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Dodger dog days, the destiny of the Cubs, shoddy slumber, and other bullets

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
The inside dirt.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs lose. Two goose eggs in a row. Sadface.

“A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” ― Jim Bouton

There was some cosmic interference with the last episode; we have called the techs to take it back to the shop. It was supposed to commemorate Towel Day, but there had been two previous incidents of 42ism and those sequences didn’t need to be rerun. Once run through the infinite probability generator, things will be as good as new. We’ll also try to arrange that Towel Day and Jackie Robinson day take place simultaneously. That only makes sense, here in the Cub Tracks continuum.

Ian Happ plays a pretty decent second base. It looks like the league is starting to make an adjustment to his bat — let’s see how he responds.

So what then is LA meat loaf? Does it have avocado in the middle? Are there stars on it, and/or handprints? Dodger dogs? I do not like them, Sam I am. I am definitely not a Dodger fan. I could elaborate, but you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate.

The Cubs’ fate is to face Clayton Kershaw. They have beaten him before and are gonna rely on “MLB’s most consistent pitcher”. Let’s see what the panel says. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Baseball History:

  • 1957 - The N.L. approves the proposed moves of the Dodgers and the Giants to the West Coast, provided both clubs make their request before October 1 and move at the same time.
  • 1968 - The A.L. owners agree to the following divisional alignment for 1969: Eastern: Boston, New York, Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington, Detroit. Western: Chicago, Kansas City, Minnesota, Seattle, Oakland, California.
  • 2004 - Matt Clement becomes the 21st big league pitcher and the first Chicago Cubs pitcher in over a century to hit three batters with pitches in one inning, to tie a major league record. The victims plunked in the 5th inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates were Bobby Hill, Jason Kendall and Craig Wilson.
  • 2011 - The Cubs end a 12-game losing streak, their longest since 1997, with an 11 - 7 win over the Padres at Wrigley Field. Alfonso Soriano goes 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI, his 7th-inning homer putting the Cubs ahead to stay against Alex Hinshaw; Ian Stewart, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney also homer for Chicago, while David DeJesus hits a pair of triples. For their part, the Padres hit four long balls on a day when the wind is blowing towards the fences, with Chase Headley connecting twice, and Everth Cabrera and Will Venable once each.
  • Happy birthday - Randy Martz.
  • RIP — Jim Bunning.

Cubs News and Notes:

Jake Buchanan landed in Cincinnati.

Another season, another slew of Sonny Gray to the Chicago Cubs rumors. - Sean Sears (Sports Mockery)

  • Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago*): 2020 Cubs-White Sox World Series Preview. “...in which everyone is trying to be “first” with a story no matter how flimsy...”
  • Tim Brown (Yahoo Sports*): The destiny of the Cubs: What's next? “It’s my group, our group, and it’s the way we have to do it,” Maddon said. “The path is going to be different.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Jon Lester, MLB’s most consistent pitcher. “According to Release:Tunnel, Baseball Prospectus’s new metric, Lester has been the most consistent pitcher in MLB on a pitch-to-pitch basis.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): As Cubs search for answers, Scott Boras doesn’t believe Jake Arrieta is feeling the pressure of free agency. “Coming from Baltimore to here and establishing himself in the big leagues was the major arc of his career,” Boras said. Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) provides some counterpoint.
  • Size matters: The Oversized Catcher’s Mitt.
  • Marly Rivera (ESPN*): 'Maintaining winning spirit in the clubhouse is important'. “Willson Contreras spoke with Rivera about his first 12 months in the majors and how he's adjusting to MLB's written -- and unwritten -- rules.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}: Ian Happ making adjustments at the plate and in the field. "It's my job to make adjustments, and that's baseball," Happ said.
  • Scott Spratt (ESPN Insider {$}): Who are baseball's best defensive infielders? Two Cubs make the list. I’m not sure that the author made the right choice at first.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Scott Boras: Kris Bryant calm under pressure — unless doughnuts are involved. "I think when Kris and I eat doughnuts together, I see that moment of absolute anticipation," Boras said Friday.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Joe Maddon wants Kyle Schwarber to ignore numbers. “I want him to get back to the process,” Maddon said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Kyle Schwarber to start vs. righties only for now, Joe Maddon says. "My concern when a guy is struggling a little bit is, you don't want him to get too many at-bats..." Maddon said. “...Once he goes [starts hitting], he'll play against anybody."
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player? “If people want to say that, I can’t avoid it,” Maddon said.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Report connects Cubs and Sonny Gray, who may be one of the biggest arms available. References Buster Olney (ESPN Insider) and Craig Edwards (Fangraphs), building a case for a possible trade.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Jeff Samardzija is a quality fit for Cubs’ needs. “I don’t think about that,” Samardzija said when asked if he could envision coming back to the Cubs.
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Vince and Lou come alive again as WGN honors them with Rosenberg on Walk of Fame. “We were all brothers,” Rosey said.
  • Charlie Bevis (SABR): Former Cub Norm Gigon. Gigon played one year of major-league baseball with the Cubs and was also involved early on with Joe Maddon’s career.
  • Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): Tom Ricketts wins award as Best Sports Executive of the Year. “Hard to top exorcising 108 years of futility.”
  • Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cub-hating at its core: How sly scheme tried to bring down 1907 Cubs. “Cheating was a little more blatant back in olden baseball days.”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Tuesday with more news and notes.