Cubs

CSN Top 20 Rankings, Playoffs 1st Round

920439.png

CSN Top 20 Rankings, Playoffs 1st Round

1 Maine South (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 1): Defeated Glenbrook South 35-14
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Lane Tech
PrepsTalk: The Hawks soar into the playoffs with the momentum of their 60th straight conference win.  They shook off a 14-0 deficit as Matt Alviti scored four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing).

2 Glenbard West (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 2): Defeated Downers Grove North 26-0
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Elk Grove
PrepsTalk: The Hilltoppers were all business against Downers North; now the scene shifts to the playoffs, where 7As top seed will try to get back to Memorial Stadium for the first time since 2009.

3 Lincoln-Way East (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 3): Defeated Joliet West 42-6
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Plainfield Central
PrepsTalk: Justin Corbett rushed for 90 yards, racked up 90 more in receiving and scored twice.  Now the Griffins set their sights on getting back to state for the first time since 2005.

4 Loyola (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 4): Defeated St. Rita 28-7
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Evanston
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Peter Pujals accounted for all of the Ramblers scoring (two rushing, two passing touchdowns) as Loyola takes the Chicago Catholic Blue conference title.

5 Marian Central Catholic (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 5): Defeated Wheaton Academy 41-7
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Wauconda
PrepsTalk: The Hurricanes claim back-to-back Suburban Christian Blue conference championships.  The defense against Wheaton was solid, holding the Warriors to only 11 first half yards.

6 Mount Carmel (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 6): Defeated Providence 17-0
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Brother Rice
PrepsTalk: The 'D created six turnovers (four forced fumbles and two interceptions) as the Caravan posted their third consecutive shutout.  Next up: a rematch against a Catholic Blue foe.

7 Crete-Monee (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 7): Defeated Rich East 38-7
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Springfield
PrepsTalk: The Warriors trailed briefly, but got rolling on offense with contributions from Kyle Tilley, Lance Lenoir, Laquon Treadwell, DeShawn Smith and Marcus Terrell.

8 Kaneland (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 8): Defeated Morris 33-30
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Belvidere
PrepsTalk: The Knights lived up to the hype, winning the Northern Illinois Big 12 East conference.  Drew David found Zack Martinelli for the game winning five-yard score with 27 seconds left.

9 Batavia (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 9): Defeated Elgin 49-12
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Downers Grove North
PrepsTalk: The Bulldogs overwhelm the Maroons and take the Upstate Eight River title for the second straight year.  And they get bumped up to Class 7A.  How will that factor in their postseason run.

10 Palatine (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 10): Defeated Schaumburg 51-18
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Niles West
PrepsTalk: The Pirates might be peaking at the right time.  RB Cam Kuksa (141 total yards, two TDs) is back from an ankle injury.  Palatine's only loss was to 5A state champ Montini.

11 Neuqua Valley (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 12): Defeated Bartlett 42-14
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Naperville North
PrepsTalk: Running back Joey Rhattigan scored three touchdowns and now has 45 over his career.  The Wildcats win their first Upstate Eight Valley championship since 2006.

12 Cary-Grove (9-0)
Last Week (Ranked 13): Defeated Prairie Ridge 35-14
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Rockford Auburn
PrepsTalk: The Trojans pulled away late to win their first division title since 2009.  Marcus Thimios broke open a close game with a 90-yard kickoff return to start the second half.

13 Waubonsie Valley (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 14): Defeated Metea Valley 41-14
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Proviso West
PrepsTalk: Running back Austin Guido --226 yards and four touchdowns against Metea-- set school records for career rushing yards (1,826) and touchdowns (27) in a season.

14 Glenbard North (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 15): Defeated Naperville North 21-14
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Fremd
PrepsTalk: This shows you how competitive the 8A bracket isGlenbard North, the DuPage Valley Conference champs for the first time in 21 years, gets a 4-seed.

15 Wheaton North (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 16): Defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 23-13
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. St. Charles East
PrepsTalk: It's a pretty good time to be a Wheaton North Falcon-- an 8-1 record and they keep their arch-rival out of the postseason.  John Peltz: 20-28, 223 yards and three TDs vs. WWS.

16 Bolingbrook (7-2)
Last Week (Ranked 18): Defeated Lockport 34-10
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Sandburg
PrepsTalk: Intriguing first round matchup against a fellow SW Suburban Blue foe who has already beaten Brook.  All eyes will be on the injured Aaron Bailey this week.  Will he play?

17 Benet (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 19): Defeated Joliet Catholic 31-21
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Andrew
PrepsTalk: Its a storybook season for Benet.  Not to look ahead or anything, but what a matchup Benet-Oswego could be in the second round.  Stellar D versus a juggernaut offense.

18 Marist (8-1)
Last Week (Ranked 20): Defeated Cincinnati (Withrow) 27-12
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Lyons
PrepsTalk:  Quarterback Ian Woodworth had a favorite go-to receiver in Flynn Nagel on multiple scoring strikes.  The RedHawks could have a tough road in the 8A bracket, though.

19 Lemont (8-1)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated T.F. North 42-0
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Morgan Park
PrepsTalk: Dont overlook Lemont in 6A.  They have shut out five opponents on the season.  Their opening round matchup will represent a rematch of last years playoff matchup.

20 Providence (7-2)
Last Week (Ranked 11): Lost to Mount Carmel 17-0
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Bradley-Bourbonnais
PrepsTalk: The Celtics could not overcome turnovers, one of them a fumble that resulted in an 88-yard Caravan touchdown.  Brandon Price did rack up 103 yards, but was kept out of the end zone.

Looming and Lurking: Morris, Richards, Lakes, Simeon, Thornton, Homewood-Flossmoor, Glenbrook North, Oswego, Montini, Aurora Christian, Oak Forest.

Be sure to follow @JoeCSN for prep football coverage.

High School Lites airs every Friday night at 10:30pm and is streamed live at csnchicago.com

Cubs ride unconventional pitching performances to 8-6 win over the Reds

Cubs ride unconventional pitching performances to 8-6 win over the Reds

Before Thursday’s game against the Phillies, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon was asked if, given the current state of their bullpen, Tyler Chatwood could see some innings as the closer. 

“I think he’s amenable to it...” Maddon responded. “... the big thing with him is throwing strikes. If he does that -- his stuff is that electric -- we’ll use him any time. As he gets well from [throwing 4 innings on Wednesday night] it’ll probably a solid two days, maybe three, before he’s ready to go again. We’ll see - we’ll see that night needs. I’m not afraid of it by any means.

“I would say that the first time he got a chance with us, it would be because the other guys aren’t available that night.”

48 hours later, with the Cubs white knuckling a two-run lead, it was Chatwood coming out of the ‘pen in the top of the 9th. Two singles, a double-play, and a Yasiel Puig flyout later, Chatwood had closed out one of the Cubs’ more unconventional wins of the season, a 8-6 nail-biter that featured a little bit of everything.  

“It was a little bit [surprising],” Chatwood said. “But I kept myself ready. I was able to get loose in the pen and luckily I got that double play right there, and we won. So it’s good.” 

On a day when the Cubs’ cobbled together their pitching performance, it was Yu Darvish’s 7 innings -- the first time he’s gotten that deep into a game since 2017 -- that kept Chicago in punching distance. The line itself isn’t particularly flattering; six runs on 12 hits is an eyesore. His performance may not have played well on Cubs Twitter, but those inside the clubhouse could not stop talking about it. 

“That was huge. I thought he was really good today,” Albert Almora, who already surpassed his 2018 home run total (5) with a solo homer in the 2nd inning, said. “I didn’t think he was going to come back out, so I said ‘good job’ to him in the 7th. I saw him back out in the 8th and was like ‘all right, he wanted it.’” 

“It looked like he emptied the tank against Puig in the 7th with a big strikeout,” Chatwood added. “But he still went back out there and battled and pitched into the 8th. That’s huge. We didn’t have many people available today, and I think he knew that. I thought that was one of the best games he’s thrown the ball.”

Darvish managed to strand eight base runners, though, and only walked two. He’s now gone three straight games while walking three batters or less, something he’d failed to do at any point prior. 

“I knew that the bullpen was going through a little struggle, and didn’t have much rest,” Darvish said. “So my main goal was to go more than 7 innings today.” 

On a warm day, with the wind blowing straight out at 16 miles per hour, Wrigley played as small as it has all year. The Cubs (and the Reds, for that matter) went deep three times, which brings their homestand total to 11. 

“The wind was a friend to both sides today,” Maddon said. “But really, you’ve got to give Yu a ton of credit for getting deeply into the game today. He still had his good stuff in the end. The stuff was still there, but it’s 107 pitches, and it’s just deflating when all that happens.” 

Not to be outdone by the guy who started the game or the guy who finished it, recently-called up pitcher Dylan Maples was the winning pitcher of record. He and Tim Collins came in from Triple-A Iowa that morning, and Maddon wasted no time throwing Maples into the fire. After walking his first batter, Maples got Reds’ rookie Nick Senzel to strikeout on a 91mph fastball to end the 8th. 

If it hasn't seemed easy of late, that's because it hasn't been. Of the Cubs’ first 50 games, 16 have been decided by one run (9-7). Over their last 12 games, eight have been decided by two or less runs. 

“They seem to all be like that,” Maddon said with a laugh. “Especially recently. We’re seeing a lot of good pitching. 

“That’s entertainment, guys. Woah.” 

Joe Maddon on MLB's absurd home run rate: 'The wind’s being broken here. It’s really weird'

Joe Maddon on MLB's absurd home run rate: 'The wind’s being broken here. It’s really weird'

Cubs manager Joe Maddon usually isn’t one for conspiracy theories, but even he’s wondering what’s going on. MLB teams are hitting home runs at an absurd rate, including the Cubs, who are hitting them at a historic rate for the franchise’s standards.

Entering Saturday, here’s where MLB teams stand in average home run rate and total home runs in 2019 compared to recent seasons:

2017: 1.26/game, 6,105 total
2018: 1.15/game, 5,585 total
2019: 1.33/game, 2,009 total

While the MLB season is just over 30 percent finished, teams are on pace to hit a combined 6,483 long balls in 2019. This would absolutely obliterate the 2017 total, which, like the 1.33 home runs per game figure, would be an MLB record.

The Cubs are no exception to this home run wave. Including Saturday (game No. 50 of the season), the team has hit 80 home runs (and counting) in 2019. Only the 2000 Cubs (83) hit more home runs in their first 50 games in franchise history.

“We’re having home runs hit here into some firm breezes, which has not happened before,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters before Saturday’s game against the Reds. “That’s the thing that stands out to me. It’s been crazy.

“Even [Kyle] Schwarber’s home run, I know that was hit well, but dang, that wind was blowing pretty firmly across at that point.”

Schwarber absolutely crushed his home run yesterday, a 449-foot blast that needed little help getting into the bleachers. However, Maddon has a valid point regarding home runs being hit despite the wind. Entering Saturday, 54 total home runs have been hit at Wrigley Field this season, 29 of which have come with the wind blowing in.

By the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, the Cubs and Reds had hit a combined six home runs, one of which appeared to be a routine fly ball hit by Jason Heyward that wound up in the left field basket thanks to the wind. At the same time, Yasiel Puig hit one 416 feet onto Waveland Ave. that had a 109 mph exit velocity. The wind blowing out at Wrigley Field helps, but it isn’t everything.

MLB players have questioned time and time again if baseballs are “juiced,” including Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester. And while Maddon didn’t flat out say that he thinks the baseballs are juiced, he notices a difference in how they're flying off the bat.

“I don’t know, I’m normally not into the subplot component of all of this and the conspiracy theorists, but I’m telling you right now, it’s jumping,” he said. “It’s absolutely jumping.

“Nobody is ever going to admit to it. The wind’s being broken here. It’s really weird.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.