5 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. They get today off, followed by a two-game trip to Minnesota and a four-game visit from the Pirates after that.
Let the waiting begin
So how are we supposed to stay patient after that?
While much of Justin Fields' preseason start in Nashville on Saturday was tedious — lots of handoffs, throws to receivers not named Allen Robinson or Darnell Mooney — his final pass left us wanting more and then some.
Good gravy, we might finally have a real quarterback!
And look, it wasn't just Bears fans who were going nuts after Fields' precision strike to Jesper Horsted at the end of the first half. His ability to easily step through pressure, move to his right and put the ball where only Jesper Horsted could catch it dropped jaws around the league.
Pro Football Focus christened Fields' ball placement as "elite." The NFL's highlight tweet was RT'ed so much it's already been seen over 1.8 million times. (For context, the average highlight on that account usually clocks in between 40-60K views.)
From my viewpoint, Fields showed more than enough in his three preseason appearances to earn that starting spot from Day One.
His combined preseason stats:
- 30-of-49 passing for 276 yards and three TDs
- 96.98 passer rating
- 92 rushing yards and one TD
- Zero interceptions
But Andy Dalton it will be against the Rams 13 days from now. And then who knows for how many weeks after that.
This wait won't be an easy one after seeing that potential.
Ahead: The Bears have to get down to the final 53-man roster by 3 pm on Tuesday. BearsWire has a projection of the final list with Horsted and WR Rodney Adams the biggest names to watch.
News and results
So long, Lauri
Lauri Markkanen's tenure in Chicago finally came to an end with a four-way trade that saw the former No. 7 pick land in Cleveland with a new four-year, $67 million deal. In return, the Bulls got forward Derrick Jones, Jr and lottery-protected 2022 first-rounder from Portland and a 2023 second-round pick from the Cavs.
It's a decent enough haul for a player the Bulls grew so unenamored with that they didn't hesitate to trade him to a division rival. Markkanen's stunted growth under Jim Boylan might make for a good episode of "What If," but his incomplete game shouldn't make for many regrets among fans.
Illinois and Bielema win debut against Nebraska
I can't believe we live in a world where Illinois beats the Huskers for the second straight year and it isn't considered a giant upset. Then again, I'm guessing neither can Nebraska fans. Scott Frost is 12-21 back at his old school and 9-18 in the Big Ten.
Sky sweep in Seattle
That's three road wins in a row for the Sky, who also beat the Storm on Friday night. Sunday's 107-75 win was a historic one, setting franchise records for both three-pointers (15) and margin of victory. They'll finish off their road trip this week with games against two teams ahead of them in the standings: Phoenix and Las Vegas.
- The Bears hired their first full-time female scout on Sunday, elevating intern Ashton Washington to a staff position. Sun-Times
- Jim Margalus on why the calls to DFA Dallas Keuchel might be misplaced. Sox Machine
- Gordon Wittenmyer thinks the Ricketts family has fielded the worst team in Cubs franchise history. NBC Sports Chicago
- 19-year-old Lukas Reichel has a shot to make the Hawks roster out of camp and he made his public debut in Chicago over the weekend, Scott Powers writes. The Athletic
- Someone page Triumph: Villa Park is attempting to break the world record for largest dog wedding ceremony. The current world record (yes, there is one) is held by Littleton, Colorado, where 356 insane people made their betrothed hounds say "I do." Daily Herald
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