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Cub Tracks is at a loss

Father-son umps, I don’t know why, extreme gigantism, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants
Willy or wonty?
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Cubs Lose. Sadface.

Last ish, Cub Tracks rode the lightning. Shoulda had James and Kirk open every game, I guess. Wotta revoltin’ development. Giant step back -- I thought the Cubs were gonna take two.

Instead they’re fleeing San Francisco, probably tailed by Karl Malden and Michael Douglas. And Steve McQueen’s Mustang. And the radio-controlled car from the Dead Pool. And three teams in the NL Central that are too close for comfort.

On the plus side, the Cubs won’t see the Giants again this year. And you Chicagoans can consider yourselves lucky -- at least you don’t have to listen to the Diamondbacks’ telecasts this weekend. Let’s hope the day off does the Cubs good. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1889 - At the Seventh Street Park in Indianapolis, future 300 game winner Mickey Welch becomes the first pinch hitter in major league history. Although the Giants right-handed pitcher strikes out in his historic plate appearance, New York prevails, beating the Hoosiers, 9-6.
  • 1944 - At Crosley Field, Braves' hurler Charles 'Red' Barrett throws only 58 pitches, beating the Reds, 2-0. The nine-inning night game takes only seventy-five minutes to play.
  • 1971 - Sixteen baseball researchers at Cooperstown form the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
  • 1974 - Jorge Lebron, believed to be the youngest professional player ever, makes his debut for the Auburn Phillies, Philadelphia's short season-A affiliate. The fourteen-year-old shortstop plays three games before returning to Puerto Rico to finish junior high school.
  • 1981 - Major League Baseball resumed play after a two-month strike.
  • 1994 - The Expos win for the 20th time in their last 22 games when they blank Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium, 4-0. The victory puts the team 35 games over .500, a franchise record, but sadly it will be the last game Montreal will win, due to the impending players' strike that will eventually end the season.
  • 1998 - At Qualcomm Stadium, Harry Wendelstedt and his son, Hunter, become the first father-son combination to umpire a major league baseball game together. Dad is behind the plate calling balls and strikes, and his son, who will remain on the same crew for the remainder of the season, makes the calls at third base when the last-place Marlins beat the first-place Padres, 3-2.
  • 2002 - Sammy Sosa hits three home runs in consecutive at bats in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, tying a Cubs' record with nine RBI established by Heinie Zimmerman in 1911. With his sixth career three-homer game performance, the Chicago right fielder also ties the major league record set by Johnny Mize and becomes only the fifth player in big league history to homer in three straight innings.
  • 2009 - Troy Tulowitzki collects five hits, completing the cycle with a three-bagger in the seventh inning of the Rockies' 11-5 victory over the Cubs at Coors Field. The Colorado shortstop is the fifth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat, and the sixth major leaguer this season to have a single, double, triple, and home run in the same game.

Cubs news and notes:

Are the 2017 Dodgers better than the 2016 Cubs?

The Dodgers might be better than the Cubs at the moment, but the Cubs finished it off in October and November. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN

  • Myles Phelps (Cubs Den): What the hell is up with the NL Central? “Does anyone want to win the Central?”
  • Ashley MacLennan (Fangraphs): The players who market themselves. “...former Cubs catcher David Ross has established himself as the loveable everyman.”
  • Jonathon Hawthorne ( Cubs to embrace fun during Players Weekend. “New event to take place during all games from Aug. 25-27.” Nice threads.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why is Joe Maddon still harping on bad defense and waiting for Cubs to play with more focus? “I don’t know why,” Maddon said.
  • Jonathon Hawthorne ( John Lackey set for Cubs' rematch vs. Goldy. Maddon said: "Be careful with Paul Goldschmidt." Um, yeah.
  • Buster Olney (ESPN-Insider {$}): Biggest weakness for every contender: Cubs. “The set-up men.”
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): I’m walkin’ here: A bullpen story.” Recently...the group has done little to inspire confidence.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): 'It's The Willson Show': Inside Contreras' rise to stardom with the Cubs. "In my opinion, what clicked was playing in the Venezuelan winter league in 2014 when he was around veteran guys down there," said Jason McLeod.
  • Jonathon Hawthorne ( Willson Contreras injures hamstring, DL stint likely. MRI Friday. Ugh.
  • CSN Chicago: Alex Avila discusses his role after Contreras injury [VIDEO].
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Can we believe the increased power of Javy ‘El Mago’ Baez? “Javier Baez’ power is directly tied to an increased frequency of balls hit between 19-26 degrees, otherwise known as “high drives.””
  • Leigh Coridan (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Like Magic: On the value of Javier Baez. “...he offers that extra piece of himself when the mood strikes.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Since his hand injury, Kris Bryant has lacked in the power department. Numbers for the narrative.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Ian Happ is in another deep slump, But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. “...even through his struggles, Happ has been improving his approach and his process at the plate.”
  • Ted Slowik (Daily Southtown*): Cubs fan rewarded for response to neighbor's flag complaint. A box of additional swag was brought to her.

Food for thought:

  • Michael Price (Science): ‘Vanished’ people may live on in the U.S. Southwest. “...their descendants form the Tewa Pueblo population that still lives there today.”
  • Michael Price (Science): Ancient infant ape skull sheds light on the ancestor of all humans and living apes. “ almost perfectly preserved skull roughly the size of a baseball.”
  • Laura Geggel (Live Science): Ginormous, 70-ton Titanosaur Is the largest dinosaur on record. "...extreme gigantism evolved once in the history of sauropods..."

Make mine a bronto-burger. Cub Tracks will return Sunday in time for brunch. Thanks for reading.