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Cub Tracks Pulls Strings

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Cubs win, look to close out with a series win. Jon Lester throws a complete game, Kris Bryant scrapes the sky, and other bullets.

Cubbie Blue is superior to Dodger Blue.
Cubbie Blue is superior to Dodger Blue.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs news for your Thursday: Cub Tracks has been advised that the ESPN Sunday night broadcast crew of Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone will be in the right-field bleachers at Wrigley for the June 19 game against the Pirates. We'll remind you again of this on that day.

Were you as stunned as I was when Jon Lester came to bat in the ninth? And then Hector Rondon is sitting and talking to Javier Baez while Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop are up, after that? Joe being Joe, I suppose. Turned out that they weren't needed. Jon Lester had the game in hand. Box score.

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Silence!

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Hector Rondon became a dominant closer. "Be aggressive," Rondon said. "You have to kill the guy — or they kill you."
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs will continue pursuit of pitching depth. The Cubs have had scouts out for over a month, prospecting  for possible deals.
  • CBS Chicago: Tom Ricketts critical of restrictions on proposed Wrigley Field plaza. Ricketts envisions the plaza as a sort of town square and says worries about rowdy drinking are not realistic.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times): Are the runaway Cubs in for a June swoon? "I don’t think we’re ever really going to play [a month-long stretch of] games where we don’t play well," Anthony Rizzo said. "For the most part, we should be in every game."
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Kris Bryant can now add shortstop to resume. "The versatile player may get a chance to test his defensive skills everywhere before the season is over."

Punch and Judy hitters.

  • Cameron DaSilva (Fox Sports): The entire Cubs infield is leading in All-Star voting. First baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell all lead their respective positions.
  • Robert Villareal (Baseball Essential): Chicago Cubs: Two months in and still rolling. "...the best team in all of baseball."
  • MLB Network: The value of Ben Zobrist in Chicago. [VIDEO]
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Kyle Schwarber making good progress in rehab. "The reports are really good, and he's progressing nicely," general manager Jed Hoyer said on Wednesday.

Devil take the hindmost.

Wooden soldiers.

  • Luke Blaize (Bleacher Nation): Cubs Minor League daily: Internal lefty specialists. Gerardo Concepcion, Rob Zastryzny, Giovanni Soto.
  • MRubio52 (Cubs Den): What to look for with the Cubs' first-round pick. The Cubs will try to parlay their weak draft position into a useful major-league piece.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): A look back at the Cubs 2015 IFA class. Eddie Julio Martinez and the rest of his group.
  • Isaac Bennett (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The unheralded professor defies perception again and again. Kyle Hendricks is clearly the best and most reliable fifth starter in the National League, and would easily be slotted much higher in many teams’ rotations.

Dangling participants.

  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Pedro Strop, Satchel Paige, and being on baseball's bleeding edge. "To borrow a phrase from a friend, Strop is a prime number in a world of multiples."
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Jason Hammel expected to make next start. Joe Maddon said on Tuesday that he had not gotten a negative report from athletic trainer PJ Mainville and expects Hammel to be available.
  • Joe Lucia (the Comeback): Clayton Kershaw advises Jake Arrieta to choose happiness over money. "...he’ll likely get hefty contract offers from plenty of teams, so the dollars and cents may not matter all that much."
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jake Arrieta is full of the ghosts of poets past. He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he doesn't see the ghosts.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Jake Arrieta avoids clunker, Cubs' offense can't say the same in rare loss. "If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that Arrieta gets the chance to begin a new streak when he starts Sunday against the D-backs at Wrigley."
  • Bryan McWilliam (The Score): Dan Haren blasts Marlon Byrd for latest PED ban.

Food for thought:

Cubs go for three at 1:20 PM CT. See you Sunday.