White Sox

Trivia for state tournament fans

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Trivia for state tournament fans

Pat Heston is a minister in Cahokia, Illinois. In his spare time, he is a figure filbert, a historian of high school basketball in Illinois, a statistician who uncovers statistics that don't add up for anyone else.

In the wake of the 2011-12 boys state tournament, here are some updated facts that the Rev. Heston has uncovered, a treasure trove of trivia for all state tournament fans who have nothing better to do.

Simeon passed East St. Louis Lincoln for the best winning percentage in state tournament history. Simeon is 26-6, a winning percentage of .813. East St. Louis Lincoln is 20-5, a winning percentage of .800.

Bet you can't guess which school is third on the all-time list. Venice, which is 11-3, a winning percentage of .786.

After winning the Class 3A championship, Peoria Central climbed past Quincy into the No. 2 position on the list of the all-time most successful programs behind archrival Peoria Manual. Until recently, Quincy had ranked No. 1 but the Blue Devils haven't made a trip to the state finals since 2000.

During a period of 66 years, from Quincy's first appearance in the state tournament in 1934 to its last appearance in 2000, the program averaged one trip to the state finals every 2.2 years and claimed one trophy every five years. But the Blue Devils haven't qualified for the state finals in 12 years and haven't won a trophy in 14 years.

Despite Simeon's recent success, winning five state championships in the last seven years, the South Side school still trails Marshall as the Public League's winningest program in the state tournament. Marshall ranks No. 10 in the state, Simeon No. 13.

Moline remains the most successful program in state tournament history that hasn't won a state title. Others are Peoria Richwoods, New Trier and Bloom.

Peoria Spalding, which opened in 1899 and closed in 1988, maintains the highest winning percentage (.625) of all programs to never win a state title.

After Simeon, East St. Louis Lincoln and Venice, the top 10 schools with the highest winning percentage in state tournament competition are Whitney Young (10-3, .769), King (21-7, .750), Hales Franciscan (12.4, .750), Proviso East (25-10, .714), Thornridge (10-4, .714), Lawrenceville (29-13, .690) and Rockford (19-9, .679).

After Peoria Manual, Peoria Central and Quincy, the most successful programs in state tournament history based on appearances, victories and finishes are Thornton, Centralia, Decatur, West Aurora, Pinckneyville, Champaign Central and Chicago Marshall.

Finally, as an aside, basketball historian Butch Border of Centralia reports an update on the list of the nation's all-time winningest programs. Dobyns of Bennett, Tennessee, has won 2,124 games. Centralia is second with 2,103 followed by Collinsville with 2,005 and Quincy with 1,906.

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez continues hot start to second half, helps snap White Sox losing streak

After a rough outing against the Detroit Tigers on July 4 — his last before the All-Star break — White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez vowed to be a different pitcher going forward.

“At this point, after a really bad first half, there's not much I can say about that. Starting today, you're going to see a different pitcher going forward for the second half of the season,” Lopez said after his July 4 start through team interpreter Billy Russo. “What is done is done. There's nothing else that I can do to change what is done.

“I can do different things to get better and to be a better pitcher for the year and that's what I'm going to do.”

Two outings later, and Lopez is nearing the point where he can say “I told you so.”

Lopez has come out of the break firing on all cylinders after struggling to a 4-8 record and MLB-worst 6.34 ERA before the Midsummer Classic. Friday, he tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just six hits and one walk compared to eight strikeouts. This follows his brilliant outing against the Athletics on Sunday in which he pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and one run — albeit unearned — with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Lopez exited Sunday’s game in line for a win before the White Sox bullpen slipped up. The offense allowed no such opportunity on Friday, tallying 16 hits en route to a 9-2 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s Lopez’s first win since June 9 against the Kansas City Royals.

Lopez has received a fair share of criticism this season for his struggles, but his recent success should not come as much of a surprise considering how he fared in 2018. The 25-year-old posted a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts, striking out 151 batters in 188 2/3 innings.

Lopez’s strikeout rate in 2019 is up compared to 2018 (8.19 K/9 in 2019 vs. 7.20 in 2018) and his walk rate is down (3.32 BB/9 in 2019 vs. 3.58 in 2018). The major difference is that opponents are hitting .284 against him this season compared to .234 in 2018, while also holding a .319 BABIP, up from .260 last season.

It may just be two starts, but Lopez is backing up his vow to pitch better. Between Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and the returns of Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón from Tommy John surgery in 2020, the White Sox future starting rotation is in good hands. Getting Lopez back to pitching how he did in 2018 will only take that group to the next level.

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Dare we ask... are the Cubs back?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Dare we ask... are the Cubs back?

Rick Telander, Ben Finfer and Seth Gruen join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs beat the Padres from their 6th win in their 7 games since the All-Star Break. Are they really this good or are they just feasting on sub-.500 teams?

7:00 - The White Sox have lost seven straight after the break. Should fans be furious with the slump or still optimistic about the future?

13:00 - The Bears report to Bourbonnais in 6 days. Will the 2019 season be a failure if they do not make it to the Super Bowl?

19:00 - Kap gives out his play of the night in the FanDuel Friday Faves.

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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