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Psycho’s big day, lefty hurlers, independent planning for bird-brains, and other bullets

W!
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Cubs Win! Gravy Day today!

Unstuck in time, Cub Tracks drifts along at the whim of MLB.tv. Frequent moments of Déjà vu, combined with jamais vu and the occasional complete reversion make for an unsettling experience that metaphorically reflects the funhouse mirror that is the current Cubs season. In Cub Tracks’ freighty chat, the theory of Jose Quintana changing sides of town was advanced by the Daily Herald’s Mike Imrem, who may have been reading reddit in his spare time. Stranger Things enthusiasts would refer to this sort of chain of events as the work of the Upside Down. Others may ascribe it to randomness, or Theo Epstein’s mysterious ways, or to the infinite probability generator, Deep Thought. One never knows...in any case, that did happen.

I’m gonna hold on to my position that the Cubs will fail to make the postseason until it is even more obvious that I am an idiot and wrong™, which is not-so-secretly what I am hoping for -- not that I need additional approbation, but honesty compels me to own both sentiments.

So there it is. Jose Quintana is indeed a Cub, and is starting today against the Baltimore Orioles, and it’s a good thing indeed. Maybe better than scoring first, though that remains to be seen™.

The wonky signal, that’s not so good. It’s only through the PS3™ system, which is due for replacement in the fall, but if does force me to do a lot of finagling and fiddling with the remotes, and a not inconsiderable bit of cursing is involved as well. I’m supposed to be keeping my blood pressure down. With that in mind, I’m gonna take my medicine and hopefully watch the Orioles take theirs. Here’s some infotainment for you -- as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Baseball History:

  • 1897 - Colts first baseman Cap Anson becomes the first major leaguer to collect 3000 hits when he singles off George Blackburn. The 45 year-old infielder's historic hit comes in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore at Chicago's West Side Grounds.
  • 1913 - In a game against the Cubs, Superbas' second baseman George Cutshaw handles 14 chances without an error. The infielder's defensive prowess helps Brooklyn beat Chicago at Ebbets Field, 4-2.
  • 1968 - Jose Cardenal becomes the first outfielder in 37 years and only the fourth flychaser overall to record two unassisted double plays in one season. The Cleveland outfielder joins Socks Seybold (1907 A's), Tris Speaker (1918 Indians), and Adam Comorosky (1931 Pirates) in accomplishing the rare feat.
  • 1975 - Bowie Kuhn is re-elected to his second term as the commissioner of baseball. Charlie Finley failed in his attempt to force the other owners to vote to remove Kuhn, who had become an adversary of the Oakland A's owner during his first seven years in the position.
  • 1978 - Tulsa southpaw starter Dave Righetti, who doesn’t get the decision when the Drillers lose in the tenth, strikes out 21 Midland Cubs over nine innings to establish a Texas League record.
  • 1985 - The National League beats the AL, 6-1, marking its 21st victory in the last 23 All-Star Games. Sparky Anderson, who was the first manager to win 100 games in both the National and American Leagues, becomes the first skipper to lose a Midsummer Classic in each league.
  • 1990 - Steve Lyons slides head first into first base to beat out a bunt. The play becomes memorable when the White Sox first baseman drops his pants to brush away the dirt inside his uniform in front of 14,770 startled fans at Tiger Stadium.
  • 2001 - Fred McGriff invokes his no-trade clause, blocking a deal that would have sent him to the first place Cubs from the last place Devil Rays. Later in the day, the 'Crime Dog' homers, helping Tampa Bay to beat the Braves 6-5.
  • 2006 - At Wrigley Field, Mets outfielders Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran both hit grand slams during a franchise record 11-run inning in the sixth of the 13-7 defeat of the Cubs. The pair of four-run homers marks only the seventh time in baseball history a team has accomplished the feat in one inning.

Sunday’s Cubs News and Notes:

“Right now we’re taking a step back, taking a break, to kind of understand our roster and payroll dynamic looking forward now that we have Quintana in the fold.

“We’ll be active. And we’re going to see how we play, too. If we don’t get hot, obviously we’ll have a little bit longer-term perspective. I like the look in our guys’ eyes. I think everyone’s refreshed and ready to put the first half behind us, while being accountable for it, ready to move on and play better baseball.“ — Theo Epstein via Gordon Wittenmyer

John Lackey's (foot) bullpen session went well. He's on track to start on Tuesday in Atlanta. Jon Lester will pitch on Monday after getting a couple extra days of rest. He said he was game for whatever but they told him before the break this is what they wanted to do. He threw 53 pitches in the first half finale last Sunday, all in the first inning. -- Jesse Rogers, ESPN.

  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Confident Brewersnot looking back at the Cubs,’ closer Corey Knebel says. “We’re not looking back, period,” he added.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Maddon: Aug. 1 'key date' for 2nd-half surge. “...I thought if you get the whip out too soon, you'll be done by the middle of August,” he said.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jon Lester breaks down Jose Quintana trade and where Cubs go from here. “That’s probably a win-win for everybody,” Lester said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jose Quintana embraces ‘pressure’ as Cub teammates embrace Quintana. Group hug.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Cubs see Jose Quintana as a game-changer. “He’s got a great opportunity to impact this team in the second half,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Matt Pettit (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The White Whale Trade: The search for a young cost-controlled starter ends. “...inevitably, some of your home grown bats will need to be cashed in for starting pitching.”
  • Tom Loxas (Cubs Den): The sanity of the Jose Quintana deal. “...It is so nice to see everyone in town getting along so well.”
  • Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): The latest development in Mike Montgomery’s evolution features a well-balanced pitch mix. Mix em over the plate then, Mike.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon knows it’s time to start pushing Cubs harder – except Wade Davis. “...he’s not ready to extend Davis for four- or five-out saves.”
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): A different kind of angst: What needs to go right on offense. “...the difference for the lineup boils down to three key pieces.”
  • RJ Anderson (CBS Sports*): MLB prospect expert talks Cubs prospects and chances of making another big trade. “Craig Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus answers the big questions...about the Cubs' farm system.”
  • Chris Mitchell (Fangraphs) Projecting the prospects in the Jose Quintana trade. “Eloy Jiminez is clearly the centerpiece in this deal...”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Meet Isaac Paredes, your new top Cubs prospect. “KATOH ranked him No. 50 among the most valuable prospects mostly off of rookie ball play.”
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs Prospect Profile: Aramis Ademan turning his bat on. The farm isn’t empty, yet. “How much can he hit?”

Food for thought:

  • Can Kabadayi, Mathias Osvath (Science): Ravens parallel great apes in flexible planning for tool-use and bartering. “Their performance parallels that seen in apes and suggests that planning evolved independently in corvids.”
  • Andrew Wagner (Science): Take a 360° spin through the heart of the sun. “...one team of astronomers used data from the Gaia space observatory to simulate the interiors of solar-type stars...”
  • Yella Hewings-Martin, PhD (Medical News Today): Coffee: The science behind the health claims. “If coffee is this good for us, shouldn't we all be drinking it?”

Thanks for reading. I’m gonna clean Schrodinger’s catbox. Smell you Tuesday.