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Top Five Chicago Sports Stories for the Week Ahead: Aug 6-12, 2012

White Sox Continue Home Stand
After winning two of three against the Angels, the White Sox continue their home stand against the worst post All-Star game in the AL Kansas City Royals and the AL Wild Card leading Oakland A’s.

The White Sox begin the week with a 1.5 game lead over the Tigers for first place in the AL Central. Detroit is tied with Oakland for the two wildcard spots.

The White Sox six man rotation did not last long. Comcast SportsNet is reporting that Don Cooper announcer on The Score 670 that Philip Humber is heading the bullpen.

Chris Sale will make his first start in nine days, Jake Peavy was pushed back a day after pitching eight innings last Wednesday and Jose Quintana will start the series finale on eight days rest.

The Royals will counter with Luis Mendoza, Bruce Chen and Jeremy Guthrie. Chen has pitched very well in his career against the White Sox. In the last ten years he has posted a 3-4 record with a 3.81 ERA against the Chisox.

The White Sox have no listed their starters for the Oakland series. The A’s only scheduled starter is left hander Tommy Milone on Saturday.

Cubs Continue Road Trip in San Diego, return home to face Cincinnati
After getting swept in Los Angeles, the Cubs head to San Diego for a three game series before returning home to face Cincinnati. Two former White Sox will pitch for the Padres in the three game series.

Eric Stults posted a 2.70 ERA in two appearances for the White Sox earlier this year including one start. The Padres selected him off waivers from the Sox in May. He has a 3.19 ERA in eight appearances and four starts for the Padres. Ross Ohlendorf will pitch the second game for San Diego. Clayton Richard will pitch game three for SD. He was the biggest get for San Diego in the Jake Peavy trade at the 2009 trade deadline. He has been the Padres best pitched for the last three seasons.

Travis Wood is scheduled to pitch the opener, the Cubs have yet to announce the starter for Tuesday and Jeff Samardzija will pitch the finale at Petco Park.

The Cubs will return home to face Cincinnati for a four game series on Thursday. Chris Volstad and Justin Germano will pitch the first two games of the series. The Cubs have yet to list the starters for the last two games of the series. Cincinnati will start Mike Leake, Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo in the first three games at Wrigley. They also have a TBA listed for Sunday’s series finale.

Bears Open Pre-Season Against Peyton Manning and Denver
In an odd scheduling twist of fate, the Bears will open the preseason on Thursday in Peyton Manning’s first game in Bronco uniform and then open the regular season against Manning’s former team the Colts in Andrew Luck’s debut.

Other than Manning’s debut, plenty of storylines abound as the season commences. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall will play in their first game together in four years since their days in a Bronco uniform. Marshall had a 104 receptions for 1265 yards of Cutler’s 4526 yards in their final season together in 2008. It remains Cutler’s season watermark for yardage. Marshall’s two best seasons were his final two with Cutler.

Brian Urlacher will sit out Thursday’s game as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.

The final spot at Wide Receiver should heat up after Devin Thomas announced he is retiring. Thomas was expected to contribute at special teams and backup at wide receiver. He recovered two fumbles in the NFC Championship game last season helping to send the Giants to the Superbowl.

How well the offensive line protects Cutler will be a key development for the Bears playoff hopes. Gabe Carimi played only six quarters in his rookie season, Chris Williams hasn’t lived cup to his first round draft status and there are questions in his is a tackle or a guard and J’Marcus Webb. Brad Biggs reported in the Tribune that Williams might be headed out of two after likely headed out of town after not being able to unseat Webb at LT.

Chicago Olympians Continue Medal Quest
Athletes with ties to Chicago have made an impact through the first week of the Olympics. Some of the Athletes with ties to the Windy City have finished their competition, others begin this week and those in the team sports are in the medal round.

Anthony Davis and the American’s Men’s basketball team will finish pool play against Argentina needing a win to clinch Pool A. The Quarterfinals begin Wednesday.

The women and two Chicago Sky players, plus two former Illinois Prep stars will lead Americans into the quarterfinals against Canada.

Wrestlers Jake Herbert and Ellis Coleman will begin their quest for Olympic Glory on Monday.

Sean Rooney and his Volleyball teammates finish up pool play against Tunisia before beginning medal play on Wednesday.

Amy LePeilbet and her teammates on the US Women’s Soccer Team will seek to win their third straight Gold Medal and fourth in five Olympics when they face Canada in the semifinals.

Jackson and Vitters Make Cubs Debuts
Five days after trading Ryan Dempster, the Cubs continued to look to their future when they called up top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters from Iowa. The Cubs had earlier traded Jeff Baker to the Detroit for two players to be named later.

Jackson is expected to become the Cubs everyday center fielder, while Vitters will get less frequent starts. Jackson went 2-4 in his debut against in the Dodgers on Sunday, a 7-6 loss and Vitters flew out in the top of the seventh to newly acquired Shane Victorino in Left.

The arrival of Jackson will mean less playing time for All-Star Bryan LeHair. David DeJesus will become the everyday right fielder. With Luis Valbuena batting .198, Vitters should get plenty of opportunity to become the everyday third baseman. His defense could go along towards determining that. Vitters had 23 errors at Iowa this season.

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