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Cub Tracks Comes Back Again

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Recent struggles, killing germs, and other bullets

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs
High Five-Four
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs Win!

In our previous episode, Cub Tracks soaked it all in, throwing a wet blanket over the idea of ‘playing like champs’, opining that Jon Jay would be the best current leadoff option, and then looked at the science of laughter.

Today we shine a light on a couple of 300-game winners, listen to Kyle Schwarber “discuss his recent struggles”, and kill some germs.

Here’s Bryzzo killing some brain cells:

Aaaaand some Bryzzo Bloopers:

I’m wondering what it is that the Chicago Tribune has on its pages that kills my wi-fi. Seriously, every time I click on a Tribune article, it makes MLB-TV crash and signs me out of the Playstation network. I forgot about that mess and clicked on an article a little while ago, and had to reboot everything. Usually I wait til later to tack on Trib stuff, though honestly I could do without.

Crazy stuff, like this idea the Cubs seem to have that they need to fall behind every night, as if a handicap is gonna help them win more games. Comebacks are great, but damn, boys, let’s have a laugher now and then. Please?

We get meatloaf at the very least. I put mine on a sammich, with bacon and barbecue sauce. Let’s see what else the scribes have for us to chew on. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

On this day in Cubs history:

  • 1976 - Illinois Rep. Eugene F. Schlickman, co-author of the House of Representative Resolution 747, declaring that day Rick Monday Day, is in attendance when the Cub outfielder is presented by Los Angeles vice president and GM Al Campanis with the flag he saved that was about to burned on the field at Dodger Stadium.
  • 1981 - Jose Cruz's three-run home run in the first inning proves to be the difference in the Astros' 5-4 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field. The Houston left fielder's brother, Hector, homers for the Cubs in the sixth inning, making the natives of Arroyo, Puerto Rico, the tenth different pair of siblings to go deep in the same game.
  • 1999 - After 6,136 at bats without a bases-loaded homer, Mark Grace hits his first career grand slam in the Cubs' 12-11 victory over Colorado at Wrigley Field. The Chicago first baseman's accomplishment leaves Reds' shortstop Barry Larkin as the active player with the longest drought with the bases juiced, a span of 5,817 at-bats.
  • 2005 - The fifth pair of 300-game winners in baseball history faces off against each other when Cubs starter Greg Maddux (305) bests Roger Clemens (329) and the Astros at Minute Maid Park, 3-2. The other pair of milestone moundsmen includes Don Sutton vs. Steve Carlton (1987), Don Sutton vs. Phil Niekro (1987), Don Sutton vs. Tom Seaver (1986), and Tim Keefe vs. Jim 'Pud' Galvin (1892).
  • 2009 - With their 7-2 win over Arizona, the Dodgers establish a National League record for consecutive victories to open a season at home. Their 11-0 start surpasses the NL mark shared by the 1918 Giants, 1970 Cubs, and 1983 Atlanta Braves, and is one shy of the major-league record set by the Tigers in 1911.

Cubs News:

Former Cub Chris Coghlan joins MLB Central.

Kyle Schwarber Baseball Pro Camp, at Maine South, for boys and girls grades 1-8. Click for details.

  • Phil Rogers (MLB.com): Cubs hoping for better defensive play. “Joe Maddon doesn't need rankings or a chart to know that the Cubs' defense has sprung a leak after playing to historic levels last season.”
  • MIchael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): About those Cubs velocity issues? Well, some of it may be a Wrigley problem. “Because the pitch trackers at every stadium are calibrated independently, some may be off – in either direction – more so than others.” Expands on article by Rob Arthur (538).
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Cubs’ secluded new bullpen setup all good with Maddon. “I am not getting any negative feedback,” he said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jon Lester scoffs at hangover talk, says rotation on brink of run. “...I feel like April was kind of the back end of our spring training.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Miguel Montero: Examining his early role & resurgent production. “For a guy who very nearly could have played, and talked, his way out of Chicago, he sure is an asset in this role now.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Miguel Montero on Adam Jones incident, passing citizenship test and living the American dream. “...I don’t think anybody’s better than anybody. I think we’re all the same – we’re all going to die.” Jason Heyward also weighs in in Jones.
  • Stack: The behind-the-scenes coach who fuels Anthony Rizzo's tenacious work ethic. Tim Buss gets some love.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon believes Javier Baez still has plenty room to grow offensively. “...the reward is going to be great when he figures it out, the reward is going to be outstanding to watch."
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs will ride out boom-and-bust cycles with Javier Baez because the upside is so great. In terms of an offensive ceiling, Maddon said, “I don’t think it’s going to be revealed to us for another couple years.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Kris Bryant’s stats nearly identical to last year. “The one area in which we see a significant difference in Bryant’s walk rate, which is up to 13.9 percent from 10.7 percent last season.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): More selective Kyle Schwarber not hitting belt-high pitches hard. “He’s stopped whiffing at so many pitches in 2017, but improved contact hasn’t produced more runs.”
  • ESPN*: Kyle Schwarber discusses his recent struggles.[AUDIO].
  • Nicolas Stellini (Fangraphs): Kyle Schwarber needs to be himself. “...we don’t yet have an idea of what a full season’s worth of Schwarber really looks like.”
  • Tom Musick (Chicago Sun-Times*): Hot-hitting Jon Jay earns more play for the Cubs. “I’m at the point in my career where I think I can still contribute a lot,” Jay said.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Phillies management definitely has Cubs flavor. “Larry Bowa is a member of the coaching staff as are former Cubs people Rick Kranitz, Mickey Morandini and Matt Stairs.”
  • Blair Kamin (Chicago Tribune*): Camden Yards paved a retro revolution — and influenced Wrigley Field's renovations. "The real legacy is so many teams ended up going into their urban setting and going back to being a part of the urban renaissance,” said Janet Marie Smith.
  • Cairo Lewis (WGN-TV): Joe Mantegna on Cubs, music and Chicago naming a street for him. Mantegna will be the last living person to get a street designation in Chicago. The guidelines for the honor are changing later this year.

Food for thought:

  • Lizzie Wade (Science): Was the Amazon once an ocean? “...a new study suggests that a large section of the forest was twice flooded by the Caribbean Sea more than 10 million years ago...”
  • Thomas Sumner (Science News): Here’s how an asteroid impact would kill you. “...if an asteroid kills you, gusting winds and shock waves from falling and exploding space rocks will most likely be to blame.”
  • Science Alert: Fungi from a toxic mine pit have teamed up to produce a new type of antibiotic . “We've never seen bacteria killed like this before.”

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday for more shenanigans.