White Sox

Stingy defense sends Rock Island to 3A Final

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Stingy defense sends Rock Island to 3A Final

Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted: 10:28 p.m.
By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

PEORIA Every time Brooks guards George Marshall and Mike Powell elevated for jump shots on Friday they looked confident and poised, and for good reason all season long the vast majority of those jumpers had gone in. Not this time. Marshall and Powell were absolutely broke for four quarters as the Eagles fell to Rock Island 55-36 in the Class 3A state semifinals at Carver Arena.It was the worst shooting game we had all year, Brooks coach Bobby Locke said. I think we were awestruck that the ball wasnt going in the hole. I think it carried over to our defense.Brooks shot 13-for-50 from the field. Marshall shot 1-for-12, he missed the first 11 shots. His first basket was a three-pointer with five seconds left in the game. Powell was 1-for-14, he made a layup in the third quarter.The Eagles were not on the court warming up for the usual 15 minutes before tip-off. There was a snafu with the clock in the locker room.We didnt have time to warm up, Powell said. We ended up going out with like eight minutes left. When the game started I tried to get warm out there but it wouldnt go for me.Brooks managed only one free throw in the first quarter and trailed 12-1. Keith Gray (12 points, 12 rebounds) turned things on in the second quarter but the Eagles trailed 23-11 a the half.In a nutshell, the first quarter killed us, Locke said. We couldnt overcome that.The Eagles did hold Stanford recruit Chasson Randle in check. He shot 5-for-15 from the field and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Rocks guard Devon Jones didnt score, but he guarded Marshall for the majority of the game.Jones had a huge hand in us winning this, Rock Island coach Thom Sigel said. He shut down George Marshall.Marshall finished with five points and Powell had three. Justin Raabcontributed nine points and Kevin Gray had seven points and five rebounds for Brooks (28-4).I dont know that we even hoped we would contain Marshall and Powell like that, Sigel said.Denzel McCauley, a 6-8 junior, led Rock Island (29-3) with 14 points and nine rebounds. Romal Davis scored nine and Keith Keesy added eight points and six reboundswhile playing with a broken nose.Im proud of the fact that we put it together and got here, Locke said. We bonded really quickly and I hate that it ended so fast.Rock Island will play the winner of the North Chicago vs. Centraliasemifinal for the class 3A state championship Saturday at 2 p.m.It means the world, Randle said. This is amazing just to be sitting here talking about playing in the championship game.

Yoan Moncada has gone from 'strikeout heaven to impactful bat heaven'

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada has gone from 'strikeout heaven to impactful bat heaven'

Yoan Moncada is finishing off a breakout season and he has gotten there with a different approach at the plate.

When Moncada came up through the minors and even in his first two years in the majors, he was known for drawing plenty of walks. At every stop of the minors and in each of his first two seasons with the White Sox, Moncada walked in well north of 10 percent of his plate appearances.

This season, which is inarguably his best in the majors, he has 39 walks in 510 plate appearances. After Moncada added three hits in Sunday’s 11-10 loss to the Mariners, he is now hitting .308/363/.537 with 23 home runs, 72 RBIs and 75 runs scored.

Sunday's 3-for-5 game added to his red-hot September. Moncada is hitting .436/.492/.636 in 14 games this month. He's not the only White Sox hitter on fire this month.

Before the game, White Sox manager Rick Renteria talked about Moncada’s different approach.

“He’s going to be a 30-homer type guy,” Renteria said. “I think his on-base percentage is good. I think people look at the numbers in terms of the base-on-balls, the total numbers that are down, but he’s gone from strikeout heaven to impactful bat heaven, so to speak, and I think there’s going to be a balance in between where he’s going to continue to have those walk numbers, on-base numbers and be a pretty significant impactful player as a third baseman.”

That strikeout heaven Renteria referred to is another big difference for Moncada this year. After striking out in 32 percent of his plate appearances in 54 games with the White Sox in 2017 and whiffing a whopping 217 times last year (33.4 percent), Moncada has cut down on that number. He has 139 strikeouts this year, which is down to 27.2 percent.

So the strikeouts have gone down along with the walks. Moncada’s overall numbers are clearly better so it appears the tradeoff has been worth it.

“I think he’s taking into account more situational type things,” Renteria said. “Instead of taking that borderline pitch that they would call a strike, for example, he might be more inclined to create a productive out and drive in a run and put the ball in play.

"It’s more baseball-oriented, not just numbers wise. It’s a baseball situation in which he is now understanding a little bit more, I have a chance to impact this in a positive way. (If) I don’t swing the bat, it’s a called third strike, I’m walking into the dugout and my guys are still out  there on the bases. I got a pitch I can handle, I can still manage. Put the ball in play, score that run and we score another point, it puts us in a better position. Ultimately it’s about scoring runs.”

Renteria emphasized that he didn’t want Moncada chasing pitches as he tries to be more aggressive. However, going after borderline pitches that are hittable instead of trying to work a walk as one of the most dangerous hitters on the team isn’t always the best approach.

“If you look at his at-bats, he’s not a chaser,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t put balls in play that are a foot (outside), he doesn’t do that. There are balls that are manageable, hittable, things that he can either get a base hit out of or put in play to create a particular run. It’s more situational awareness that he’s become better at, which I think has helped him improved some of his numbers offensively.”

In other Moncada news, he got hit by a throw after stealing a base in the seventh inning .The throw bounced and hit Moncada in the side as he was sliding into second. After being in obvious pain, Moncada stayed on the bases, later came around to score and finished the game.

 

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Rizzo hurt as Cubs sweep Pirates

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USA Today

Cubs Talk Podcast: Rizzo hurt as Cubs sweep Pirates

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Luke Stuckmeyer, Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki discuss the injury to Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs offense coming alive against the Pirates and the playoff chase with 2 weeks left in the season.

01:00     How worried are you about Rizzo's injury

05:00     Wrigley's reaction to Rizzo's injury

08:00     Bryant leads the Cubs offense against the Pirates

10:00     Heyward's resurgence after moving out of leadoff spot

12:00     Nico Hoerner's looks impressive in first series at Wrigley

15:00     How do Cubs stand with 2 weeks left?

17:00     Cubs have a chance to make up ground with Cardinals playing Nationals

18:30     Brewers staying in race without Yelich

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Cubs Talk Podcast

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