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Cub Tracks goes sixth sense

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The Eagle has landed, pitching in order, dog days, and other bullets

In the rearview
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Cubs WIN! Six in a row! Two sweeploaves!

There’s a part of my little ‘stitious™ little mind that wants to believe that the Cubs have begun to play well because I said they won’t gamethread word™ win the division. It’s the same part that makes me eat the same things before each game if they win. In this case, it looks like that might be my words, with a mild cheese sauce, they way Blue Beetle prefers his hat (and if you get that reference, may JM DeMatteis have mercy on you, L-Ron). And I will gladly eat those words with different dipping sauces for the rest of the year, because ‘stitious. And I’m happy to see the victories pile up like baby rabbits.

I’ve used the same gamethread word title (Cub Tracks goes fourth) twice, for the simple reason that the Cubs didn’t lose the first time I used it (July 4th, natch. They didn’t gamethread word play July 3). Am sore tempted to use it again but instead I’ll hang onto it like a shirt that has some gamethread word™ wins still in it and see if we can’t keep this thing going.

The Cubs will not win the division this year.

There. That part’s out of the way, and the Cubbies can continue their winning ways. You’re welcome (I can see the comments now because I have limited precognition in addition to overwhelming gamethread word hubris).

gamethread word™! You are such an idiot. Of course you aren’t responsible for the Cubs winning or losing. Moran™!

And like that. Yeah. I live for such stuff, y’know. We all do. (insert laugh track here)

Now that the Cubs have won in the gamethread word™ daytime, I have to get up early until they lose — yeah, nine am is early for me. I’m a natural second-shifter and dislike getting up before the crack of noon. That’s how deep that gamethread word stuff goes. This is more than a rabbit hole. We might be heading for Pellucidar, or the Mole Man, at the very least. Gamethread word™ deep, but a hollow sort of sentiment.

Is that enough subreferences? Does it sorta parse? Onward — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Baseball History:

  • 1925 - Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance struck out seventeen as the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in 10 innings.
  • 1933 - Babe Herman hit three home runs, including a grand slam, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 10-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field.
  • 1944 - Browns' hurler Nels Potter is banned for ten days, becoming the first pitcher ever to be suspended for throwing a spitball. The spitball, shineball, and emeryball were outlawed by the major league's Joint Rules Committee in 1920, which allowed the seventeen pitchers using the doctored pitches at the time to keep throwing the banned pitches legally until they retired.
  • 1969 - At Connie Mack Stadium, during the top of the third inning of the nightcap against the Cubs, play is halted with the two teams moving silently to their respective baselines to look skyward as the Phillies' crowd is informed that word has been sent from Neil Armstrong to Mission Control in Houston that the Eagle had landed on the moon. The game will resume after a recording of Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" is played and a prayer is said for the astronauts over the loudspeaker.
  • 1973 - Wilbur Wood, the last pitcher to start both games of a twin bill, takes the loss in each contest when New York sweeps the White Sox at Yankee Stadium, 12-2 and 7-0. The knuckleballer gets the nod to start the nightcap after not making it out of the first inning in the opener.
  • 2004 - At Wrigley Field, Albert Pujols goes 5-for-5, including three home runs and five RBIs, as the Cardinals beat their Central Division rival Cubs, 11-8. The Redbird first baseman's first career three-homer game helps St. Louis to erase a six run deficit.

Cubs News and Notes:

Jon Lester is walking around the clubhouse with his three World Series rings, the largest of which was earned with the Cubs last season. He's not done, as he yelled to Anthony Rizzo: "Hey Tony, you have to win me two more. Two more for the other fingers on this hand." -- Jesse Rogers, ESPN

"No, that ship has sailed. That ain't going to happen. There's two places for me to be: starting or at home. Except for the playoffs or in big games -- we can compromise." — John Lackey via AP/ESPN.

  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): The Cubs are destroying the hell out of opposing pitchers right now. “...maybe things are starting to shift.”
  • Tommy Stokke (FanRag Sports): Is law of averages tipping toward Cubs? “I like where we’re at right now,” Joe Maddon said. Ryan Davis chimes in.
  • Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): Jon Lester had a game for the ages. “...on this one night, he was indistinguishable from a table-setter.”
  • Jaylon Thompson (MLB.com): Jake Arrieta hoping for more success vs. Cards. “In his career against the Cardinals, he owns a 2.00 ERA in 15 career starts and a rate of 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings.”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Cubs shuffle rotation, meaning Jose Quintana will not start against White Sox. Well boo — I was looking forward to that.
  • Russell Dorsey (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jose Quintana against NL contenders. “Having one dominant southpaw is a plus, but having two is an added luxury and a big advantage for a team that could use some good fortune down the stretch.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): More help for Cubs' rotation: Kyle Hendricks returns, John Lackey activated. "If we get our pitching in order, we'll be OK," Joe Maddon said over the weekend.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): John Lackey gets win after long delay. "A lot has been said about John's struggles," Chris Bosio said on his WSCR pregame show. "You look up and down our roster. A lot of people here have struggled. He's a winner."
  • Jaylon Thompson (MLB.com): John Lackey validates spot in revitalized rotation. "He was able to locate his fastball and slider pretty well, and we were aggressive with it and things worked out," Willson Contreras said.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Cubs still trying to trade for Tigers catcher Alex Avila. Industry sources, Jon Morosi, and Jerry Crasnick all say so.
  • Andrew Colvert (Fansided): Ian Happ is quietly settling in nicely in the big leagues. “...if/when he starts making more contact his value will only go up.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Is a larger role in the cards for Albert Almora, Jr? “Unless Almora were taking some tremendous leap in his offensive ability, it’s just not easy to find a consistent place for him.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): The message the Cubs sent in not trading Kyle Schwarber. “Look, I think we’ve done no shortage of things to demonstrate our faith in Schwarber over the years,” Theo Epstein said, explaining the Quintana deal.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Six-game streak turns Cubs into aggressive buyers as deadline looms. “We’ll be on the lookout for a bunch of different things,” said Jed Hoyer.
  • John Manuel (Baseball America): 2017 Chicago Cubs Midseason Top 10 Prospects. Still some riches down on the farm.
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs help teenage heart transplant recipient who enjoys 'cool' experience. Tom Ricketts and the World Series trophy showed up to help the fundraising for Logan Vallee. "That was cool,'' Logan said.
  • David Ross (the Players’ Tribune): Elite ‘Glue Guys’ 101. Long, excellent article full of inside baseball. Saved the best for last.

Food for thought:

  • Tina Hesman Saey (Science News): Dog domestication happened just once, ancient DNA study suggests. “Like pups worrying over a bone, debate over when — and how many times — dogs were tamed continues.”
  • Brad Stulberg (Quartz): Most people feel guilty about taking breaks—but science shows rest is just as vital as hard work. “It may not sound fancy, and it does take time. But it’s what gets results.”
  • Elizabeth Pennisi (Science): What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super-outgoing people. “...the genetics of dog behavior “might be even more relevant for understanding genetics of human behavior than we once thought,” says Per Jensen...”

And so it goes...we lie down with dogs in the end. Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will be back Sunday, bright and early.