The Cubs took two out of three from the Pirates in their weekend series at Wrigley Field. On Friday, Chicago eked out an 11–10 victory in a five-plus hour, 12-inning game. On Saturday, Jon Lester looked like the pitcher the Cubs paid for in the offseason, yielding just one earned run over seven innings. With the bullpen tired from the 12-inning affair the day before, starter Travis Wood pitched the ninth for the save. On Sunday, co-ace Jake Arrieta also went seven innings giving up just one run, but the Pirates’ AJ Burnett was better. Burnett and two Buccos relievers combined to blank the Cubs. The Cubs enter Monday four games out of the division lead behind the Cardinals, but in possession of the first wild card spot. It’s early, but it seems like this North Side team could be for real. This week, they’ll embark on a West Coast road trip, with three games in San Diego followed by three in Arizona.
Don’t look now, but the White Sox are on a five-game winning streak entering play on Monday. A weekend sweep of the MLB-worst A’s is a big reason why. The three wins over the weekend brought the Sox back to .500 at 17–17. This week, they’ll face two divisional rivals in the Indians and Twins. Minnesota is currently two games ahead of the Sox – the Twins are three games are out of first place, while the White Sox are five out. With a good showing against Minnesota in this week’s four-game set, the Sox could vault themselves into third place in the division.
After not playing since May 7th, the Blackhawks opened up their series against Anaheim on the road on Sunday afternoon. The Ducks proved mightier, winning 4–1 in the opening game. The Hawks’ lone goal came from Brad Richards. Game Two in Anaheim is tonight, where the underdog Hawks will try to even up the series heading into Thursday’s tilt at the United Center.
The Bulls were eliminated last Thursday in Game Six at home against the Cavaliers. While Cleveland will go on to face the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls will be spending the rest of their spring in Chicago. The biggest offseason question at the moment for the Bulls is whether or not they’ll retain head coach Tom Thibodeau. He has two years left on his contract, but there had been rumors throughout the season that the Bulls anticipated parting with him after the season. He’s already rumored as a candidate for other head coaching jobs, but is still the Bulls’ head coach until further notice. Of course, if Thibodeau is replaced, the question will become: Who is his replacement? The common answers are someone along the lines of Alvin Gentry, a noted offensive guru and current assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors. Another candidate for the job is rumored to be Fred Hoiberg, the current head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones and a former point guard for the Chicago Bulls from 1999–2003. Whomever the new coach is, it will surely be a transition-like offseason for the Chicago Bulls this year.