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posted: 4/4/2014 5:18 AM

Positive starts for Cubs, White Sox -- for different reasons

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  • The Cubs' Mike Olt rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, back left, in the second inning Thursday in Pittsbuurgh.

    The Cubs' Mike Olt rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, back left, in the second inning Thursday in Pittsbuurgh.
    Associated Press


I'm not totally disappointed with the Cubs' start because they appear to be competing, and that is encouraging to me because they didn't do that last year. They bounced back from their 0-2 start to win Thursday's finale 3-2 at Pittsburgh.

My issue with the Cubs is more with manager Rick Renteria.

In the first game of the season with men on first and second and no one out, Renteria decided to let Anthony Rizzo hit away instead of bunt. Maybe Renteria shied away from advancing the runner because Jeff Samardzija bunted into a double play in the fifth inning.

I believe that Rizzo, batting on the road in the sixth inning, should have bunted. He's a long way from Reggie Jackson or other power hitters who were never expected to bunt. The attempt should have at least been there, and it could have put men on second and third with only one out.

The Cubs are a team that will need to manufacture runs, and they missed an opportunity there.

As for the White Sox, their attendance -- thanks in part to the weather and lack of enthusiasm -- is embarrassing,

Manager Robin Ventura's players, however, stepped it up against the Twins. The White Sox took two of three, falling 10-9 in Thursday's series finale.

I'll grant you that the Twins are horrid, but so what? You beat whom you play. Last season Sox fans didn't see many ninth inning come-from-behind victories like they did in Wednesday's game.

It's bit of a mixed bag, but overall a positive start on both sides of town for different reasons.

Prepare for the unexpected:

How cool is it that the Bulls may be able to compete for the Eastern Conference championship?

Try to convince me the Bulls can't beat the Indiana Pacers in a best-of-seven series -- and I actually see some hope if the Bulls play the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Obviously, Miami is still the favorite and probably will again play for the NBA championship, but this is a different Heat team than last year. The Heat is still a No. 1 seed, but I didn't see them with 22 losses at this point of the season -- or any point really.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are getting better and better, and anything is possible.

As the injured Derrick Rose watches in his nice suits from the bench, the Bulls keep winning -- and without Luol Deng.

Besides head coach Tom Thibodeau, who saw this coming? I know I didn't.

It looks like there's more fun to come.


My condolences to the family of John W. "Johnny Vee" Veremis, Rush Street's very own and a really good guy.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio. Catch my show from 7-11 a.m. Sundays, and check me out on iHeart radio or

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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