Chicago White Sox

CSN's Top 20 basketball rankings

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CSN's Top 20 basketball rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (18-1)

Results: Lost to Findlay Prep 75-50; Defeated Urban Prep 83-39, Vocational 63-42 and Southwind TN 73-54

This Week: Wednesday vs. Bogan, Friday at Harlan

Hoops Talk: The Wolverines get back on track after Mondays humbling defeat. Wednesdays game at 81st & Vincennes could have game-of-the-year potential.

2 Proviso East (16-0)

Results: Defeated Downers Grove South 78-70 and Leyden 70-49

This Week: Saturday at Addison Trail

Hoops Talk: The road to the West Suburban Gold title now goes through Maywood, but Paris Lee and the Pirates are thinking much bigger.

3 Curie (17-1)

Results: Defeated North Chicago 88-80 OT, Lindblom 75-35, Dunbar 69-54 and Whitney Young 59-47

This Week: Monday at Kenwood, Tuesday at DuSable, Thursday vs. Harper, Sunday vs. Leo

Hoops Talk: The Condors are playing eight games in two weeks, but Cliff Alexander, Malcolm Hill-Bey and Devin Foster havent hit the brakes yet.
4 Warren (13-2)

Results: Defeated Downers Grove South 64-63 OT

This Week: Tuesday vs. Stevenson, Saturday vs. Mundelein

Hoops Talk: The last of Darius Pauls 26 points against DGS was the most importantthe free throw with no time left in OT. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
5 Andrew (13-0)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Tuesday at Tinley Park, Friday at Lincoln-Way West

Hoops Talk: The Thunderbolts showdown at Thornwood was postponed Friday due to the snow. Andrew is one of the three remaining undefeated teams.
6 Elgin (16-1)

Results: Defeated Huntley 58-44

This Week: Thursday vs. St. Charles North

Hoops Talk: The Maroons get another signature win, thanks to senior Kory Brown. He scored a career-high 30 points against Huntley.

7 Bogan (19-1)

Results: Defeated Morgan Park 59-54 and Bradford WI 69-33

This Week: Tuesday vs. Harlan, Wednesday at Simeon

Hoops Talk: The Bengals could be the talk of the town come Wednesday night. Do they have what it takes to take down No. 1 Simeon?

8 Plainfield East (14-1)

Results: Defeated Naperville Central 66-51; Lost to Larkin 70-67

This Week: Tuesday vs. Glenbard South, Friday vs. Oswego, Saturday at Plainfield South

Hoops Talk: East went scoreless for 3.5 minutes in the fourth against Larkin. Dee Brown, Brian Bennett, Jawan Straughter and company look to bounce back.

9 De La Salle (13-2)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Tuesday vs. St. Joseph, Friday at Loyola

Hoops Talk: Last Fridays St. Ignatius game rescheduled for 222. Tuesdays game will serve as a rematch from December 9th, won by the Meteors (62-52).

10 New Trier (17-2)

Results: Defeated Buffalo Grove 57-33, Niles West 67-43 and Taft 82-51

This Week: Friday at Glenbrook South

Hoops Talk: Future Ivy-Leaguers Connor Boehm (Dartmouth) and Steven Cook (Princeton) keep the Trevians rolling.
11 Downers Grove South (13-4)

Results: Lost to Proviso East 78-70, Warren 64-63 OT

This Week: Friday at Hinsdale South, Saturday vs. Morton

Hoops Talk: Two games, two losses to top 10 opponents. Jerron Wilbut and Kevin Honn played starring roles against Warren, each scoring 20 points.

12 Huntley (15-2)

Results: Defeated Jacobs 50-37; Lost to Elgin 58-44

This Week: Tuesday vs. Cary-Grove, Saturday at Dundee-Crown

Hoops Talk: Justin Frederick and 6-6 sophomore Amanze Egekeze each had 11 points for Huntley against Elgin, but the Red Raiders couldnt contain Kory Brown.

13 St. Ignatius (14-2)

Results: Defeated Brooks 74-44

This Week: Friday vs. Hales

Hoops Talk: The Wolfpack continue to be one of Chicagolands most balanced teamsfive in double figures Sunday against Brooks.

14 Marshall (18-4)

Results: Defeated Whitney Young 79-75 OT and Madison-Milwaukee WI 67-58

This Week: Wednesday at Orr

Hoops Talk: The Commandos, paced by Korbin McClain and Milton Doyle, are red hot. They are all by themselves in first in the Red-West.

15 Metea Valley (16-1)

Results: Defeated Rich Central 96-88 OT

This Week: Tuesday vs. Bartlett, Saturday at South Elgin

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Kenny Obendorf and the Mustangs have been more than impressive in the programs second year of varsity-level play.
16 Hillcrest (15-4)
Results: Defeated Richards 61-48 and Bremen 66-32; Lost to Farragut 59-53

This Week: Tuesday at Crete-Monee, Friday vs. T.F. North

Hoops Talk: Two nice South Suburban wins, but the Hawks ran into a block party on Sunday. Farraguts Rashaun Stimage stuffed Hillcrest 13 times.

17 Whitney Young (8-7)

Results: Lost to Marshall 79-75 OT, Curie 59-47

This Week: Wednesday vs. Collins, Thursday vs. Soldan International Studies (in St. Louis), Sunday vs. Trinity (in Louisville)

Hoops Talk: Like Downers Grove South, the Dolphins lose two hard-fought games to ranked competition. Paul White continues to complement Jahlil Okafor well.

18 Bloom (14-3)

Results: Lost to Sandburg 47-43 OT

This Week: Tuesday at Homewood-Flossmoor, Friday vs. Rich Central

Hoops Talk: Shocking loss to Sandburg-- a game where the Trojans led by 9 with 1:43 to go. It doesnt get any easier, as a talented H-F team is lurking.

19 Crane (13-4)

Results: Defeated Cody MI 2-0 (forfeit), Collins 69-50, T.F. North 66-62 OT, Tremper WI 53-49

This Week: Wednesday vs. Manley, Saturday vs. Paducah Tillman (Louisville KY), Sunday vs. TBA (Louisville KY)

Hoops Talk: Isaiah Hayes, Chris Davis and Willie Conner help lead Chris Heads team back into the CSN Top 20.

20 Hope Academy (16-2)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Tuesday vs. Lake Forest Academy, Thursday at Chicagoland Jewish, Friday at St. Benedict

Hoops Talk: Hope, which includes senior forward Torrance Johnson, continues to make waves in the Chicago Prep. But will the team win without Jalen James?

Looming & Lurking: Dunbar, Farragut, Naperville North, West Aurora, Foreman, Herscher, St. Viator, Lemont, Homewood-Flossmoor, Seton, St. Rita, North Chicago, Notre Dame, Crete-Monee.
NOTE: This weeks schedule may change, due to the rescheduling of games from Fridays inclement weather

Lucas Giolito puts together another strong outing in White Sox loss to Astros

Lucas Giolito puts together another strong outing in White Sox loss to Astros

HOUSTON — He didn’t have his best stuff against baseball’s top offense on Tuesday night, but Lucas Giolito had his changeup.

The young White Sox pitcher showed once again that when he has confidence in an offspeed pitch he’s able to overcome situations where his fastball might not be as good as he’d prefer. Trust in the changeup and a good command of the fastball were more than enough to put together another strong performance.

While Giolito took the decision in a 3-1 White Sox loss to the Houston Astros, he once again earned plaudits for his pitching.

“He was really good,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “His changeup's very good. He obviously can spin a couple different breaking balls. It looks like a heavy fastball. So, a really impressive young starter to be able to navigate the lineup in different ways and get guys out in different ways and really compete.”

Perhaps no one hitter better demonstrated Giolito’s ability to compete than his sixth-inning showdown with Astros No. 5 hitter Marwin Gonzalez. Having just issued his first walk down 2-1 with two outs and a man on second, Giolito threw both his two- and four-seam fastball, changeup and curveball during a lengthy at-bat. With the count full, Gonzalez fouled off six consecutive fastballs before Giolito threw a changeup in the dirt for the whiff on the 12th pitch of the at-bat.

It was one of 18 changeups Giolito threw, with 11 going for strikes.

“The changeup was a good pitch for me aside from a few I left up in the zone,” Giolito said. “I had a lot of confidence in it and that was probably the offspeed pitch I was most comfortable going to in situations.”

Given his fastball velo was an average of 92.2 mph, confidence and comfort were critical. Houston entered the game with a team slash line of .282/.345/.479 and averaging 5.47 runs per contest. The American League West champions offer few easy outs and were clearly the sternest test to date for Giolito, who has never pitched more innings in a season than his current 167 between Triple-A Charlotte and the majors.

Even though the velo isn’t where he’s wanted it in the past two outings, Giolito has pitched well enough. Giolito produced his fourth quality start in six outings in the big leagues as he limited the Astros to two earned runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.

“Felt pretty good about it,” Giolito said. “It was one of those days where I didn’t have my best stuff working. Had a lot of trouble getting the ball to the extension side. That’s something to work on this week going into the next start. But I felt good about how I pitched tonight for sure.”

The White Sox feel pretty good about the production they’ve received from Giolito, who struggled with consistency earlier this season at Triple-A and dropped down in the prospect rankings as a result. The right-hander said he’s pleased with how he’s learned to be more composed on the mound this season. He’s also clearly gained confidence and trust in his stuff.

“Based on everything we saw, the skill set that he would be able to manage his ability on the mound to attack the strike zone,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s throwing his breaking ball more effectively now, the changeup as well.”

“All in all he’s doing what he needs to do. He’s kept hitters off balance. His ball has some life. He has angle. We’re happy with how he’s continued to develop.”

Giolito’s offense didn’t do what it needed to earn him a victory despite another big night from Yoan Moncada. Moncada went 3-for-4 with three singles and shortstop Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a ninth-inning single.

Joe Maddon finally sees Cubs playing with the right 'mental energy'

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USA TODAY

Joe Maddon finally sees Cubs playing with the right 'mental energy'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Joe Maddon looked back on the perfect baseball storm that hit the Tampa Bay Rays and played all the greatest hits for local reporters, waxing poetic about the banners hanging inside Tropicana Field, stumping for a new stadium on the other side of the Gandy Bridge, telling Don Zimmer stories, namedropping Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and riffing on sabermetrics and information buckets.

But the moment of clarity came in the middle of a media session that lasted 20-plus minutes, Maddon sitting up on stage in what felt like the locker room at an old CYO gym: “We only got really good because the players got really good.”

There’s no doubt the Cubs have the talent to go along with all the other big-market advantages the Rays could only dream about as the have-nots in the American League East. Now it looks like the defending champs have finally got rid of the World Series hangover, playing with the urgency and pitch-to-pitch focus that had been lacking at times and will be needed again in October.    

Maddon essentially admitted it after Tuesday’s 2-1 victory, watching his team beat Chris Archer and work together on a one-hitter that extended the winning streak to seven games and kept the Milwaukee Brewers 3.5 games back in the National League Central.

“You’re really seeing them try to execute in moments,” Maddon said. “When they come back and they don’t get it done, it’s not like they’re angry. But you can just see they’re disappointed in themselves.

“Their mental energy is probably at an all-season-high right now.”

Six days after the Cubs moved him to the bullpen, lefty swingman Mike Montgomery took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, when Tampa Bay’s No. 9 hitter (Brad Miller) drove a ball over the center-field wall. Maddon then went to the relievers he will trust in October – Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., Wade Davis – with the All-Star closer striking out the side in the ninth inning and remaining perfect in save opportunities (32-for-32) as a Cub.       

“We want to go out there and prove every day that we’re the best team in baseball,” said Kyle Schwarber, the designated hitter who launched Archer’s 96-mph fastball into the right-center field seats for his 28th home run in the second inning. “The way our guys are just going out there and competing, it’s really good to see, especially this time of year. It’s getting to crunch time, and we just got to keep this same pace that we’re going at.

“Don’t worry about things around us. Just keep our heads down, keep worrying about the game and go from there.”     

In what’s been a season-long victory lap, Maddon couldn’t help looking back when the sound system started playing The Beach Boys and “Good Vibrations” echoed throughout the domed stadium, a tribute running on the video board and a crowd of 25,046 giving him a standing ovation.

“It was cool,” Maddon said. “I forgot about the bird, the cockatoo, I can’t remember the name. Really a cool bird. I told (my wife) Jaye I wanted one of those for a while. But then again, she gets stuck taking care of them.

“I was just thinking about all the things we did. You forget sometimes that snake. I think her name was Francine, like a 19-year-old, 20-footer. And then the penguin on my chair. You forget all the goofy stuff you did. But you can see how much fun everybody had.

“I appreciated it. They showed all my pertinent highlights. There’s none actually as a player. It’s primarily as a zookeeper.”

But within the last week, you can see the Cubs getting more serious, concentrating on their at-bats and nailing their pitches. There is internal competition for roster spots and playing time in the postseason, when Maddon becomes ruthless and doesn’t care at all about making friends. This just might be another perfect storm.

Montgomery – who notched the final out in the 10th inning of last year’s World Series Game 7 – put it this way: “I feel ready for anything after how this year’s gone.”