Welcome to the "walk the plank right outta town" edition of Cub Tracks. In our last edition, we broke the meatloaf metaphor down to loose meat, anointed a grandiose arch-villain, and discussed the state of the Cubs. Now we'll be lucky to get pierogi. The first game with the Pirates was decent up to a point. The second game was as full of fireworks as Edward Teach's beard. So what do we do now? Swab the deck? Our deuce of Aces gave up crooked numbers. We're relieved when the bullpen doesn't make an appearance. Our bats look like they came from Davy Jones' locker. We can't catch a break -- In short, we're all wet. Let's try to kick some Pirate booty today and head for safe harbor.
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- Jason Rowan (Sportress of Blogitude): Theo Epstein calls Cubs’ struggles of late ‘sort of baseball reality’. Epstein remains confident in his team.
- Evan Massey (Inquisitr): David Ross: 'We'll get better from this'. Every season has roller-coaster stretches.
- Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Even while losing, only one thing matters. Making it to the post-season.
- Tom Loxas (Cubs Den): Lots of reasons and few answers for Cubs' struggles. Every season has roller-coaster stretches.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs season explained in two vines (and some words). Friday's game captured the highs and lows of the season.
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Cubs president doesn't totally blame bullpen for slump. "I think we'll add. I think there's a good chance we'll make a deal that will help us in the pen, as well," he said.
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Could the Cubs land a starting pitcher at the trade deadline? "We’d love to have more starting depth," Theo Epstein said.
- Brendan Kuty (NJ.com): Yankees-Cubs Kyle Schwarber trade rumor hits low point. "I love this organization," Schwarber said Wednesday, accordion to ESPN.
- Jon Heyman (Today's Knuckleball): Andrew Miller tops Cubs’ wish list; no interest in Arodys Vizcaino. Kyle Schwarber isn't going anywhere; no sources cited.
- Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times): Is Joe Maddon's schtick getting old? Telander's is.
- Jim Litke (AP): No regular Joe: The real reason behind his Maddon-ness. "Do simple better."
- Matt Kupferle (numberfire.com): What's up with Jake Arrieta? Kupferle posits regression as the culprit.
- (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon: Jake Arrieta's command is the issue right now.[VIDEO]
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Cubs think Willson Contreras and Jon Lester can work together. Contreras is a quick study and has already demonstrated that he belongs.
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Willson Contreras: Answer to David Ross' retirement for Jon Lester, Cubs? A definite maybe. Work still to be done, as we saw.
- Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Jason Hammel is starting to become Carlos Zambrano. Totally bananas on the surface, but it makes sense.
- Nate Dusek (Sports Mockery): Deserving Cubs pitcher gets fat All-Star Game shaft from portly Chicago enemy. Dusek asserts that the ASG should have a Colectomy and that Kyle Hendricks should be there.
- Bill Savage (ESPN): The view from section 416: An oasis in Wrigleyville. "An old baseball bar is an old baseball bar."
- Sarah Goldstein (ESPN): Cubs fan Danica Patrick knows miraculous things can happen. "You've got to believe in great things," she says.
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs sign top pick Thomas Hatch out of Oklahoma State. The right-hander helped his team reach the College World Series after a year lost to injury and collected a $573,900 bonus from the Cubs.
Food for thought:
- Sean Kane (Tech Insider): Here's the science behind why you should never eat on the go. Don't eat distracted.
- Jeff Spross (The Week): This innovation could change space travel forever. Ion propulsion may be the "Dawn" of a new age.
- Connie Loizos (Tech Crunch): Where today's tech can, and can't, replace humans. We're not obsolete -- yet.
We're still in first. See you Tuesday.