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Cub Tracks Is Off Every Day

Mr. Cub goes deep, Maddon sees the long haul, there is only Zuul, and other bullets

Out on the road
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs lose. Off-day today.

Eddie Butler will make his Cubs debut on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals in place of injured starter Brett Anderson. Butler has an ERA just over 1.00 at Triple A Iowa after being acquired from Colorado in the offseason. The Cubs won't make a corresponding move until then. Jon Lester will pitch on Saturday.” — Jesse Rogers, ESPN

Tuesday, Cub Tracks Went ‘Batty’ — Roy Batty, that is, using the android’s dying speech in Blade Runner to illustrate the heartbreak of longtime Cub fans, and salting the lede with various Philip K. Dick references.

Today we anticipate a series against the hated Cardinals, hoping to track the tears of the “BFIB” as the Cubs revenge their late struggles against the rest of the Major Leagues like the champions that they are.

Lots of discussion topics from the boards have made their way into the zeitgeist, it seems. We’ll have to put out more traps. Those things can turn into memes and site memes can be hazardous to your mental health.

I’m kinda looking forward to Eddie Butler’s debut in blue. It would be great if he did a good job. Let’s hope so.

Here’s a collection of punditry and imponderables culled from the interwebs. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs/Baseball history:

  • 1904 - After 23 innings of pitching no-hit baseball, Cy Young's streak ends. The stretch includes six innings today, two innings April 25, six on April 30, and the perfect game against the A's on May 5.
  • 1919 - Hod Eller throws a no-hitter, defeating St. Louis, 6-0. The Reds' right-hander, who is the ace of the eventual world champs, strikes out eight Cardinals on a cold day at Cincinnati's Redland Field.
  • 1932 - Eighth-grader Joe Schultz, Jr. singles, swipes two bases and scores as a pinch-hitter in a Texas League game. The fourteen year-old is the son of the manager and will become a second-string catcher in the major leagues.
  • 1955 - With the help of an Ernie Banks grand slam, Chicago snaps Brooklyn's 11-game winning streak, 10-8. The bases-filled homer will be Mr. Cub's first of five on the year.
  • 1991 - After a heckler calls him ‘Joey’, a name he dislikes, and makes references to his problems with alcohol, Albert Belle responds by picking up a foul ball and nailing the offensive offender in the chest from 15 feet away. Although the fans clearly supported his action, the Indians’ outfielder is fined and suspended for one week.
  • 1998 - Striking out 13 Diamondbacks, Cubs' Kerry Wood sets a major league record for strikeouts in consecutive games with 33 in two games. The previous record for strikeouts (32) in two starts was held by Luis Tiant (1968 - Indians), Nolan Ryan (1974 - Angels), Dwight Gooden (1984 - Mets), and Randy Johnson (1997 - Mariners).
  • 2000 - Beating the Cubs, 14-8, it takes the Brewers four hours and twenty-two minutes to play a regulation nine-inning game. The time breaks the National League record and ties the mark set by the Orioles and Yankees on September 5, 1997 for the longest non-extra inning game ever played.
  • Happy birthday to Jerry Martin and Milt Pappas.

Cubs News:

  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): After a slight delay... Cubs to give Andre Dawson alumni ring. “The concept of “We Are Family” should not have been limited to the 1979 Pirates.”
  • Pat Jordan (Men’s Journal): Can Joe Maddon win another World Series? “Maddon sees the long haul, like a novelist plotting out his novel over 400 pages and three years of work. Then he patiently taps out each word.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Joe Maddon cites fatigue as factor in Cubs' slow start. "I sense sleep deprivation more than anything," Maddon said. “Right from the beginning of the year our schedule has been awkward. No one has had a chance to settle in."
  • Jeff Sullivan (ESPN Insider {$}): Ranking every MLB lineup: Who has passed the Cubs? Houston, says Sullivan.
  • Chris Bahr (Fox Sports): 7 MLB trades that should happen immediately. Chris Archer? Been much-speculated-upon. Bahr doesn’t offer much ammunition.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Meet me in St. Louis? Cubs mull Eddie Butler for weekend start. “Because Monday’s rainout at Coors Field pushed Jake Arrieta’s scheduled start into Tuesday, the Cubs can’t kick their four-man rotation can into next week.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): What’s going on with Jake Arrieta? "When he threw a strike, he paid for it," Miguel Montero said.
  • Emma Baccillieri (Baseball Prospectus): What you need to know -- Arrieta loses control. A new normal?
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Struggling Jake Arrieta ‘not worried about the contract year’. “I’m worried about being healthy and taking the ball every fifth day. If I’m able to do that, the results, in the long run, are going to play in my favor. I know that for sure,” he said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Miguel Montero says Cubs need to wake up. "The reality is, we can't take anything for granted, and right now, I feel like we do," Montero said.
  • Evan Davis (FanRag Sports): Should Miguel Montero supplant Willson Contreras as Cubs starter? “...the torch has been passed. A new era has begun.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Ben Zobrist breaks down the 2017 Cubs so far. “We’ve started this year a little bit – obviously – more tired than we were last year and these other teams are all geared up to play us. And it’s just taken us longer to kind of get it going and really answer the bell, so to speak.”
  • Owen Perkins ( Cubs comfortable with Jeimer Candelario at cleanup. "He was playing that well in Triple-A," manager Joe Maddon said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Disparity in Kris Bryant’s Taken Strikes vs. Looking K’s suggests further improvement. “...the most impressive aspect of Bryant’s game is his ability to improve.”
  • Thomas Harding ( Jon Gray a Cub? Kris Bryant on Rox? It was possible. The 2013 draft could have gone differently.
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Searching for the rock in “Ad-Rock”. “...perhaps it is time to see Russell for what he is, and not what we’ve been told he is automatic to become.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Joe Maddon standing firm on Kyle Schwarber as Cubs leadoff man. “As of right now I’m not ready to just give up on anything like that,” Maddon said.
  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Yosh Kawano and Japanese-American Baseball. “He became an icon. I don’t know how many clubbies can say that.” — Ryne Sandberg on Kawano.
  • Ed Sherman (Chicago Tribune {$}): Ex-Cub Adam Greenberg puts positive spin on one of baseball's cruelest tales. "You know when people say life throws you a curveball?" he said. "Well, life threw me a fastball to the head."
  • Zach Bernard (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): With Cubs, DJ LeMahieu showed All-Star potential. I don’t remember it that way. He was a decent player in Double-A that wasn’t ready for prime time. Bernard provides some basis for speculation.
  • Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Dylan Cease should probably be your next favorite Cubs prospect to obsess over. I dunno. He’s a long, long way from the Majors, and I’m not done obsessing about Ian Happ. But Cease looks better these days.
  • Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago*): Hey Cubs, why not pick up the phone regarding Matt Harvey? Bosmosis candidate? I dunno.
  • Danny Ecker (Crain’s Chicago Business): Judge tosses out lawsuit over Cubs' season ticket purge. “The Chicago Cubs had the right to block a ticket broker from renewing his season tickets this year, a Cook County judge ruled today.”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday with more Cubs news and notes, and perhaps some sober reflections.