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Cub Tracks Clears Another Hurdle

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Tommy’s back, Kyle’s arm, Addison’s glove, Javy’s secret, and other bullets

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs
Russell fever: Catch it!
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In our previous installment, we were spoon-fed our lines, celebrated a win in the first game of the Cubs/Pirates series, learned how to never spill our coffee, and found out that it’s good to be Bryzzo. For a good time, call 773-404-2827. Don’t ask for Jenny. Bring money.

This time around, we’re “celebrating” the return of Tommy La Stella, who apparently doesn’t like baseball, or the business of baseball. [VIDEO]*

We’re also celebrating another Cubs victory, and a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bring on the Giants! Here are a few things to peruse while we wait for the games to begin. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Matt Szczur on the return of Tommy La Stella: "It's like he never left." — Jesse Rogers

  • Fox Sports: La Stella returns to Cubs, addresses team about absence. Asked if he missed the game while he was away, La Stella responded ''I missed the guys.''
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): The mysterious story of Tommy La Stella, complete with no answers. He had his reasons.
  • Chris Bahr (Fox Sports): Jake Arrieta explains why he almost quit baseball before joining the Cubs. “Arrieta’s career was floundering as he bounced between the Orioles and their minor-league affiliates.”
  • Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): Jake Arrieta has developed a problem. His slider has deserted and left him with a platoon split.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Is Jake Arrieta still the Cubs’ Game One starter? The MLB Network morning people were talking about that too. I think they were wrong. So does Altman. Here’s why.
  • Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): Kyle Hendricks as Jake Arrieta’s opposite. He’s hard to hit from either side.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cy low? Hendricks' ERA down to 2.09. “...location specialist producing award-worthy season.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Kyle Hendricks transformed into a Cy Young contender. “I had my sights set a little lower,” Hendricks admitted. “I’m just taking it in stride.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): From high school underdog to surprising ERA leader -- the rise of Kyle Hendricks. “..his tendency to outthink hitters and his mid-80s radar gun readings keep inspiring comparisons to Cubs great Greg Maddux.”
  • Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): Can Kyle Hendricks’ success be replicated? John Tudor is a better comp than Maddux.
  • Matt Pettit (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jon Lester and the evolution of DIPS. “...expect more BABIP anomalies for the Cubs in the future.”
  • Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Rob Zastryzny, already defying expectations, looking for more. Hitters have trouble with the curve.
  • Stephanie Lynn (Cubs Den): Dedication, positive attitude help Zastryzny achieve dream. "I always imagined throwing at Wrigley Field,” he said.
  • Shelbie Lynn Bostedt (Chicago Tribune): Good guy Anthony Rizzo at it again with heartwarming letter to boy with leukemia. Rizzo also donated to the cause via a GoFundMe page.
  • ESPN*: Anthony Rizzo joins Kaplan and Jurko. [AUDIO]
  • Doug Glanville (ESPN): Will Kris Bryant be the first true utility player to win MVP? “Bryant is an everyday All-Star starter and a versatile bench player all wrapped up into one.”
  • Todd Sabin (isportsweb): Will Kris Bryant hit 50 HR’s? Probably not this year. Not enough games left.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): An obligatory post on Javy Baez being awesome…and amibdextrous. Yeah. He’s a lefty.
  • Maya Miller (Chicago Tribune): Dexter Fowler provides back-to-school push. He paid off “the back-to-school-supply layaway accounts of 43 area families.” Fowler’s going to college after he’s done playing.
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN): Don't call Heyward a bust: No reason to think Cubs blew it with big-money signing. "I believe he has one motive, and that's to win every day," Maddon said.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Jason Heyward heeds advice to cut pregame work. "I think his presence counts," Maddon said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs opponents should save everyone some time and just stop putting the ball in play. The gods of BABIP giveth, and the Cubs taketh away.
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN): Grading the MLB playoff races from the wild-card frenzy to an NL Central snoozer. “...much of the excitement comes from the wild-card races..”
  • Dan Symborski (ESPN-Insider {$}): Updated MLB playoff probabilities: Who's favored in wild-card races? ZIPS projections and more.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Jeff Samardzija relishes chance to challenge Cubs in playoff atmosphere. "You just don't want to waste those opportunities because they're special moments," he said.
  • Tim Brown (Yahoo Sports): With NL Central in hand, Cubs preparing for October. “...the big games are coming.”
  • Larry Scott (Today’s Knuckleball): Cubs can use September as an October showcase. “...the Cubs will use this last month to become as dangerous as they possibly can come playoff time.”
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Albert Almora and Jeimer Candelario are locks to be promoted – who else has a shot? “8-10 position players and relievers.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Do wild dangers lurk for Cubs in NL playoff field? “It’s not going to be easy, and no one in here thinks that,” said Arrieta.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Joe Maddon not worried about worn Wrigley grass. The old sod.
  • Tim Stebbins (Cubbies Crib): Why Joe Maddon won’t win Manager of the Year. Stebbins champions Dusty Baker.
  • Gemma Kaneko (Cut Four): 1908 Cubs zombies appear at Wrigley Field. “What was it like the last time the Cubs won the World Series? ...just ask someone who was there.”
  • Nick Veronisi (isportsweb): What would a Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs World Series be like? Rangers fan perspective.
  • Greg Olson (Jacksonville Journal Courier): Cub fans unite. “Chicago Cub fans are uniting around the globe...”
  • Paul Zeise (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette): The Pirates could be looking up at the Cubs for years. “...the Cubs are without question the best team in baseball and likely will be for quite some time.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): The Cubs were one of just two teams to skip Tim Tebow’s showcase. I don’t know why anyone went.
  • Joan Oliver (Northwest Herald): Former Cubs fan finds way back to baseball. “My inner Ernie Banks never stopped hoping.”
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Vin Scully under glass. A look at the announcer’s storied career. Saved for last, because.

Food for thought.

  • Virgina Morrell (Science): Your dog understands more than you think. [VIDEO] “...dogs’ brains respond to actual words, not just the tone in which they’re said.”
  • Sam Thielman (The Guardian): Noise, not aliens: Russian-detected signal likely 'terrestrial interference'. Giorgio Tsoukalos is disappoint.
  • Jordan Dunbar (BBC News): How science can help you sort out your socks. A radix algorithm might help.

Thanks for reading. See you bright and early Sunday morning.