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Cub Tracks’ Breakfast At Epiphany’s

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Expectations, inclinations, recriminations,and other things slung over the plate.

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
This baseball stuff is hard sometimes.
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Cub Tracks, morning-after edition. Last time we discussed the cosmic joke, took a bite out of the space-time donut, and cursed Christopher Russo (chiefly for his Cub-hate, but he’s pretty insufferable anyway). Today we’re back at the Cub Tracks Kitchens, where half-baked ideas turn into vowel movements. So many narratives. So little time...

Forgive me, for I’m only a little ‘stitious. Truly I am. I realize that ritual observances do not please the baseball gods, because there aren’t any. Therefore, it is just for my precious self that I perform sacrifices to those powerful and capricious, utterly unsympathetic and remorseless pseudo-deities. Regardless, much as if I were a puppet in an old Anthony Hopkins film, I am impelled to perform these actions. I’m a victim of circumstances. In this case, circumstance has dictated that I retire the Italian Beef sandwiches for the remainder of the playoffs, as there are no wins left in them, and find another way to deal with the quarter-pound or so of remaining savory sliced meat.

Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen arranged that in a shutout victory that was as hard to swallow as undercooked steak fries, especially given the workload the two men have been laboring under for the past week or so. I for one would be totally forgiving if they were to melt down under the pressure and give up a run or two. It isn’t like Kyle Hendricks exactly sucked out there, and Javier Baez damn near made it all academic. But no. It might have worked out better if the Cubs had just stuck their bats out there and let Kershaw hit them. So let’s just win the games that Kershaw doesn’t start, and let events take care of themselves. Maybe next time Kershaw doesn’t get the Greg Maddux strike zone. Or Kenley Jansen.

There’s a case for a beef, though I doubt Joe Maddon will say anything. In the meantime, I’m gonna repurpose that meat and make up a batch of S.O.S, and chow that down while I read the morning “papers” and suck down about a gallon of coffee.

Understatement of the century. Couldn’t have said it better myself. And I wish I had been wrong about Adrian Gonzalez.

Where have you gone, Anthony Rizzo? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Boohoohoo. In the interim, you can turn your lonely eyes to this collection of hyperlinks, gathered under the hunter’s moon, before the witching hour, after I planted a mandrake root, widdershins.

The ledge is a long way away, but there are strange rumblings in the back of the room. Some of you may rather pray to Theo. If that doesn’t work, the next step is a collect call to Cthulhu. Be of good cheer, for Alex Rodriguez says the Cubs will be playing the Indians soon, and Blackhawks “sang” the seventh-inning stretch. I hope that’s not what A-Rod meant. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  • : Joe Maddon’s postgame interview. Transcript and [VIDEO].
  • Bill Plaschke (The LA Times): Is anyone else sick of the Cubs and their long-suffering narrative? “...the Dodgers are the real Cinderellas in this cliche story.” Wah, snif.
  • Dan Hayes (CSN Chicago*): Dodgers head to LA confident they can beat Cubs. Tell that to Jake.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs plan to regroup and take control of NLCS at Dodger Stadium. “The Dodgers used 15 different starting pitchers during the regular season, while the Cubs had four 15-game winners, including one (Jason Hammel) who hasn’t made the playoff roster in either round yet.”
  • Dieter Kurtenbach (Fox Sports): The Cubs' biggest problem has been exposed. “...the bats need to arrive...”
  • Jack Magruder (Today’s Knuckleball): Baffled by Kershaw, Cubs still confident in offense. “I don’t think it’s fair to everyone to try to get six, seven hits at one time. I’ve done that before in my career and it doesn’t work out,” said Anthony Rizzo.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Should Clayton Kershaw's gem spark Cubs' lineup shakeup? "Now it's a race to three," Rizzo said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): No pop, no shot for Cubs against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. "We just faced the best pitcher on the planet," Rizzo said, summing up the game.
  • Phil Rogers ( Maddon's philosophy tested by cold Cubs bats. “ got to continue to play through the bad lie," Maddon said.
  • Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times): Nobody promised Dodgers would be easy, but it’s not time to panic. In the largest, friendliest letters imaginable.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs: Don’t worry about Rizzo’s slump or team’s first NLCS loss. “Continue having our backs and supporting us. That’s all we can ask for,” said David Ross after the game.
  • James Neveau (NBC Chicago): Baez says Cubs 'Know We're the Best' Team in Baseball. So fold up the prayer mats, put away the rosaries, and save the goat for later.
  • Dayn Perry (CBS Sports): What tracking Kershaw from press box taught us. “Kershaw mostly smothered the NL's best offense in front of hostile onlookers when the outcome for the lefty and his Dodgers mattered more than it ever has.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Quick Reax to NLCS Game 2. At the end of the day, none of the bitching and moaning will change the score.
  • Jenifer Langosch ( Jake Arrieta to return to site of first no-hitter in Game 3. Yes, yessss. This is true. Our guys are kinda good, too. Jake loves LA just like Randy Newman does.
  • Steve Rosenbloom (Chicago Tribune): Ex-Cub might be just what these Cubs need right now. Rich Hill will bring a 6.43 ERA and 1.857 WHIP into Tuesday’s start.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs’ bullpen adjusting to new way of doing things. Hector Rondon is just sayin’. “We were never used like this in the regular season,” he said.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon welcomes the second-guessing and won’t change how Cubs use Aroldis Chapman. “I’m really happy people are actually watching. And the more people we can (get) that want to scrutinize – please – tune in.”
  • Billy Witz (The New York Times): Javier Baez, Cubs’ riveting second baseman, is leaving mark on playoffs. This is true. And that ball he hit nearly left a mark on Joc Pederson’s glove.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Everyone thought Javier Baez won Game 2 of the NLCS, even Clayton Kershaw. “I thought it was out for sure,” Kershaw remarked.
  • Jenifer Langosch ( Baez adds crafty double play to highlight reel. He plays on another plane. As long as it arrives at the same airstrip, it’s spectacular.
  • Connor Byrne (MLB Trade Rumors): Miguel Montero thought Cubs would release him. “Baseball is kind of crazy. Anything can happen,” he said.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times): Are we seeing Dexter Fowler’s final days in a Cubs uniform? “Fowler insists he’s too focused on enjoying the ride to fret over the uncertainty of his future.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Theo lauds Hendry influence on Cubs playoff run. Javy Baez and Willson Contreras came on his watch. Hendry was similarly effusive.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Baseball America’s new lists foreshadow changes in Cubs’ top prospects. “Strange things sometimes happen in the offseason for the minor leagues and the past two weeks were no exception.”
  • Carly Mallenbaum (USA Today): 'Rookie of the Year' star spreads joy, wears Cubs jersey to costume party. No, not Gary Busey. Not this time.
  • Mike Lowe (WGN-TV): The true story behind those ‘TRY NOT TO SUCK’ Cubs t-shirts. The backstory behind the success of Korked Baseball. I think I own stock in them now.
  • Patrick M. O’Connell (Chicago Tribune): Unknown to many, history lurks under Wrigley's remodeled bleachers. “In left field and near the center-field entrance, display cases showcase historical team photos and memorabilia...”
  • Arthur Weinstein (Sporting News): Giants fans are blaming Taylor Swift for loss to Cubs. The pop star released albums in 2010, 2012 and 2014. You do the math.

Food for thought.

  • Susan Milius (Science News): Be careful what you say around jumping spiders. “Arachnids hear airborne sounds over greater distances than thought.” I didn’t know that they heard thought. Now that’s scary. Big-ass telepathic spiders...
  • Stephanie Pappas (Live Science): The New Science of Willpower: Can self-control really get used up? “Many psychologists now think this phenomenon, dubbed "ego depletion," doesn't exist at all.” Umm, what? Read on.
  • Channing Sargent (Yahoo News): Science has officially ruined dinosaurs because this is the 2016 way. Grok crocodile rock. It is also unlikely that they ululated in mixed company.

Cub Tracks will also have a pre-game edition tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading.