Previously, we did the wash and continued our pursuit of history, hardware, and other bullets. In this episode, Cub Tracks is unable to continue cleaning due to lack of sweep and instead scours the interwebs for relevant material.
The Brewers. Man... I don’t really hate them, because they’ve been so hapless. Ryan Braun is despicable, of course, and they deserve the Matt Garza they got, because division rivalry, but they’re so past-life Cublike that I have a sneaking sympathy for them. Except for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who I still see as a Met, which makes it easy to hate on him, and Braun.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t totally enjoy seeing them lose to the men in Cubbie Blue, like on Monday. And they need to do more of that today. I’d also like moar of those late-inning runs. Please.
Here are a few items for your infotainment needs. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
"There's the altruistic component -- Cubs win the World Series -- and there's the individual component -- 'I want this,'" Joe Maddon said. "I want to believe our guys are more into the altruism of the moment as opposed to the individual element."
— Carrie Muskat
- ESPN*: 2016 Week 22 MLB Power Rankings. Rangers move up to #2.
- Larry Scott (Today’s Knuckleball): 2016 is Cubs’ best chance at World Series. Don’t buy the reasoning. Synergy, really?
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Maddon enjoys postseason intensity of matchup with Giants. Good series. I particularly liked the way three of the games turned out.
- Joel Sherman (New York Post): How Joe Maddon’s Cubs experiment is changing baseball. Monkey see.
- Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Road ahead: Cubs closing in on locking up division. Looking at the six-man rotation and the current road trip.
- Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune*): Cubs' huge lead approaching historic level. Cubs can keep staff fresh without undue competitive stresses.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs will continue with six-man rotation. For that oh, so fresh feeling. "It's no more complicated than that,” said Joe Maddon.
- Jason Evans (FanSided): Right call going with six-man rotation. Preparing for the playoffs.
- Rice Cube (Cubbies Crib): Cubs go to eleven. Stole my column title but ok. Cubs can do whatever they need to do to prepare.
- Dave Otto (Daily Herald): Time for Chicago Cubs to line up their pitching. “...a luxury Maddon didn't have last year.”
- Bob Warja (312 sports): Ranking the Cubs in contention for individual awards. Mostly in agreement. See what you think.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Vote for the Cubs’ top defensive play of the year. I voted Addison Russell.
- Jay Cohen (AP/via ABC News): Flattered by MVP talk, Kris Bryant focused on his game. “I don't want to be average or mediocre. I want to continue to strive to be the best I can be and nothing is ever going to be good enough for me,” Bryant said.
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Cubs like that Javier Baez is always ‘on’. Joe Maddon will never coach the aggressiveness out of a player like Baez, he says.
- ESPN*: Watch Jason Heyward discuss his big day. [VIDEO].
- ESPN: Kyle Hendricks continues Cy Young push. Hendricks leads all of baseball with a 2.09 ERA.
- Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): Being anomaly in changing game hasn't affected Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks. “Hendricks may be the unlikeliest Cy Young Award candidate in decades.”
- Jordan Bernfield (Daily Herald): Hendricks might be NL's best pitcher. He has been the Cubs’ most consistent starter.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs anticipating bolstered 'pen down stretch. Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop are both due back shortly.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Joe Nathan feels better about release from Cubs after Giants pick him up. “It’s full circle coming back here (San Francisco). Finishing the year with a team was the biggest thing for me, but hooking up with a contender is even better,” he said.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Nihilism be damned, I’m gonna have fun with the end of the season. Yes. I will join you. Because this is the most-fun season EVER.
- Rob Huff (The Athletic [$]): Five biggest Cubs surprises so far in 2016 season. “...baseball can be both beautiful and unpredictable.”
- Jeff Linder (The Gazette): Larry Niemeyer makes his pitch Saturday at Wrigley. Former Cedar Rapids Jefferson coach Larry Niemeyer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He won 2,089 games in softball, 871 in basketball.
- Ronald Blum (AP via Chicago Sun-Times*): Far from glamorous majors, minor-leaguers pinch pennies. “While signing bonuses for players in this year’s draft ranged as high as $6.2 million, 276 of 919 drafted players, or more than a quarter, agreed to $10,000 or less.”
Food for thought.
- Bruce Bower (Science News): Cognitive scientist puts profanity in its place. That’s right. Game threads. What the F.
- David Dickinson (Sky and Telescope): Juno makes first pass at Jupiter. All instruments were on. Science!
- Josh Hrala (Science Alert): Scientists have found a sixth taste - and it explains our love of carbs. Yes. I’ll have the chips, and a sammich.
See you Thursday for more of the shenanigans.