18-6 looks pretty good from where I sit. Szczur has a hammy. We'll have to see how bad it is. The Magic Number Is 134. Thank you, Dan Plesac.
* autoplay reminder
On the hill.
- Cubs.com*: Ric Flair on the mound [VIDEO]
- ESPN*: Week 4 power rankings. We're still #1.
- Stephanie Lynn (Cubs Den): An interview with Cubs relief prospect David Berg. Berg has something that you rarely see from pitchers: a wicked sidearm delivery.
- Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Cubs starting pitchers are on a pace to do something they haven't done since 2004. 1000 innings.
- Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): Cubs hope to shift to higher gear on trip to Pittsburgh. "It's way too early to think the Cubs' three-day trip to Pittsburgh carries any added significance, though still a good time to send a message that could pay off down the road."
- Toni Ginnetti (Chicago Sun-Times): Joe Maddon stoked to see Pirates again. "It should bring out the best in you when you play really good teams."
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): A budding rivalry begins anew for Pirates, Cubs. "Over the next half-decade, this might be the rivalry of the Central division."
- Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): Just imagine how scary the Cubs will be when they start hitting. We saw this in spring training, when the record was awful until the starting nine appeared in a game.
- Len Kasper (Daily Herald): Calling a no-hitter never gets old for broadcasters. I bet throwing them doesn't get old for pitchers, either.
- Richard Kagan (Cubbies Crib): Reserves Matt Szczur and Tommy La Stella prove valuable. "...might not grab the headlines like some of the power hitters. But they are important players to the team’s success."
- Nate Greabe (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Young Cubs: Albert Almora rising. He's bumped his line up to .351/.390/.527 through 80 plate appearances.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Five things we learned about the Cubs during the first month of 2016. 5. The Cubs haven't reached their peak.
In the field.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): 'Grandpa Rossy' playing free and easy in final season with Cubs. "He's always stopped and smelled the roses," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's unique. Different cat from what I've had in the past."
- Mike Petriello (MLB.com): Playing deeper, Dexter Fowler a more effective defender. "...the percentages favor the deeper player."
- Lauren Rohr (Daily Herald): After beating pneumonia, Wauconda boy gets the memory of a lifetime. After spending several days in intensive care earlier this year battling a serious case of pneumonia, Brayden Kirchwehm was named an honorary bat boy for the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. The best part is that he'll completely recover.
- Neil (Chicago Cubs Online): Cubs think Willson Contreras will be a special player. Theo Epstein said " If you rush somebody you never get a chance to break them in the right way again. He’s benefited from every day he’s at the Triple-A level doing a great job."
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): All about the D: According to Fangraphs, the Cubs have the best defense in baseball. The Cubs put together a team that can stop runs as well as it scores them.
The green, green grass of home.
- Justin Breen (DNAinfo): Wrigley Field looks stunning on this photographer's new Twitter account. There are few folks who fly over Wrigley Field more than Curtis Waltz.
Food for thought:
- Sarah Fecht (Popular Science): Boiling water might have carved Mars' mysterious dark streaks. Mars's air pressure is much lower than ours, and so is the boiling point of water there.
- Tania Lombrozo (NPR): Can songs help you learn scientific concepts? Incorporating music and other media might not only have mnemonic benefits, but also help make science more accessible and more engaging to a broad range of students.
- Victoria Jaggard (National Geographic): Five small animals that messed with big science. Weasels ripped my LHC.
Game 2 tonight. Jake on the mound. See you in the virtual bleachers.