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Cub Tracks Goes Out On A Limb

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Branching out; barking up the wrong tree; twigging out -- talk about unsustainable options!

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put a fork in this series.
put a fork in this series.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As viewed through a knothole by a knucklehead.

It's not time to get out on the ledge, not even close. Conceptual continuity department: When we concluded our previous episode, we had lost a single game of this series. Since then, we've made a few more moves (see Cubs Shake Up Bullpen), and had a collective hiccup (see Cubs complete homestand against the Cardinals). Cubs continue to lead All-Star voting.

I hate rooting to score at least a run. Especially against the Cardinals. It makes me itch something fierce. But I love the idea of battle-testing these kids. And they're not the problem anyway. 47-23 isn't so bad.

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  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Cubs road trip theme to Miami: short shorts. As reported by Len and J.D. during the seventh inning, the theme also includes painted toenails (if one chooses sandals) and tank tops. Nair is optional. "White loafers. Red short shorts from Amazon Prime. My wife still has to buy my white tank top today," said Chris Coghlan.

Vote early and often.

  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Led by Anthony Rizzo, five Cubs in line to start All-Star Game. This doesn't happen very often, and there are questions about a few incidences of the occurrence.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Cubs still dominating All-Star voting, which will make some folks chippy. "Javier Baez for starting super utility player." Agreed. Backlash pffft.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): All 4 Cubs infielders on pace to start All-Star Game. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, and Anthony Rizzo are threatening to become just the second such group in baseball history.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Four Cubs top 2M votes but All-Star dominance flags…a little.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Addison Russell looking forward to All-Star spotlight. Unexpected pleasures should be treasured.
  • ESPN*: Joe talks about it. [VIDEO]
"You would have to believe the ratings will be up in Chicago on that particular night," Joe Maddon said. "I know I'll be watching." -- from Jesse Rogers.

Shoots and ladders.

  • Carrie Muskat: (MLB.com): Miguel Montero acting as mentor for Willson Contreras. "...it's difficult for Montero to accept a part-time role." That's understandable. It may be easier now, depending on what the status of his knee is. He isn't exactly tearing it up, though.
  • (CSN Chicago*): Jason Hammel: Willson Contreras 'still learning' pitching staff. [VIDEO]
  • Bob Glover (Minor League Ball): Cubs prospects notes Eloy Jimenez, Donnie Dewees, Preston Morrison. Glover reports on their progress from South Bend, home of the Cubs Double-A affiliate.
  • And here's more from Minor League Ball: John Sickels on Gerardo Concepcion.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs created the ideal environment for young talent. "It really makes those times where we’re struggling turn quicker, just because you’re playing the game for the right reasons and not putting any more pressure on yourself," said Kris Bryant.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Cubs prospect channels his inner Babe Ruth during last night's All-Star Game. Eloy Jimenez reportedly called his shot.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): The new Cubs bullpen: Gerardo Concepcion’s debut, Spencer Patton’s numbers, Carl Edwards Jr’s stuff, more...here's your bullpen-for-now: Concepcion, Patton, Edwards, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon. " The Cubs also have a few projects who could impact the second half.
  • ESPN*: Jed Hoyer talks to David Kaplan and Jesse Rogers. [AUDIO]
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): First-place Cubs begin summer revamp of bullpen. "...it's obvious to any casual observers, including the front office, that they are struggling."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): So the Cubs made a move for a Cuban LHRP after all. Gerardo Concepcion has a chance to stick.
  • Sayre Bedinger (Cubbies Crib): More prospect intrigue with Concepcion call-up. "It might not be the type of call-up headline that Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber attract, but it might shore up one of the only ‘weak’ spots on this Cubs team."

Shaking the tree.

  • Carlos Portocarrero (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs' luck this season: It's complicated. Explained according to a homegrown metric.
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The bullpen: Not the Achilles' heel you're looking for. A case for the bullpen's viability as previously constituted.
  • Dan Schmelzer (Fansided): Five relief pitcher targets for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs could use another impact arm or two.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Cubs take the long view with starting pitching. "Just because they're in first place by a lot doesn't mean the Chicago Cubs can't and won't adjust on the fly."
  • Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): Theo Epstein pranked Kevin Millar, told him 'you stink' on defense. "It wasn't the only time Epstein humbled him."
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): With a veteran-heavy Cubs’ team, was all that losing necessary? Morrissey weighs in -- "..the real story of the season has actually been the opposite: The Cubs have built the best record in baseball with lots of veterans who were either signed through free agency or acquired through trades. Or to put it another way, what Plan?"
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs make moves now to avoid becoming last year's Cardinals. "You don’t get any points for where you are at the various quarter poles of this race," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "All that matters is where you are at the end."

A walk in the park.

Food for thought:

  • Cari Romm (New York magazine): Why your hangovers keep getting worse with age. One word: immunosenescence.
  • David Andrietta (Elmira Star-Gazette): Dangerous giant hogweed could blind you with science. So Thomas Dolby and Peter Gabriel were both right. Don't be a sap. Don't touch it.
  • David Grossman: (Popular Mechanics): Science for space farming is also used to grow weed. Mike Dixon of the Canadian University of Guelph has figured out a surefire way to get funding for his research: make it applicable to growing marijuana.