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Cub Tracks Is Here Tuesday

Molina vs. Molina, naked singularities, and other bullets

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Happ-ier days ahead.
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports


Last time in these parts, Cub Tracks appeared en regalia, discussing topics such as Happ-y Mother’s Day, the Butler did it, dark matter annihilation, and other bullets. Today we have Molina vs. Molina, risk vs. reward, and the naked singularity.

“Cool move by the Cubs as this Thursday, May 18 they will commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson playing his first game at Wrigley Field by raising a "42" flag onto the right field foul pole. The game on May 18, 1947 drew the largest paid Wrigley Field crowd, 46, 572, in stadium history. It remains the largest crowd to this day. Jackie's granddaughter, Meta Robinson, will help with the festivities on Thursday. Wrigley Field is the only remaining MLB ballpark in which Robinson played.” — Jesse Rogers, ESPN

In the meantime, as you’ll see, the scribes are edging toward the ledge as the small sample size grows larger and larger. It’s hard to downplay the seeming severity of the situation when the team can’t pitch, hit, or field well at this point of the season. Of course there’s hope, because we’ve all seen what the Cubs can do, but things don’t look very good right now.

Let’s see what’s happening — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs/Baseball history:

  • 1917 - Thanks to a scoring change made after the game by a panel of sportswriters reversing a first-inning hit into an error, Bob Groom of the Browns no-hits the White Sox, 4-0. Ernie Koob, his St. Louis teammate, also threw a no-hitter the previous day against the Pale Hose.
  • 1939 - Four years after evening tilts started to be played in the Senior Circuit, the first night game is played in the American League with Cleveland defeating the hometown A's at Shibe Park, 8-3. The small crowd of 15,109 fans, about half of the expected attendance, is the result of unseasonably cold temperatures in Philadelphia.
  • 1967 - Reliever Phil Regan loses his first game in 77 appearances. The 'Vulture' gets pinned with his first defeat in over a year when Astros' third baseman Bob Aspromonte hits a two-run triple in the tenth to beat the Dodgers, 5-3.
  • 1970 - During a game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, Alan Fish, sitting with friends from the Poinsettia Playground in the second row seats along the first base line, is struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of Manny Mota. The 14-year-old boy will die four days later to become the first fatality as a result of a batted ball in major league history.
  • 1972 - With a Ruthian blast at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium off Burt Hooton, first baseman Greg Luzinski 'rings' the replica of the Liberty Bell hanging in dead center field on the fourth level. The 500-foot clanger, which will be overshadowed by Rick Monday's three routine round-trippers, will account for the Phillies' only run when they lose to the Cubs, 8-1.
  • 1981 - Astros' shortstop Craig Reynolds hits three triples in one game, helping Houston to beat the Cubs, 6-1. The Texas native is only the seventh major league player to accomplish this feat.
  • 1996 - In a 13-1 rout over the Astros, Sammy Sosa becomes the first Cub to hit two home runs in one inning. The slugger accomplishes the feat leading off the seventh with a solo shot off Jeff Tabaka, and then hits a two-run round tripper off Jim Dougherty later in the frame.
  • 2006 - In a game which features the Molina brothers as the respective catchers for their teams, the siblings swipe a base off each other. Jose's theft in the fourth is the key to an Angel four-run inning and Blue Jays backstop Bengie steals second base without drawing a throw from his older brother in the seventh inning of an 8-3 Los Angeles victory in Anaheim.
  • Happy birthday - Billy Martin, Rube Walker, Rick Reuschel, Bob Patterson, and Mitch Webster.

Cubs News:

“The Cubs have released catcher Carlos Corporan, who joined the organization on a minor league deal in January. In his most recent action, Corporan hit a paltry .197/.246/.333 in 196 combined PAs between the Marlins’ and Rays’ Triple-A affiliates last season. The 33-year-old hasn’t cracked the majors since 2015, and has batted .218/.280/.342 in 780 PAs at the game’s highest level.” — Charlie Wilmoth, MLB Trade Rumors.

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon trolls MLB safety rules, proposes cup checks, face masks and banning headfirst slides. "I'm looking forward to it," Maddon said Sunday at Busch Stadium. "I have some other additions to it. I had to think about it some more. I thought of other ways for protectionism,” he said while waiting for headquarters to respond to his criticisms.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs know off-the-field fun has to wait when baseball is your career. “Risk isn’t worth the reward,” Addison Russell pointed out.
  • Dave Sheinin (The Washington Post {$}): Cubs’ rocky start can no longer be shrugged off as a simple World Series hangover. “It isn’t just one thing ailing the Cubs.”
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN Insider {$}): Will the Cubs start playing like champs? “The Cubs' run prevention problems are worse than they superficially appear since their solid team ERA doesn't account for their MLB-high total of unearned runs.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): The Rundown: Cubs are a bad team right now, Jake Arrieta is a bad pitcher right now.
  • Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): Jake Arrieta has not been good. “The good news? His velocity is coming back.”
  • Carrie Muskat ( Homers aside, Arrieta's start draws praise. "If you look at the percentage of strikes to balls and where the location was and repetition of his delivery, he was never in any trouble," Joe Maddon said. "They just hit two homers."
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Eddie Butler is staying in the Cubs’ rotation, his next start was flipped to Friday. Expands on Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune) article. Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) also reported on this.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Eddie Butler credits Arrieta for steering him right. “What Arrieta suggested is that Butler establish his pitches for strikes early in the game and not try to finesse them on the corners.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune {$}): Carl Edwards, Jr, more confident in pressure situations. “Carl has a simple formula for his wicked fastball. "It's a muscle memory thing," the wiry Edwards said.”
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): No pain, no gain: Anthony Rizzo keeps standing in the line of fire. ‘‘He’s a gamer,’’ Ben Zobrist said. ‘‘He’s a guy that’s tough. He’s not going to make any excuses — ever. That’s why he’s the franchise guy here. He’s Anthony Rizzo. He’s a stud.’’
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Ian Happ could force the issue and stick with Cubs. “Come to the park every day, try to help the team win,” Happ said. “That’s all I can do."
  • Nate Greabe (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Young Cubs: Cease your Happ puns. “...let’s check in on who is performing down on the farm.”
  • Carrie Muskat ( Cubs need Kyle Schwarber to get going from leadoff. "I feel I've been putting good swings on balls and just not getting the result I want,” Schwarber said, in part.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): What's happening with Kyle Schwarber and Cubs' leadoff situation? “Schwarber needed help going to the bathroom around this time last year. All struggles are relative.”
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs’ defense has been far cry from what it was last season. “A quarter of the baseball season will have passed in a few days, and the Cubs have an 18-19 record born of mediocrity in all phases.”
  • Joe Ostrowski (Daily Herald {$}): Are the Chicago Cubs hunting for a new ace? “At some point, we're gonna be able to pull off a deal where we trade some position player resources, probably in the form of prospects, for starting pitching to help our big league club either in the present or in the future or hopefully both," said Theo Epstein on the Mully and Handy show.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Report: Cubs already canvassing starting pitching trade market. Expands on Jeff Passan (Yahoo) article. “The list of possibly-available starters includes guys like Yu Darvish, Gerrit Cole, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Jeremy Hellickson, Ervin Santana, Jason Vargas, Sonny Gray, Alex Cobb, Marco Estrada, and Matt Harvey, among many others.” Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) also featured speculation along these lines.
  • Miriam De Nunzio (Chicago Sun-Times*): David Ross admits dancing is more frustrating than baseball. “This is so far outside my comfort zone,” he said.
  • Jacob R Misener (Cubbies Crib): Chicago Cubs fans push David Ross into the Dancing with the Stars finals. “Never underestimate the power of Chicago Cubs fans.”

Food for thought:

  • Emily Conover (Science News): Naked singularity might evade cosmic censor. “...singularities might not be concealed in hypothetical universes with more than three spatial dimensions. “
  • tia Ghose (Live Science): Mysterious light flashes 1st spotted by Carl Sagan explained. “The "pale blue dot" has been twinkling like a brilliant diamond in satellite images, and scientists may have finally solved the mystery of why.”
  • Sam Cholke (DNAinfo): Meet the Robot Roadies for the Museum Of Science And Industry. “It’s almost equal parts engineering and showmanship...”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Thursday, hungry for meat loaf. With any luck, we’ll already have it by then.