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Cub Tracks Sweeps It Off

Offerings to the gods of baseball, postseason exasperation, brooms, and other bullets

Dexterously done.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Previously on Cub Tracks, we unilaterally applied our own rules, saw Red, and attempted to convey information about restoring Jake Arrieta to his previous state of greatness.

We contemplated the postseason roster briefly (Al had a longer take in a fine article about that), and viewed the whole thing through a handy set of rose-colored beer goggles.

So, the Reds. Man. I remember the Cubs being like that. But somehow I don’t feel sorry for them. In fact, I want the Pirates to go back to being bad again, too. And like relive the seventies, man, except without disco. The Cardinals are seemingly never ever really bad, which is why I hate them especially. So I don’t include them in that scenario. The Brewers are usually bad, so I don’t include them either. I’d prefer the Astros to the Diamondbacks, too, if the truth be known. I know I live in Arizona, but I’m not a D-Backs fan. I was for about ten seconds in 2001, and that was it.

But back to the red menace — I’m of several minds about this series. I want the Cardinals to lose, always. But I want the Mets and the Giants to lose, always, too. So I dunno. I beseech the gods of baseball to be kind. I make them daily offerings of peanuts and crackerjack to keep them coming back and to be gentle in their ministrations. Let Theo be diabolical. He’s good at it.

I don’t know who I want the Cubs to play. I just want them to play until it’s over. It would be nice if they could win, too, if that please the gods of baseball and their immediate family. If they could treat the postseason the way they just treated the Reds, so much the better.

Certainly we’re all in agreement about the last two sentences. The real important laundry is our own. Here’s a thing or two, items of infotainment to amuse yourselves with while we wait for the playoff threads to unreel. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

"We hope there's a three-way tie, a 20-inning game to decide who plays on Tuesday, and that the Tuesday game goes about 30 innings," Epstein said Monday. "And then rain delays make it a Thursday game, and then it goes 30 innings." — Theo Epstein

  • Ed Komenda (DNAinfo): White Sox congratulate Cubs for clinching division with billboard message. The Cubs did similarly in 2005.
  • George Castle (Cook Country Chronicle): Cubs to celebrate division title, fans hope hope for big things this postseason. “...the baton is passed to the 2016 Cubs...”
  • Jessica Kleinschmidt (Today’s Knuckleball): Cubs fans react to team’s success, high expectations for October. “...the energy around the stadium is palpable these days.” (italics mine)
  • Andrew Simon ( Cubs to open 2016 postseason run at Wrigley. Just in case you forgot about this.
  • Thomas Boswell (The Washington Post): Nationals and Cubs have issues heading into playoffs, but things can change in a hurry. “Right now, the Nats and their fans are wrapped in psychological ice packs.”
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN - Insider {$}): Breathe a sigh of relief? Grading each contender's bullpen. Only the Blue Jays’ relievers throw fewer pitches.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Buster Olney talks to Jesse Rogers about the Cubs' strategy down the stretch, the construction of their postseason rotation and more. [AUDIO].
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): There’s a three-way tie in the National League, and Theo Epstein is probably happy. “Tiring out the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, or Carlos Martinez as much as possible before a five-game series can be hugely important.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago): Theo Epstein rooting for wild-card chaos as Cubs gear up for possible playoff opponents. Hey, who isn’t?
  • Chris Barr (Fox Sports): Cubs president Theo Epstein has a diabolical wish for the NL Wild Card Game. Nyuh-ha-ha, he says evilly, twirling his moustaches.
  • Wright Thompson (ESPN the Magazine): The dark habits of the Cubs’ mastermind. “...people who've worked for Theo say his barbs always come with a little sharp, truthful edge.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs tweak rotation in preparation for playoffs. Speak to me more of this “Playoff” thing. “We could potentially look at different people in different roles,” Joe Maddon said. Like-a manager’s day off?
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): Worst-case scenario: If Cubs faced archrival Cardinals in NLDS. “The Cubs are much better than the Cards. They’d be much better off playing someone else.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): As other contenders’ pitchers go down, Cub rotation stays strong. “I just think that industry-wide going into next year you’re going to see a lot of second halves that include sixth guys in the rotation,” Maddon predicted.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Jon Lester enjoying Wrigley as Cubs beat Reds 6-1. “Wrigley Field has been very, very good to Chicago Cubs starting pitchers.”
  • Ryan Davis (Today’s Knuckleball): Kyle Hendricks, Robbie Ray, and the importance of team defense. Part of why ‘pitcher wins and ERA are imperfect measuring sticks’.
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jake Arrieta, number three starter? “...reframing of a different kind.”
  • Phil Rogers ( John Lackey's slider a powerful tool. “As hard as this might be to believe, the Cubs have a secret weapon on their side as they head toward the postseason.” I love that kinda talk. Tell me more.
  • Brian Hedger ( Jason Hammel not auditioning for postseason roster. Joe Maddon doesn’t want him to think that way. But really, he is.
  • Brian Hedger ( Pedro Strop set to rejoin Cubs' bullpen Friday. There’s news and then there’s good news. This is good news.
  • Larry Scott (Today’s Knuckleball): Miguel Montero and Joe Smith playing their way onto Cubs’ playoff roster. Montero, Chris Coghlan, Smith, Rob Zastryzny, Felix Pena, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood are all fighting for two spots.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): With October in mind, Joe Maddon sends message to Cubs hitters. “...he has another uniform on, we’re trying to beat him. That’s what it should really come down to.”
  • ESPN*: Anthony Rizzo joins David Kaplan. He discusses the final stretch of the season and winning the division. [AUDIO].
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Kyle Schwarber’s rehab continues to show positive signs, Winter Ball possible. And then there’s really good news.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Dexter Fowler, Ben Zobrist key to Cubs’ October run production. “Joe Maddon said regardless of information he receives from the metrics department, he will stick with his one-through-four lineup of Fowler, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Zobrist moving forward.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): 21 Day Fix: Jason Heyward bearing fruit of new habit. “If Heyward’s got a new habit going, it’s one I’d like to see him stick with for a while.”
  • Tim Huwe (the Zygote 50): The Cubs should claim Bryan Morris. A case for acquiring the pitcher.
  • Tony Blengino (ESPN - Insider {$}): Who's the next Gary Sanchez or Michael Fulmer? Impact rookies for 2017, '18 and '19. That last year has a current Cubs prospect and a former Cubs prospect included in the projection.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Albert Almora Jr. explains the youth movement driving Cubs. “There’s the veteran guys,” Almora said, raising his right hand up to his head before lowering it toward his hip. “And then there’s the young guys.”
  • CSN Chicago*: Cubs pitching prospect John Williamson juggling music, baseball career. Budding rapper Swilson toils in the minors.
  • Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): Bill Murray launches Cubs-themed golf apparel on his birthday. The pinstriped polo and baseball caps will retail for $75 and $32, respectively.
  • Phil Vetter (Chicago Tribune): Dexter Fowler will help UberEATS deliver free pizza on Thursday. He’s not doing it all himself, but each slice will come with some free swag.

Food for thought:

  • Virgina Morrell (Science): Horses can use symbols to talk to us. Horses understand the consequences of their choices.
  • Sarah Kaplan (The Washington Post): Watch scientists levitate objects and draw on water with ‘acoustic holograms’. “The technique is way more than a neat party trick.”
  • Taylor Kuboda (Live Science): The science of boredom. “...human experience has consequences for how we interact with each our and our environment.

I feel like Carly Simon singing over ketchup. Let’s get this thing started already.

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday.