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Cub Tracks Battles Dark Magic

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Susannah sings for the Angels, the Crimson Cult come to town, and other bullets.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago Cubs
That didn’t look good
Jon Durr/Getty Images

71-41!

Last time through, we wolfed the meatloaf, fished for Trout, and had visions of Angels, while wearing rose-colored glasses. We considered Anthony Rizzo as Roland, the leader of the Cubs’ Ka-Tet, and David Ross as Roland’s father, Steven Deschain, given the context of a tweet sent to Rizzo by Ross on the former’s birthday.

One member of the ka-tet has disappeared into the wilds of New Jersey, perhaps never to be heard from again, perhaps to acquire rights to a vacant lot. That part of the narrative is stalled until 3 a.m. writes another chapter.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Susannah has sung her song for the fallen Angels, and the very Crimson devils themselves are in town to do battle with our heroes. The Cardinal sinners have had some hard times themselves. Their record is not what they would have it be, and this series may well determine their place in the story of the 2016 National League, Central division.

But, before the battle with the followers of the Crimson King, we have news. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Here’s our pinch-hitter candidate:

  • USA Today: Tommy La Stella refuses to report to minors, may retire. Just a few words about this strangest of subplots. More here.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.co): Hector Rondon resting sore right triceps. Not bad enough to force Rondon onto the DL but bad enough to keep him out of a couple of games, is the report.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune*): Joe Maddon on the Cubs' success, Hector Rondon, and the Cardinals. [VIDEO]
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): John Lackey has been one of the most prolific starters in baseball this year. Lackey leads the team in innings pitched, and most of them have been quality innings.
  • Jason Rowan (Sportress of Blogitude): John Lackey bemoans how baseball is ‘getting really soft’. Lackey is as old-school as it gets. But we knew that.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Living on the edge: It’s what makes Lackey a force for Cubs. "He’s edgy, man," manager Joe Maddon said. "I love it. And I think his swagger rubs off."
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs will closely monitor pitchers’ workloads down the stretch. "Keeping the rotation fresh and ready for October baseball" is the general idea.
  • Tim Huwe (the Zygote 50): Good bullpens and the Cubs’ future. Internal development is key to long-term success.
  • Larry Scott (Today’s Knuckleball): Kris Bryant somehow blowing past sky-high expectations. "Bryant is currently the most valuable player in the National League."
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times): Explaining Addison Russell’s high RBI total. "Even though Russell’s 419 plate appearances are 63 fewer than Bryant’s 482, he has hit with more runners on base."
  • Matt Pettit (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Ben Zobrist: a tale of three seasons. Analyzing Zobrist’s ups and downs.
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN*-Insider {$}): The most over-rated player on all 30 teams. Often a right fielder.
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): A season of obstacles: Jorge Soler in 2016. "Keep that hamstring healthy".
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Miguel Montero reads mean tweets from fans. Includes [VIDEO].
  • Dan McCarthy (ESPN*): Cubs hit the 70-win mark faster than most of their predecessors. Plus other tidbits of note.
  • Cliff Corcoran, Jay Jaffe (SI.com*): How Theo Epstein built the Cubs into the best team in MLB. Corcoran and Jaffe praise Theo and laud the Cubs.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs could try to add another hitter. Some of the fallout from the La Stella drama. Not CarGo, please.
  • Stephen Cohn (isportsweb): Have the Chicago Cubs become boring? I don’t think so.
  • Joseph Nocco (Today’s Knuckleball): Cubs’ minor leaguer Luiz Escanio suspended 144 games for PED use. Second offender, playing in the Dominican Summer League, tested positive for Boldenone.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Cubs reportedly agree to deal with RHP Josh Collmenter. If he can’t help the team by pitching, he can teach them physics. It’s a minor-league deal. The 25-man and 40-man rosters are unaffected.
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Hottest Cub prospects of the second half, part 1 — the pitchers. Rob Zastryzny and his new grip get top billing.
  • Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Brimming with confidence, Albert Almora Jr awaits Wrigley return. "...he’ll be ready to help out in whatever way he can."
  • CSN Chicago*: Former Cub Bob Dernier is a fan of current Cubs. [VIDEO].
  • Connor Pelton (House of Sparky): ASU's 50 best professional athletes No. 15: baseball's Rick Monday. Profile of the former Cub outfielder.
  • Stacy St. Clair (Chicago Tribune*): Winnetka gold medalist Conor Dwyer has plan for Wrigley pitch. "The Cubs have invited Dwyer to toss the first pitch before a game after he returns from Rio — and the U.S. swimmer already has a plan for looking sharp on the mound."
  • CBS Chicago: Chris Bosio has an ARod story, appears on the Mully and Hanley Show. includes [AUDIO].

Food for thought:

  1. Carolyn Gramling (Science): Ancient DNA suggests the first Americans sidestepped the glaciers. Findings keep pushing back the arrival of people on this continent.
  2. Kate Baggaley (Popular Science): Cardinals slow West Nile virus’ spread in Atlanta. So they’re good for something.
  3. Amy Ellis Nutt (The Washington Post): Book lovers live longer.

Cub Tracks will return Sunday for the final chapter of this edition. Thanks for reading. See you then!