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Cub Tracks From A To Z

Alphabet soup is good food.

A pause to reflect
A pause to reflect
Jon Durr/Getty Images

Suddenly victory-starved, the Cubs have Thursday off. Give San Diego credit, meat loaf, and also a ticket outta town.

Box scores.

Game 1.

Game 2.

*autoplay warning.

Let the children play.

  • Cody Stavenhagen ( MLB's Play Ball Weekend comes to Chicago. It's a a league-wide effort from Major League Baseball to engage young fans and support participation in baseball and softball.

Jake Arrieta dept.

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Will Jake Arrieta give the Cubs a hometown discount? "No," Jake Arrieta says. So there's that.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Jake Arrieta: No hometown discount for Cubs on long-term deal. "You want to be paid in respect to how your peers are paid," Arrieta said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Jake Arrieta worth Ace money, no discounts. "There's not many guys that can pitch at the top of the rotation floating around the league," he said, in part.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Jake Arrieta not worried about future with the Cubs. "I think I've made it clear I like Chicago," Arrieta said. "I think everybody knows that. If I had it my way, I'd stay here. That's just one side of the story. We'll see."
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune): Cubs' biggest deal could be Jake Arrieta contract... but it won't be easy. The team still controls Arrieta through next season.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Joe Maddon admires ace Jake Arrieta's focus as contract status looms. It's not really looming. There's two years to figure things out.
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): Jake Arrieta won't give Cubs hometown discount, nor should he. The club owes him a lot, and he’s expecting a lot.

Kris Bryant dept.

  • August Fagerstrom (Fangraphs): Kris Bryant has a new swing. Bryant’s contact rate is up seven percentage points. His line-drive rate is up six percentage points, and presently sits among the highest 20 such rates in baseball.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): More to enjoy on Kris Bryant's swing changes -- he could just keep getting better. Bryant’s contact rate is way up. Balls are gonna leave the yard anyway.
  • Sean Sears (Sports Mockery): Easy fix with Kris Bryant could lead to MVP season. "...the reigning Rookie of the Year is becoming a more complete hitter, and that should scare everyone else in baseball."

Theo Epstein dept.

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Theo Epstein riding the wave, preparing for when Cubs might crash. "Baseball karma is real," Epstein said.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Theo Epstein: Stephen Strasburg deal doesn't have impact on contracts. Speaking of contract extensions, Epstein said none was imminent.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Theo Epstein brings Cubs Nation back to reality. "Hype doesn’t win and lose baseball games."

Dexter Fowler dept.

  • Matthew Trueblood (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Two go, we go: Could Dexter Fowler better serve the Cubs batting second? "...the key case I want to make is for switching Heyward and Fowler at the top of the order."

Jason Heyward dept.

  • Chris Emma (CBS Chicago): Slumping Cub Jason Heyward maintains his confidence. "I feel really good about him. I think he’s going to turn around very soon," said Joe Maddon.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Jason Heyward: "Handling failure is part of the game. I just feel right now, just getting timing back ... once I get my timing back, it's going to be great."
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Big bucks can't seem to buy slow-starting Jason Heyward a hit. Heyward, who missed three games last week in Pittsburgh after a weeks-old wrist discomfort flared up, said the wrist is not an issue now.

Addison Russell dept.

  • Austen Kas (numberfire): Is Addison Russell the Cubs' MVP? Russell doesn’t get enough credit, and it makes perfect sense.
  • (ESPN*) Addison Russell on Carmen and Jurko [AUDIO]

Ben Zobrist dept.

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Ben Zobrist doesn't see Cubs' hot start as an aberration. "I don’t see that this is something that we can’t continue to do in some way," he said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Ben Zobrist displaying 'perfect' plate approach. No qualified hitter has a bigger difference between his walk and strikeout rates than does Zobrist.
  • Carrie Muskat, AJ Cassavell ( Cubs tie 1907 team for franchise's best start. "You can't stay this hot all year long," Ben Zobrist said.

Soup to nuts.

  • Cody Stavenhagen ( Ryne Sandberg, Tom Ricketts rave about Cubs' hot start. Sandberg played 15 seasons with the Cubs in his Hall of Fame career, but he said he's never seen anything like this.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): This all has to slow down at some point, right? "What began as a stumbling, shuffling shadow of a baseball team has now become a veritable juggernaut that’s just rolling through the league and trampling everything in its path."
  • Dan Bernstein (CBS Chicago): R.I.P. the bunt. "...bunting has been on the decline." Talking about the sacrifice bunt, but it extends to bunting for hits too.
  • CBS Chicago: Chris Bosio on Tanner Roark's criticism: "Didn't even know who Roark was," he said. "I honestly forgot he was one of their starters."
  • Tom Loxas (Cubs Den): Just let the Cubs make the sausage. If they stay healthy, the cured sausage should turn out real good, come October. Love the grind™.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Today's 26th man -- Carl Edwards, Jr. joins the Cubs. "...he figures to be an impact arm for the Cubs as soon as the second half of this season.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Prospect profile: Ryan Kellogg is just turning it on. In a league where most pitchers throw three pitches, Kellogg’s ability to utilize four offerings sets him apart.
  • Terence Moore (Sports on Earth): Cubs history-makers? Don't jinx it. "You look at our everyday players, and I'll tell you what. We can compare with anybody," said Billy Williams.

Food for thought:

  • Esther Landhuis (Science News): Healthiest weight may be overweight. Packing on a few pounds may not be such a bad thing.
  • Ken Kremer (Universe Today): SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth with critical NASA science. "The Dragon spacecraft has served us well, and it’s good to see it departing full of science, and we wish it a safe recovery back to planet Earth," European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake said.
  • Sara Fecht: (Popular Science): 'Alien megastructure star only gets more mysterious. Lots of disagreements about interpreting the data.

Hat tip to Al Yellon and Josh Timmers for links. Pittsburgh comes in for three starting Friday. See you then.