Chicago Cubs

CSN Top 20 rankings: Finals week

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CSN Top 20 rankings: Finals week

1 Lincoln-Way East (13-0)
Last Week (Ranked 1): Defeated Benet 37-13
Next Game: 7A Championship vs. Glenbard West (Saturday, 4pm)
PrepsTalk: The Griffins will go back to Champaign for the first time since 2005. Quarterback Tom Guessel (three TDs) and running back Nick Colangelo (198 yards, two scores) dominate once again.

2 Glenbard West (13-0)
Last Week (Ranked 2): Defeated Lake Zurich 19-13
Next Game: 7A Championship vs. Lincoln-Way East (Saturday, 4pm)
PrepsTalk: The defense held the Bears to only 20 yards of offense in the first half. Quarterback Henry Haeffner paced the Hilltoppers with 156 yards passing and two touchdowns.

3 Mount Carmel (12-1)
Last Week (Ranked 4): Defeated Neuqua Valley 26-21
Next Game: 8A Championship vs. Glenbard North (Saturday, 7pm)
PrepsTalk: Mount Carmel is dangerous passing the ball, too. QB Don Butkus three touchdown strikes (all to Jason Gasser) send the Caravan back to state for the 16th time since 1980.

4 Crete-Monee (13-0)
Last Week (Ranked 5): Defeated Lemont 28-27
Next Game: 6A Championship vs. Cary-Grove (Saturday, 1pm)
PrepsTalk: Marcus Terrells two-point conversion with three minutes the go was the difference. Another epic game from Laquon Treadwell: two TDs (one receiving, one rushing), along with an INT and a sack.

5 Glenbard North (12-1)
Last Week (Ranked 7): Defeated Loyola 27-24
Next Game: 8A Championship vs. Mount Carmel (Saturday, 7pm)
PrepsTalk: The dream season continues for Justin Jackson (44 carries, 236 yards, four touchdowns) and the Panthers, who will play at Memorial Stadium for the first time since 2007.

6 Cary-Grove (13-0)
Last Week (Ranked 9): Defeated Lake Forest 42-21
Next Game: 6A Championship vs. Crete-Monee (Saturday, 1pm)
PrepsTalk: The Trojans had three players rush for more than 100 yardsRyan Mahoney (182), Kyle Norberg (143) and quarterback Quinn Baker (109). The Trojans last won state in 2009.

7 Loyola (11-2)
Last Week (Ranked 3): Lost to Glenbard North 27-24
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Peter Pujals had a fine day (24-42, 274 yards and three touchdowns), but the defense simply could not overcome running back Justin Jacksons monster game.

8 Neuqua Valley (12-1)
Last Week (Ranked 6): Lost to Mount Carmel 26-21
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Mikey Dudek ran the opening kickoff back for a score and Dylan Andrew passed for two TDs, but Joey Rhattigan was held to less than 100 yards rushing and the Wildcats could not stop the Caravan O.

9 Maine South (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 8): Did Not Play
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback and Northwestern recruit Matt Alviti will be part of a star-studded lineup at the Tom Lemming Banquet at Soldier Field on December 5th.

10 Montini (11-2)
Last Week (Ranked 14): Defeated Joliet Catholic 40-37
Next Game: 5A Championship vs. Morris (Saturday, 10am)
PrepsTalk: What a comeback for the Broncos, who escaped from a 31-14 deficit and now look for their fourth straight state championship. Joe Borsellino scored the game-winning one-yard touchdown.

11 Morris (12-1)
Last Week (Ranked 16): Defeated Sacred-Heart Griffin 30-20
Next Game: 5A Championship vs. Montini (Saturday, 10am)
PrepsTalk: Indiana recruit Danny Friend DLTE had a key interception and then secured a 24-yard touchdown catch to propel the Redskins to their fourth appearance at state since 2004.

12 Waubonsie Valley (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 11): Did Not Play
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: The Warriors produced a double-digit win season for the first time since head coach B.J. Lukes team went 12-1 in 1992. It was also the sixth straight playoff appearance for W-V.

13 Lemont (11-2)
Last Week (Ranked 12): Lost to Crete-Monee 28-27
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Christos Giatras rushed for 110 yards and a score and led 24-14 at one point, but they could not hold down the Warriors. The Indians have lost in the semis two straight years.

14 Benet (11-2)
Last Week (Ranked 10): Lost to Lincoln-Way East 37-13
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: The dream season comes to an end for the Redwings, who got two touchdowns from receiver Jack Euritt. Quarterback Jack Beneventi was intercepted three times.

15 Wheaton North (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 13): Did Not Play
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: The Falcons (10-2) and Glenbard North (currently 13-0) stepped up in the DuPage Valley Conference, but every other team in the league finished with overall records at or below .500.

16 Lake Zurich (10-3)
Last Week (Ranked 15): Lost to Glenbard West 19-13
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: While the Bears capitalized on Wests turnovers --including a 95-yard fumble returnTD by Grant Soucy-- they could not penetrate the rock-solid Hilltopper defense.

17 Palatine (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 17): Did Not Play
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Ethan Olles had a fine year, passing for over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Pirates have reached the playoff six straight years after a nine-year layoff.

18 Marian Central Catholic (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 18): Did Not Play
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Chris Streveler will be graduating early and enrolling at Minnesota in January. He finished this year with 3,506 total yards (2,602 passing) and 47 trips to the end zone.

19 Aurora Christian (12-1)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Sterling Newman Catholic 41-7
Next Game: 3A Championship vs. Tolono Unity (Friday, 4pm)
PrepsTalk: Chad Beebe (head coach Dons son) had two TD catches as did Cory Windleall from quarterback Ryan McQuade. Running back Joel Bouagnon chipped in with 125 yards and a score.

20 Simeon (10-2)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Morgan Park 35-14
Next Game: Chicago Prep Bowl vs. Brother Rice (11am Friday)
PrepsTalk: Darnell Cockrell, Elcee Burke and John Gardner found the end zone for the Wolverines as they beat the Mustangs for the second time this year. Simeon also played in last years Prep Bowl.

Looming and Lurking: Lake Forest, Joliet Catholic, Evergreen Park, Oak Forest, Lyons, Notre Dame, Brooks, Downers Grove North, Crystal Lake Central, Lincoln-Way West, Kaneland, Bolingbrook, Providence, Lakes, Richards, Coal City, Wilmington, Brother Rice.

Check out CSN Chicagos live coverage of the 2012 IHSA State Football Championships this Friday and Saturday. On Friday, we will show each game from 1A to 4A beginning at 10:00am. Saturdays coverage of the 5A-8A games will kick off at the same time. We will have wall-to-wall highlights and postgame reaction on Saturdays High School Lites at 10:30pm. High School Lites is streamed live at csnchicago.com.

Be sure to follow @PrepsTalkCSN and @JoeCSN for prep football coverage.

Anthony Rizzo, the greatest third baseman ever?

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USA TODAY

Anthony Rizzo, the greatest third baseman ever?

Look out, Kris Bryant: Anthony Rizzo might be coming for you.

After Bryant suffered a left hand contusion in the top of the eighth inning during Tuesday's 13-9 win over Cincinnati, Joe Maddon shuffled his infield by moving Rizzo from first to third base for the first time in his career to replace the reigning NL MVP and it didn't take long for the Cubs to take advantage of the rare occurence on social media:

Pretty amazing that in one season he's been dubbed the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time and best third baseman ever.

Here's another cool fact:

Earlier this season, Rizzo became second-base eligible in ESPN and CBS Sports fantasy leagues because of a weird rule that allows him to switch positions with how the Cubs defend certain bunt situations. 

At this rate, he may become eligible for every infield position. Next up, shortstop?

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut drew rave reviews

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut drew rave reviews

Lucas Giolito’s first outing may not have netted the outcome the White Sox hoped for, but the look and feel was most definitely there.

The team’s sixth-ranked prospect showed just how much progress he’s made the over the entire season and in particular the last six weeks in his White Sox debut on Tuesday night.

Giolito was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte early Tuesday and looked poised and confident for six innings despite a heavy reliance on the fastball because his curve wasn’t where he wanted. While he yielded three home runs in a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, Giolito and the White Sox liked what they saw.

“Excellent,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I thought it was a very positive outing.

“Lucas I thought threw the ball very, very well. Fastball was very good. He was using his breaking ball. He threw some that were a little short. But all and all, I thought his mound presence, his attack of the strike zone -- I don’t think he walked anybody, he threw a lot of strikes -- he looked very, very good to me. Very pleased.”

Once the top pitching prospect in baseball, Giolito had lost a little bit of the shine even by the time he was traded to the White Sox last December in the Adam Eaton deal. He struggled at times during a nomadic 2016 campaign with the Nationals -- he was moved seven times in all -- and saw a dip in fastball velocity as his mechanics got out of whack.

Though excited by the trade to the White Sox, Giolito admitted in spring training he wasn’t quite where he yet wanted to be. He struggled early this season at Triple-A Charlotte, posting a 5.40 ERA in his first 16 starts and often failed to pitch deep into games.

But along the way Giolito found his confidence, rediscovered his curveball and began to pitch more consistently. That was the pitcher the White Sox saw on Tuesday night, the one who despite not having his entire arsenal didn’t panic.

Working almost entirely with his fastball -- 69 of his 99 pitchers were four-seamers -- Giolito pitched at a quick pace and got into a rhythm. Giolito got 10 swings and misses, including eight with the fastball, and didn’t walk anyone.

“I felt relaxed,” Giolito said. “I felt confident the whole time.

“I feel like tonight I was able to control the game a lot better. Last year my time in the big leagues the game would speed up on me a lot. I’d walk a guy, give up a couple of base hits and start to kind of get out of control. Tonight, I felt under control, I was able to trust my stuff, it was just those mistakes.”

Giolito’s outing wasn’t perfect. He tried to go inside with fastballs three times and left them over the middle. Jorge Polanco blasted a game-tying solo homer off Giolito in the fourth, Kennys Vargas hit one off him in the fifth and Eddie Rosario hit a two-run, opposite-field shot in the sixth.

[MORE: White Sox may have discovered 'diamond in the rough' in Juan Minaya

But that he was effective enough to keep the White Sox in the game in spite of his offense, which blew bases-loaded opportunities in the second and third innings, and minus all of his pitches wasn’t lost on Omar Narvaez. Narvaez liked how Giolito competed and the way he spotted his fastball in and out, up and down.

“I think he’s going to be one of our best pitchers,” Narvaez said. “His fastball is kind of sneaky and he has a great changeup. He uses it whenever he wants to and he has a really, really good curveball.

“He made a lot of good pitches (with the fastball). Every time we worked behind he just came back with the fastball.”

Giolito threw his curveball 12 times and used the changeup 16. While he induced a few groundballs with his curve, Giolito wasn’t as effective in two-strike situations, spiking the pitch in front of the plate. Even so, Giolito felt good about what he accomplished and that’s great for the White Sox.

“I feel like I belong,” Giolito said. “I feel like my stuff plays. I’m happy I didn’t walk anyone tonight. I was able to command the fastball pretty well, but fastball-changeup was pretty much all I had. I wasn’t throwing the curveball as well as I would have liked, but I’m going to work on that for the next start and hopefully be able to command that pitch a little better.”