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Fast Feller, Blass throws one out, new homer heights, and other bullets

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Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago Cubs
Javy being Javy. Steve Blass is a butt
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Cubs win meatloaf! Maybe gravy and mashed taters today!

65-57, 1st in National League Central.

Previously on this channel: Cub Tracks keeps pace. Game recap here.

Some ‘taters’ would be welcome, anyway. Ian Happ inches closer and closer to being the sixth man on the 20-homer roster. Kid looks like a keeper. The pennant race is working out for the Cubs so far. Let’s hope this keeps up.

It’s football preseason, there’s a pennant race, and the Cubs-related stuff is slim pickin’s. Cub Tracks Don-Cherry-picked, skimmed the cream, separated the wheat from the chaff, and stirred in a little sugar like a good cereal killer. The result of these manipulations is before you.

Eat your gruel. It’s good for you, Mikey. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1919 - Wichita outfielder Joe Wilhoit (Western League) fails to get a hit, ending a 69-game streak in which he collected 155 hits in 299 at bats for a .505 batting average.
  • 1938 - In the Yankees' 11-3 rout of the A's at Shibe Park, first baseman Lou Gehrig hits the final grand slam of his career. The first inning blast, given up by Philadelphia's right-hander Buck Ross, extends the Iron Horse's major league record for bases-loaded home runs to 23.
  • 1939 - After dropping the opener to Chicago, 9-5, the Pirates snap a 12-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory in the nightcap. Max Butcher goes the distance in the shortened six-inning game, limiting the visitors to just two hits in the Forbes Field contest.
  • 1946 - Using the U.S. Army's Sky Screen Chronograph, Bob Feller's fastball is clocked at 98.6 miles-per-hour, prior to the start of the game against the Senators at Griffith Stadium. The speed of the Indians right-hander's ball breaks Atley Donald's record of 94.7 mph, established by the Yankee hurler in 1939.
  • 1961 - The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Milwaukee Braves 7-4 in the second game of a doubleheader to snap a 23-game losing streak, a modern record.
  • 1974 - In an 18-8 rout of the Cubs, the Dodgers collect 24 hits and set a club record with 48 total bases, including Davey Lopes' three home runs, double, and single. The Dodger second baseman's 15 total bases are the most ever for a leadoff hitter.

Cubs news and notes:

Joe Maddon broke Chapman. #narrative

The Nationals have fixed Edwin Jackson. #narrative

The Cubs might have broken Scott Feldman, too:

The knee injury that landed Reds righty Scott Feldman on the disabled list last month has resurfaced and could potentially end his season, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Feldman was candid in telling the Cincinnati media, “If it doesn’t get any better, I don’t think I can pitch like that anymore.” Feldman served up five homers to the Cubs in fewer than four innings before exiting yesterday’s game. Feldman’s fastball was sitting at 82 mph in that rocky outing, Buchanan notes, and the veteran acknowledged that he’s “not really feeling too confident” about the outlook of the injury. This isn’t Feldman’s first bout of troubles with his right knee; the right-hander underwent microfracture surgery on that same knee back in 2011 and tore a meniscus in that same knee four years later with the Astros. — Steve Adams, MLB Trade Rumors.

“A lot of good friends here,” he said. “Just because I left doesn’t mean they stopped being my friends. Obviously between the lines it’s a little different playing against them, but I still respect them all. Great guys, and I’m happy to see them again.” — Miguel Montero

  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Cubs embracing competition of tight division race. “Baseball is about competing and making sure you never stop competing. Other teams are playing better, so we need to play better ourselves if we want to get to where we want to go again,” said Pedro Strop.
  • Thomas Lott (The Sporting News): Cubs' young studs reaching new homer heights. “...they now have four players age 25 or younger that have tallied at least 20 home runs this season.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Will Jake Arrieta return to the Cubs after 2017? “Nothing has been determined. That story is not written yet,” said Theo Epstein.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Jake Arrieta is pitching like an ace again — just in time for free agency. “...he's not going quietly into the night.”
  • Corey Freedman (Cubs Insider): Some perspective on Pedro Strop: He’s really good. “...one of the better relief pitchers in baseball since joining the Cubs...”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs claim catcher Rivera off waivers. The Cubs added depth at catcher on Saturday when they claimed Rene Rivera off waivers from the Mets. Aaron Brooks was DFA’d.
  • Vinnie Duber (CSN Chicago*): Miguel Montero explains how things ended with Cubs: ‘It wasn’t the nicest way to leave Chicago’. “Montero is still fond of his time in a Cubs uniform.”
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs fans boo Miguel Montero, but Jake Arrieta invites him for a drink. “He’s one of my favorite guys. It’s a little upsetting to see the way it ended for him here, but it is what it is,” said Arrieta.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Ian Happ rebounds quickly, turns in big day vs. Jays. "I got to hit left-handed today, which helped," Happ said.
  • Vinnie Duber (CSN Chicago*): Ian Happ has become a reliable rookie fixture for Cubs. “He’s an everyday player who might not be tearing the cover off the ball on a daily basis, but it’s now hard to imagine the lineup without him.”
  • Sean Sears (Sports Mockery): Pirates announcer Steve Blass throws some serious shade towards Javier Baez. “Blass said Baez was ‘difficult to root for,’ implying he didn’t like how Baez played the game.” Steve Blass was the original Rick Ankiel, if you don’t count David Clyde.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Kris Bryant returns to MVP form as Cubs make playoff push. "You are who you are, and at the end of the year, that's how things will turn out," Bryant said recently.
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus) Kyle Schwarber doesn’t have to be Adam Dunn. “...he’s still managed to contribute value even in the midst of his considerable struggles.”
  • Eric Chesterton, Carrie Muskat (Cut Four): Check out photos of David Ross jumping out of plane. "He was like a total advocate for me doing this," Maddon said of Ross.

Food for thought:

  • Science Daily: Scientists use magnetic fields to remotely stimulate brain -- and control body movements. “...could lead to advances in studying and treating neurological disease.”
  • Andrew Liptak (The Verge): 18 space suits from science fiction, from worst to best. “Space suits are cool — and complicated.”
  • Mike McRae (Science Alert): This absolutely ginormous asteroid is passing close by Earth in two weeks’ time. If it comes close enough, Javy will swing at it. 4.4 million miles is a pretty big strike zone, though. Joe West would call it.

Thanks for reading. I have a book out, if you like. Cub Tracks will return Tuesday with more news and notes.