Preps Talk

Garza sets his sights on October

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Garza sets his sights on October

SURPRISE, Ariz. Matt Garza has the stuff to win 20 games and force his way into the Cy Young conversation. No doubt, he has guts and has come up big in playoff moments. But he hasnt quite put together an entire season like that yet.

It could be coming, because at age 28, Garza is right in his prime, already having answered the questions about how he would transition from Tampa Bay to life inside the Wrigley Field fishbowl.

But Garzas many personality quirks can overshadow how much he wants to win. There is only one goal.

October, Garza said. Thats it. If we get to October, then all the personal stuff will come with it. But, to me, team accolades are way more important. (Thats) getting us to a place where we need to be, where we should be getting back to October and fighting for a pennant.

So Garza really doesnt care if he gets the ball on April 5 against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Manager Dale Sveum is expected to (finally) announce the Opening Day starter on Friday.

It doesnt matter to me, Garza said. Im just excited to go play. So if its Demp, me, Samardzij, Voley, Lopey, (prospect Trey) McNutt even. It doesnt bother me. Crazy stuff can happen. (But) its not bashing (anything). It doesnt bother me as long as Im (one of) the five and I get to throw at Wrigley. Im not too concerned about it.

Garza went five innings and allowed three runs (none earned) in Thursdays 11-4 win over the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. He sounded like ex-manager Mike Quade using nicknames for Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad and Rodrigo Lopez.

Its clear that Garza respects Sveum, whos compared him to David Cone, another big-game pitcher who liked to talk.

Hes a high-energy guy thats hard to get a grip on sometimes, Sveum said. I told him to leave the dugout the other day after one inning: Im tired of listening.

Hes not afraid to chirp at the other team, but its nice to have a guy like that who cares the four days he doesnt pitch. Hes not afraid to come in my office and B.S. a little bit. Hes just one of those guys who goes a mile a minute. You (have to) calm him down a little bit sometimes, but hes gotten to that stage of his career to be able to harness that.

Garza already has an ALCS MVP award on his resume, and hes strong enough to have made at least 30 starts in each of the last four seasons. His career numbers are 52-54 with a 3.83 ERA, but hes in line to get a huge contract, either here or elsewhere.

Opening Day or not, this is the potential ace. But Garza doesnt look at it like the Cubs season is on his shoulders.

Its on all of (us), Garza said. There are four more members of the rotation (and) I know were all going to push each other. Our job is to get 200 (innings) apiece. If we can accomplish that goal, then that means were pitching deep and were giving our bullpen a rest and were keeping our defense live and ready to go. Lets get this thing moving.

Mateo update

Marcos Mateo, whos been fighting for a bullpen spot, left Thursdays game with discomfort in his right arm. The reliever was to be examined at the teams complex in Mesa and scheduled to get an MRIarthrogram, according to a team spokesman. His season ended last July after he was shut down with right elbow soreness.

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Week Three

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Week Three

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings after three weeks of play on the IHSA schedule:

1. Lincoln-Way East 3-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Bradley, 42-7
This Week: @ Bolingbrook
EDGY's Take: The Griffins scored touchdowns on its first six offensive possessions before halftime en route to a win against Bradley on Friday night.
  
2. Loyola Academy 2-1 (2)
Last Week: Beat St. Rita, 24-7
This Week: @ Mount Carmel
EDGY's Take: The Ramblers broke open a tight game on Saturday against the Mustangs, led by a key 49-yard field goal by Nate Van Zelst.
   
3. Nazareth Academy 2-1 (3)
Last Week: Beat Fenwick, 31-6
This Week: @ St. Laurence
EDGY's Take: Jim Harbaugh was in attendance to see the Roadrunners take care of business against Fenwick. They look to keep things rolling in Burbank against the Vikings.
  
4. Homewood-Flossmoor 3-0 (4)
Last Week: Beat Andrew, 35-14
This Week: @ Lockport
EDGY's Take: Senior QB Dominic Jones throws four touchdowns in the win over the Thunderbolts.

5. Batavia 2-1 (5)
Last Week: Beat Lake Park, 56-0
This Week: vs Glenbard North
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs got out of the gates strong in walloping Lake Park. The Bulldogs were led by senior RB/LB Quinn Urwiler.
  
6. Warren Township 3-0 (6)
Last Week: Beat Waukegan, 56-0
This Week: @ Libertyville
EDGY's Take: The Blue Devils offense got into gear in a big way. They'll hit the road to take on Libertyville.
 
7. Mount Carmel 3-0 (9)
Last Week: Beat Montini, 27-20
This Week: vs Loyola 
EDGY's Take: The Caravan get the close win over Montini. A battle of top-10 teams is on deck for Friday night at Carey Field.

8. Glenbard West 3-0 (8)
Last Week: Beat Proviso West, 59-0
This Week: @ Addison Trail
EDGY's Take: The Hitters defense has allowed just eight points over the last two weeks.
 
9. Bolingbrook 3-0 (10)
Last Week: Beat Stagg, 43-0
This Week: vs Lincoln Way East
EDGY's Take: The Raiders will look to upset the top-ranked Griffins on Friday behind QB Devyn Suggs.

10. Providence Catholic 3-0 (24)
Last Week: Beat Brother Rice, 34-22
This Week: vs Notre Dame
EDGY's Take: Celtics junior QB Kevin Conway ran for three touchdowns in the victory over Rice.

11. Phillips 3-0 (11)
Last Week: Beat Taft, 40-7
This Week: vs Raby
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats finally got to taste some home cooking. They get their first in-state (and home) win of the season.

12. Hinsdale Central 3-0 (13)
Last Week: Beat Hinsdale South, 27-7
This Week: @ Oak Park-River Forest
EDGY's Take: The Red Devils win the Doings Cup for the 18th season in a row. The defense has been a real strength so far this season.

13. Brother Rice 2-1 (7)
Last Week: Lost to Providence, 34-22
This Week: vs Marist
EDGY's Take: The Crusaders lost to Providence but junior RB Willie Shaw showed that he's a name to watch this season.

14. Hersey 3-0 (14)
Last Week: Beat Maine East, 63-6
This Week: @ Glenbrook North
EDGY's Take: The Huskies get another big performance from QB Jordan Hansen.

15. Minooka 3-0 (15)
Last Week: Beat Plainfield East, 35-20
This Week: @ Joliet Central
EDGY's Take: The Indians win despite losing QB Seth Lehr to injury. 

16. Montini 2-1 (12)
Last Week: Lost to Mount Carmel, 27-20
This Week: vs St. Rita
EDGY's Take: The Broncos lose a close game to the Caravan and look to bounce back this Friday when they host St. Rita.

17. Oswego 3-0 (17)
Last Week: Beat Plainfield South, 34-6
This Week: @ Plainfield East
EDGY's Take: The Panthers defense forces a handful of turnovers; the offenese did the rest in a big win over Plainfield South.

18. St. Charles North 2-1 (18)
Last Week: Beat Wheaton North, 20-17
This Week: vs Geneva
EDGY's Take: The North Stars come from behind in the win over the Falcons. WR Ryan Thiesse had a big game.
 
19. Neuqua Valley 2-1 (19)
Last Week: Lost to East St. Louis, 50-48 OT
This Week: vs Dekalb
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats take the state's top ranked team to overtime. QB Mark Gronowski (South Dakota State) came up big in the loss. 

20. Barrington 2-1 (20)
Last Week: Beat New Trier, 35-0
This Week: @ Glenbrook South
EDGY's Take: The Broncos defense continues to play well in posting a second straight shutout. They'll travel to Glenview this week.

21. Maine South 1-2 (25)
Last Week: Beat Fremd, 35-21
This Week: vs Palatine
EDGY's Take: Hawks head coach Dave Inserra is moving kids all over the field trying to find a winning formula. They have lost several players to key injuries. Friday's win over Fremd could be a turning point.

22. Hillcrest 2-1 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Richards, 34-17
This Week: @ Bremen
EDGY's Take: Hillcrest head coach Mo Weaver has one of the state's top running backs in junior Mar'Kiese Irving.
 
23. Waubonsie Valley 21 (21)

Last Week: Lost to Trinity, Ky., 60-6
This Week: @ Naperville North
EDGY's Take: Yes, a 60-6 loss isn't good at all; but then again, how many top-ranked Chicagoland teams have fared well against out of state opponents? Not many. The Warriors get a mulligan here. 

24. Willowbrook 2-1 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Downers Grove South, 32-15
This Week: @ Leyden
EDGY's Take: The Warriors trailed Downers Grove South into the third quarter but rallied for the win behind QB San Tumilty.

25. Notre Dame 3-0 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Marist, 21-14
This Week: @ Providence Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Dons get a strong win over Marist. Friday's game in New Lenox should be fun. Big game at Providence.
 

Bears among 4 teams under most pressure to secure win in Week 2

Bears among 4 teams under most pressure to secure win in Week 2

The Chicago Bears' Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos may not be a do-or-die moment in the season just yet, but it's certainly not a game they can afford to lose.

Since 2007, 98 teams have begun the year 0-2. Only 12 made the playoffs. Assuming math wasn't your major, that's just 12.2 percent.

So if the Bears lose Sunday, their season might already be on life support.

ESPN's Field Yates listed Chicago as one of four teams with notable pressure riding on Week 2's results.

The Browns, Falcons and Steelers, all of whom lost in embarrassing fashion in Week 1, join the Bears as teams who had playoff expectations entering the season. None of them looked like potential contenders on opening weekend, but with few starters playing any meaningful reps during the preseason, rust certainly played a factor.

That won't be the case after Week 2. If Chicago falls victim to a Denver team that's coming off a pretty bad loss to the Raiders, fans will begin to panic. 

And based on the history of 0-2 starts, the panic will be justified.

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