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Cub Tracks Nails It Down

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The Cubs and Diamondbacks went after it Hammel and tongues yesterday afternoon. Fowler and Rizzo went deep, the ball hit the bag, and Arizona couldn't lick the Cubs, who went to 24 games over .500.

Getting closer.
Getting closer.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

A Hector Rondon sighting. And it counts! Box score.

* autoplay on. Directions to disable same for Firefox and Chrome, courtesy of MN exile.

In Memoriam.

Shut The Door.

  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Quantifying hope: Cubs kinda look like contenders with 99.8% playoff odds. "We’re already a third of the way into the season though, so it’s not as if this stuff is all smoke and mirrors."
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Some players more clutch than others? Joe Maddon, John Lackey say yes. "There's some people that know how to win," Lackey opined.
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): Hard to blame some Cubs fans for occasional crises of faith. "The optimists are right, of course. What could possibly go wrong?"
  • Neil Weinberg (Fangraphs): The way Kyle Hendricks is exactly like Clayton Kershaw. "No one gets more infield flies with fewer normal fly balls than Kershaw and Hendricks."

Put a Lid on it.

  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): The All-Star fever has made its way to Triple-A Iowa.
    The Cubs have three position players (Wilson Contreras, Albert Almora Jr., and Dan Vogelbach) leading in votes, Arismendy Alcantara is currently in third, and another two players are currently in fifth at their respective positions.
  • Rice Cube (World Series Dreaming): The Cubs' Bert Campaneris. Start a guy at DH, then lose the DH for the rest of the game while that player circles the diamond. Who are the prime candidates?
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): ESPN analyst says players don't run on Jon Lester because they feel sorry for him. "I don’t buy Glanville’s theory for a second." "Neither do I," said Ian Hunter. "Once bitten..."
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): Ritz vs. the pits: Cubs love new clubhouse digs; visiting teams don't dig theirs. "These close quarters build team unity," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said with a wink.

Put out the Fire.

  • Neil (Chicago Cubs Online): Gerardo Concepcion pitching well for Triple-A Iowa. "In seven games out of the I-Cubs’ bullpen, Concepcion has completed 10 2/3 innings while allowing two runs on seven hits with five walks and 11 strikeouts (1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)."
  • Robert Murray (Baseball Essential): Report: Cubs looking for 'lockdown left-handed setup man'. In other words, Andrew Miller.
  • Evan Massey (Inquisitr): MLB Rumors: Chicago Cubs could acquire Aroldis Chapman from Yankees. Hmm. That'd be an expensive rental. I'd rather have Miller.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs 2016 draft strategy might have options within options. There are a lot of things that could happen before the Cubs pick.Some of them are in this article.

Game Over.

  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): John Lackey's latest gem, and the silly Cubs pitching staff. Lots of people say ERA doesn't count any more. To them, I say 2.33. Nearly a run better than the next best team in baseball. And also: their 3.07 FIP is the best in baseball, and their 3.48 xFIP is third best. So there.
  • Richard Kagan (Cubbies Crib): Ryne Sandberg is new Cubs ambassador. "He is back in the Cubs’ family, where he belongs..."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Rondon't: Cubs don't need no stinkin' closer. "The Cubs have discovered a new market inefficiency in hanging crooked numbers late in games to avoid giving their lights-out 9th inning guy a save opportunity."

Miscellaneous.

  • Cody Stavenhagen (MLB.com): Cubs receive outfits for upcoming theme trip. Golden State has nothing on these. The theme's official title is "The Jon Lester Tribute to the NBA Finals Road Trip."
  • Brian Hedger (MLB.com): Middle-field versatility gives Joe Maddon options. "It's unusual, in general, to be able to alter your middle infielders as much as we do and feel good about it," Maddon said. I assume he means "reposition". Otherwise, that would be awkward.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Oral history: The time David Ross hit his first career homer off of Mark Grace. It was Sept. 2, 2002.The grass was green, the skies were blue. I was in the ballpark. Where were you?
  • Jerry Crasnick (ESPN*): Jason Heyward endures with defensive expertise. "...Heyward learned that valuable lesson a long time ago on the youth fields of Atlanta: Offense comes and goes, but defense never rests."
  • Neil (Chicago Cubs Online): Checking in on Matt Murton. "Murton has put up good numbers since coming off the disabled list. And Friday he started the three-run rally in the eighth inning that led to Iowa’s comeback win and the team’s seventh victory in a row."
  • Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville-Baseball Essential): Jorge Soler might have worked something out. He's letting the 'Soriano pitches' go more often.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Hi, my name is Ednel Javier Baez and I'm just awesome at baseball. Gets better as he goes along and you see more of his play.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Anthony Rizzo's foundation raised an insane amount of money for a good cause. "As much as I love what these guys are doing on the field, it’s events like these that makes me appreciate them even more."
  • David Matthews (DNAinfo): Chicago Cubs break record...for largest flip cup game. Led by team captains Jason Hammel and David Ross, the event raised $40,000 for charity.

Food for thought: