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Cub Tracks’ better batter

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Scrapple loaf, the six-man rotation, wild yeasts, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v Philadelphia Phillies
La Stellar start
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Cubs Win! Many runs! Not so much RHYS HOSKINS.

The previous edition had Cub Tracks in the flesh. Today’s getaway classic will feature the last game against the Phillies in 2017, and hopefully a Cub victory and perhaps a few helpings of scrapple loaf as the team steams toward a September stretch run with the Pirates and the Braves due in at the Friendly Confines this coming week.

Seven out of the next 10 are against Pittsburgh and 10 of the next thirteen feature NL Central opponents -- in fact the Rays and the Mets are the only non-division foes for the rest of the regular season.

So these may be pivotal tilts. Last night’s game was so THAT’S CUB that I had to watch it twice, nearly missing part of Svengoolie in the process. My six-week-old kitten Edgar would never forgive me for that as the feature was Murders in the Rue Morgue, with Bela Lugosi in the cast...which brings us back around to bats.

Didja know that the reason why vampires can’t see themselves is because mirrors used to be made of silver-backed glass? And that silver is no longer used...bloody nuisance, that science stuff.

Nice of the Cubs to score as many runs as there are grains of sand on a typical beach. Let’s hope they didn’t use them all up. I prefer the better batter to the bitter butter of losing to bad teams, which makes me think of pancakes and little sausages instead of rubber chickens, Rich Koz, and Kerwin from Berwyn.

Let’s hold that thought, St. Alphonso, and watch out for the margarine thief. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1897 - Washington Senator (NL) right-hander Roger Bresnahan makes his major league debut, shutting out the St. Louis Browns 3-0, en route to posting a perfect 4-0 record along with a 3.95 ERA that season. The 18 year-old's pitching time on the mound will be short-lived when the 'The Duke Of Tralee' switches to behind the plate to start a Hall of Fame career as catcher.
  • 1937 - Dodger right-hander Fred Frankhouse holds the Reds hitless for 7⅔ innings before a heavy downpour ends the Ebbets Field contest permanently. The right-hander's 5-0 victory will be one of the 31 "no-no's" that are erased when MLB redefines a no-hitter in 1991 as a “game in which a pitcher throws nine innings or more without giving up a hit.”
  • 1941 - Charlie Root, best known for giving up Babe Ruth's 'called' home run, becomes the first pitcher to win 200 games in a Cubs uniform. The 42-year-old right-hander, after being summoned in relief from the bullpen in the first inning, completes the game, getting the victory when the team comes from behind to beat Boston at Braves Field, 6-4.
  • 1952 - The Dodgers set the National League mark for consecutive games with a double play when they complete a twin killing in their twenty-third straight contest, a 10-5 loss to Chicago at Wrigley Field. The fifth inning 1-4-3 DP, pitcher Clyde King to second baseman Jackie Robinson to first baseman Gil Hodges, leaves Brooklyn two shy of the major league record.
  • 1960 - Ernie Banks knocks in his 100th run of the season when he grounds out in the first inning of the Cubs' 5-4 victory over Philadelphia at Wrigley Field. The Chicago infielder, who will end his MVP season with 117 RBIs, will be the last National League shortstop to reach the milestone until Hubie Brooks accomplishes the feat with the Expos in 1985.
  • 2001 - Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, with his 17th dinger this month, ties the National League record for August homers, established by Willie Mays in 1965. Tiger first baseman Rudy York set the major league mark, going yard 18 times in the eighth month of 1937.

Cubs news and notes:

“The trendy thing is to lay the barrel back and hit it deep, but we know the damage in the major leagues is done nine to 18 inches in front of home plate. You don’t hit the ball deep, that’s the down part of your swing, because all the metrics show those are ground balls if you hit the ball deep.” — Andy Haines, Cubs hitting coordinator.


Tommy La Stella has a .983 OPS, tops on the Cubs. — ESPN


John and Laurie Rizzo were honored in Williamsport on Saturday as the Little League Parents of the Year. Long before Anthony became a World Series champion, his mom and dad juggled career and parenting duties to help coach his Parkland (Fla.) Little League teams.

"We're nobodies. We know we're just representatives of all the parents of Little League teams," John said. "We're lucky enough to have a kid in the pros. Otherwise, we're nobody special." — Mike McCormick, MLB.com

  • Mike Cranston (CSN Philly*): Struggling Nick Pivetta to make Sunday start vs. Cubs. “I think we need to upgrade,” said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.
  • Charlie Roumeliotis (CSN Chicago*): The Cubs made sure everybody in Philadelphia went home with a souvenir. “There's no better way to bust out of an offensive slump than to launch baseballs out of the ballpark.” This!
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon unsure whether Cubs will employ six-man rotation down the stretch. "It's going to be a combination of evaluating each guy at that point, and then making our best call," Maddon said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs wondering what to expect from Jose Quintana. “...he has proven he can be dominant, and using that curveball more efficiently might help.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Jose Quintana’s increased sinker usage might be hurting curveball. “At the start of August, Quintana became a sinker-ball pitcher, forgoing his typical 40 percent four-seamer usage in favor of the sinker.”
  • Steven Pianovich (MLB.com): 'Carl's Jr.' letting colorful cleats do talking. “Carl Edwards, Jr has had his nickname his whole life.”
  • Darius Austin (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The surprisingly elite Alex Avila. “One member of the Cubs lineup was the best hitter at his position in the entire league in the first half of the season.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Too much flash? Javier Baez ‘not going to change’ for old-school critics. “I’m not going to change because somebody doesn’t like it,” said Baez.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Has Javy Baez established a long-term position? “...it’s certainly worth exploring what the best role for him is...”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Game of feet? Could be matter of days before Russell returns from DL. “...he’ll be evaluated Monday to determine if he’s ready to start a minor-league rehab assignment.”
  • Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): The one stain on Kris Bryant’s record. “...Bryant has baseball’s very lowest Clutch score.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs’ injury updates make Joe Maddon feel good. ‘‘Everything’s pointing in the right direction right now,” Maddon said.

Food for thought:

  • Tina Hesman Saey (Science News): Wild yeasts are brewing up batches of trendy beers. “Using scavenged microbes for fermentation brings out the funky and sour flavors...”
  • Matthew Hutson (Science): Mini-antennas could power brain-computer interfaces, medical devices. “...like a guitar string, an antenna can also resonate with acoustic waves.”
  • Rachel Feltman (Popular Science): Uranus is probably full of giant diamonds. “Despite their name, ice giants are actually hot...” At least on the inside.

Thanks for reading. Cubs Tracks will return Tuesday with more of this.