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Cub Tracks’ if at third you don’t succeed...

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A Major League oddity, the State of Bryzzo, how cats achieved world domination, and other bullets

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs
Home at last
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Cubs survive the Clayton Richard Experience 3-2! Fly the ‘W’!

Under ordinary circumstances, Cub Tracks™ appears like clockwork, except during the playoffs, when all bets are off and the Cub Tracks continuum™ has new Trojan points. The engineers and watchmakers are always tinkering, trying to improve things, and usually doing exactly the wrong thing, for Cub Tracks™ is a Crazy Eddie™ publication, a cogito, ergo sum of mismatched parts that usually puts Descartes before the horse™ and flogs the popular notion that column ledes need to come in the first paragraph or even retain any relevance to the rest of the copy...

On the one hand — Monday morning, I was watching MLB Now, hiding from the heat, and the panel discussed a few Things Cub — first, they had a list of strategic/tactical game managers, which rightly had Mike Matheny last, and Terry Francona at the top, with Joe Maddon coming in fourth. I can’t find a link to that list...Bruce Bochy, who has long been regarded as a top field mind, was low in the rankings. I would have rated him higher. I might actually have Joe lower — he does a few questionable things and his experimentalism can be a drawback at times.

"If we win ballgames, I'll be the leadoff hitter for the rest of my career...” — Anthony Rizzo to Carrie Muskat

On the other hand — A little later, they had a segment where Jake Arrieta talked about the ‘fatigue factor’™ having huge bearing on his lack of success. I do buy this whole premise -- we’ve had numerous pieces touting this notion here in Cub Tracks, and that probably isn’t an accident. I seem to remember that the same concept, applied to day baseball, has been advanced as a reason why the Cubs were so bad for forever. Makes sense in some ways there, too. Tired is tired. Being in the best shape of your life™ isn’t everything. You have to keep your shoulder to the grindstone and your nose to the wheel™, as well.

Kris Bryant admitted he was "feeling a little fatigued" so he was on board with not starting on Friday and again on Sunday: "You want to be ready for August, September, October," he said. — Jesse Rogers

It seems logical. Psychology and physiology aren’t my fields, though, and I haven’t stayed in a Holiday Inn Express™ recently, so I do not pretend to any expertise or authority.

“As much as we don’t want to say that it carries over from season to season, throwing almost 500 innings over the past two years, I think it did have some effect,” said Jake Arrieta to Ken Rosenthal. [source]

On the gripping hand — They also spoke some about the rise of the super-utility-man, though they didn’t dig as deeply as I would have liked...not even going as far as to name Mark DeRosa, who works for their network. Here’s an article about some others, though it doesn’t wade very far from the shore, either. No mention of Bert Campaneris, for example.

And at that point, my stream of consciousness dries up, and any further speculations along those timelines are buried deeper than that set of literary subreferences. But...the spice must flow, says the Baron, and perhaps that’s as good a way to collate this strange melange of verbiage as any. I can’t peer very far into the future despite the magic of the Cub Tracks continuum™, as the Guild’s route has been usurped by Vogon poets, so here’s a selection of the latest (as of 9 pm PST 6/19) and greatest of the scrivening class — As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Baseball History:

  • 1901 - John W. Taylor goes the distance but takes the loss when the Orphans are defeated by the Beaneaters at Boston's South End Grounds. The right-hander's start begins a stunning streak of 187 consecutive complete games that ends in August of 1906 when he is relieved by another pitcher, after amassing an amazing 1,727 innings of work that includes finishing up 15 games in relief.
  • 1932 - Roger Cramer of the A's has six hits in consecutive times at bat in a nine-inning game. Cramer will do this again in 1935, the only A.L. player to repeat the feat.
  • 1973 - Bobby Bonds leads off with a home run, but the Giants lose 7-5 to the Reds. It was Bonds's 22nd leadoff home run, breaking Lou Brock's N.L. record.
  • 1982 - Pete Rose plays in his 3,000th major league game, joining Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, and Carl Yastrzemski as the only players to reach that plateau.
  • 1983 - Yankee outfielder Bobby Murcer retires as an active player, ending his 17-year major league career with a .277 lifetime batting average and 252 home runs. The popular outfielder, who also played for the Giants and Cubs, will become a mainstay in the broadcast booth until he succumbs to a brain tumor in 2008.
  • 2007 - Connecting on a fifth inning hanging breaking ball thrown by Cubs' hurler Jason Marquis, Sammy Sosa becomes the fifth major league player to hit 600 career home runs. The Rangers' designated hitter joins Hank Aaron (755), Barry Bonds (748), Babe Ruth (714), and Willie Mays (660) in reaching the milestone.
  • 2009 - A major league oddity happens when two games end on walk-off wild pitches in extra innings on the same day. Jason Jennings' errant throw allows Nate Schierholtz to score the winning run for the Giants with two outs in the 11th inning to beat Texas, 2-1, and Andres Blanco comes home on Kerry Wood's miscue, giving the Cubs a 6-5 victory over the Indians in 13 innings.

Cubs News and Notes:

  • Here’s an in-depth look at Cubs scouting [VIDEO].
  • Dave Cameron (Fangraphs) Gleyber Torres needs Tommy John surgery. Can’t scout that.
  • Travis Sawchik (Fangraphs): The Cubs are looking everywhere for an edge. “..more evidence of the league’s richest teams also becoming among the smartest and efficient. And that’s scary for everyone else.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Joe Maddon invests in resting stars now to win big later. That ‘fatigue factor’ shows up again. “I really want to be more proactive with resting guys right now,” Maddon said.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Cubs have reportedly discussed Chris Archer with Rays, could cost Eloy Jimenez? Jeff Passan started it this time as seen in the tweet above.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Mike Montgomery aims to stay on attack vs. Jhoulys Chacin, Friars. Montgomery said he has picked Jon Lester's brain about how he attacks hitters and his overall approach.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): The State of Bryzzo: Cubs superstars trending in opposite directions right now. “Imagine how good this newfangled Cubs lineup would look if both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant get going at the same time.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Ben Zobrist has clean MRI, eyes return on Friday. "I'm eligible on Friday so I'll probably see how it feels on Wednesday," Zobrist said.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Addison Russell’s production trending in the right direction. “The fact that he’s making frequent, strong contact and catching up to inside heaters suggests he is seeing the ball better, feeling more confident, and/or recovering from a nagging shoulder injury from May.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward on All-Star track in update. “Kris Bryant maintained his positional lead and Jason Heyward was third among outfielders in the latest National League All-Star fan balloting, released on Monday.” As reported on the front page.
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times*): You can make (a) persuasive case for Kris Bryant to start All-Star Game. “Park effects” help to weaken Nolan Arenado’s case.
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The 2017 leadoff experiment and the backdrop of Cubs leadoff history. “...when you look at all of the disappointing Cub teams that followed playoff runs in our lifetime, one of the things they all have in common is a massive dropoff in performance from the leadoff spot.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Rizzo leading off brings back fun For Cubs. “He called himself the greatest lead-off man of all time,” Zobrist said with a laugh.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): 2017 Cubs reminiscent of another of Theo Epstein's defending champs. “Many of the offseason moves he'd made to try to improve the world champions weren't working out, the pitching had regressed, the chemistry was being questioned, and they were barely over .500. What to do? “
  • Tom U. (Cubs Den): Elliot Soto: The prospect next door. Carpentersville native Soto grew up a Cubs fan.
  • Larry Brown (Larry Brown Sports): Cubs fans name daughter ‘Waveland’ after Wrigley Field street. Stephen and Bronwyn Case named their firstborn that, even though they’re not from Chicago.

Food for thought:

  • I find it amusing that this Cub Tracks exists. There’s also the baseball continuum, which has grown quiescent, but was active for quite a while.
  • Tina Hesman Saey (Science News): DNA reveals how cats achieved world domination. “Analysis of 9,000 years of cat remains suggests two waves of migration.”
  • MIndy Weisberger (Live Science): If we live in a multiverse, where are these worlds hiding? “...scientists can't say for sure what space-time looks like, which means it might hold countless universes that are invisible to us...”

Christopher Russo could be replaced by a howler monkey. Think about it. Thanks for reading — see you Thursday.