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Cub Tracks’ son of depot saith not

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Bob Wicker, man, a flick of the wrist, fair play, and other bullets

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs
Prolonging the inevitable
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Last time out, Cub Tracks, like the Cubs recently, came up short. Things aren’t much fun right now. There’s going to be a shakeup — we just don’t know how, or who, or where. It’s getting hard to watch whole games and stay off the ledge.

It’s all so 1977. I’m going in the basement to watch cartoons and consult with the great god US Graphix. Maybe that’ll make me feel better. Maybe not. I feel like Red’s got my Candyland stash and others are enjoying the things I should. Last year was so much fun...and we Cubs fans were going to try not to be insufferable with all of the winning.

Hopefully this season isn’t going down the toilet, too. Al suggested Jon Jay at leadoff, Ben Zobrist to the DL, Kyle Schwarber to the minors. I bet some of you have other suggestions. I like Jay at the top and Ian Happ at #2. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant can switch depending on handedness. The rest of the lineup likewise.

I have no idea whatsoever about the pitching, other than tradesville. I still suspect someone’s leaving, and soon. Just dunno who — I guess we’ll see. No doubt the writers and bloggers will have words about the current lack of executions. I hope so. Peter Gammons hasn’t said anything stupid or newsworthy (very) recently, and neither has anyone else in our orbit. We’re not gonna do Russell rehash. Weird to lead off with Paul Sullivan but as always there’s a madness to the method. Read all about it — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs History:

  • 1904 - After pitching nine and a third innings of no-hit baseball, Cubs' hurler Bob Wicker settles for a 1-0, twelve inning one-hit victory over the Giants. Light-hitting outfielder Sam Mertes, for the second time in his career, breaks up an extra-inning no-hitter, having also spoiled Indians right-hander Earl Moore's 1901 bid for a no-no when he started the game-winning rally for the White Sox with a one-out single in the top inning.
  • 1911 - At Chicago’s West Side Grounds, Heinie Zimmerman of the Cubs drives in nine runs to set a team record. The Windy City infielder, whose record will be tied by Sammy Sosa in 2002, hits two home runs, a triple, and two singles in the 20-2 rout of the Braves.
  • 1952 - At Wrigley Field, Hank Sauer homers three times, going deep off Cubs hurler Curt Simmons in the second, sixth, and eighth innings. The Phillies left fielder’s three solo home runs account for all the runs scored by Philadelphia in the team’s 3-2 victory over Chicago.
  • 1963 - After Brock Davis is intentionally walked to load the bases, third baseman Bob Aspromonte blasts a tenth-inning walk-off grand slam off Lindy McDaniel, lifting the Colt .45s to a 6–2 victory over the Cubs. Chicago had tied the Colt Stadium contest in the top of the ninth on a triple by Dick Bertell, a walk to Bob's brother Ken, and Don Landrum's RBI single.
  • 1969 - The Cubs trade Adolfo Phillips and right-hander Jack Lamabe to the Expos for Paul Popovich, acquired today by Montreal, along with Ron Fairly from the Dodgers in exchange for Maury Wills and Manny Mota. Chicago's latest infielder, a solid switch-hitting utility player, will play a large role for his new team, filling in for injured second baseman Glenn Beckert and batting .312 overall in 60 games.

Cubs News and Notes:

From the yahoo contingent:

  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Indians' struggles mirror those of World Series opponent Cubs. “On one hand we're very fortunate somebody hasn't run away and hid. But I don't think it's real healthy to look up every day and think 'Well, the other teams lost,’” says Terry Francona.
  • Scott Chasen (MLB.com): Despite struggles, 'good times ahead' for Cubs. “Joe Maddon has seen this before. Maybe it hasn't been quite the same, but he's seen it nevertheless.”
  • Scott Chasen (MLB.com): Maddon instilling confidence in young sluggers. "These are young hitters, really young hitters, that are going through a tough moment," Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon's cure for Cubs' offensive woes. "On-base percentage isn't bad and we've been hitting home runs lately, but the part of our game that's been the most lacking is our ability to move the baseball with people in scoring position once we've gotten them there,” he said.
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Breaking balls continue to flummox Cubs. “Overall, the Cubs aren’t mashing breaking balls.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Why it's not a bad time for Kyle Hendricks to land on DL. A guy like Kyle, we've talked about maybe the velocity's been down a tick. This might actually be a good thing for him, just putting him on a different pattern, also,” said Joe Maddon.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Zobrist still playing, batting righty despite sore left wrist. “What it likely comes down to is Zobrist becoming more of a platoon player to allow him to tax the left wrist as little as possible.”
  • Matt Pettitt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Missing your pitch: Addison Russell 2017. “Baseball is by design a game of failure.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs focused on pitching in MLB Draft. “Jason McLeod said they have a specific wish list, although he wouldn't reveal the characteristics.”
  • Eric Longenhagen (ESPN Insider {$}): Strengths, weaknesses of every MLB farm system. The Cubs’ “system is starting to thin out,” says Longenhagen.
  • Tommy Birch (Des Moines Register*): Former top Cubs prospect barely hanging on in western Iowa. Josh Vitters is 27, playing third base for Sioux City in the Independent League.
  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs and Moby Dick. Almost 100 years before the Theo-Rizzo relationship was the Killefer-Weeghman one, and it was so powerful and enduring it altered the course of the Cubs forever.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Everyone at Wrigley Field knew Anthony Rizzo struck out looking except for the Ump. “...it keeps happening when there’s a solution right on the screen to fix the issue of calling balls and strikes.”
  • David Kaplan talks to Andre Dawson [AUDIO].

“I don’t care who wins, as long as it’s the Cubs.” — Bert Wilson

Food for thought:

  • Daniel Clery (Science): Potential building block of life found in very young star system. “The finding suggests that quite complex organic molecules may be created very early in the evolution of star systems.”
  • Mindy Weisberger (Live Science): 100-Million-Year-Old amber holds tiny, feathery chick. “Much of the body of a wee Cretaceous-era chick was preserved in incredible detail in a piece of Burmese amber.”
  • Matt McGrath (BBC Science): Dogs and Wolves share sense of fair play. “Experiments in 2008 demonstrated that dogs also had this sensitivity. This new study shows that it's also deeply ingrained in wolves.”

Cub Tracks controls the vertical. The levers on each side of my couch control the horizontal. Thanks for reading.