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Cub Tracks’ six pack of jacks

Rizzo’s gift, Zobrist’s playing time, Cubbie corn maze, and other bullets

The sixth man
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

CUBS WIN BIG! That’s Cub!

Last time through this station, Cub Tracks swabbed the deck. Not content with the shine, we then lemon-pledged the premises. The brooms are out and the Pirates’ champion ship has just about been scuttled. The Cardinals sprung Leake to the Mariners and look to be waiting for next year. Four games against the Braves are coming up, then another series against the woebegone Bucs before next weekend’s showdown against the Brewers. This promises to be an exciting week —I’ll be pleased to be proven wrong once and for all.

As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1915 - In the first game of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, Cubs' right-hander Jimmy Lavender no-hits the hometown Giants, 2-0.
  • 1935 - In addition to stroking a three-run triple, 28-year-old White Sox Vern Kennedy becomes the sixth rookie to throw a no-hitter. The right-hander's 5-0 gem against the Indians is the first hitless game thrown in Comiskey Park.
  • 1957 - Oriole minor league fireballer Steve Dalkowski strikes out 24 Bluefield players, but issues 18 walks, hits four batters, and uncorks six wild pitches. The New Britain, Connecticut native's wildness costs him the game when Kingsport loses in an Appalachian League contest, 9-8.
  • 1963 - In the bottom of the ninth with two outs at Wrigley Field, Ellis Burton hits a walk-off grand slam off Houston hurler Hal Woodeshick, giving the Cubs a dramatic 6-5 victory. Chicago had been trailing 5-2 before the switch-hitting center fielder hit the most memorable of his 17 career round-trippers.
  • 1974 - In a Class A minor league contest, Mavericks' manager Frank Peters rotates his starting nine so each player takes a different position on the field for every inning. The innovative strategy works as Portland posts an 8-7 victory over the Tri-Cities Ports, their Northwest League opponents.
  • 2010 - Aroldis Chapman makes his much-anticipated major league debut, tossing a perfect inning in the Reds' 8-4 victory over Milwaukee. The 22 year-old Cuban defector lives up to the hype, throwing four pitches at speeds of 100 mph or better.

Cubs news and notes:

The Cubs will activate Jon Lester (shoulder) for Saturday's game but Mike Montgomery will remain in the rotation for the moment and start on Sunday meaning the Cubs will employ six starters. -- Jesse Rogers, ESPN

"I feel I try to do a really good job of keeping baseball in perspective. You go out there between the lines and give it your all, give it your best, and that's all you can do. There's so much more to life than baseball. It's a balance -- you have to learn how to balance that. You have to go out there and have a job to do. I put my heart and soul into baseball, and when I leave the field, I try to just be Anthony, not the baseball player." — Anthony Rizzo via Carrie Muskat (

  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Are the Cardinals waving the white flag? “With just over a month left to play in the 2017 regular season, the Cardinals are putting emphasis on the future, even if they're not fully throwing in the towel.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Wait, are the Cubs the mystery team in on Justin Verlander right now? Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs and Tigers “have remained in constant conversations about the 34-year-old Verlander dating back to early July, according to sources.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jake Arrieta’s Cy-like run since June key for Cubs, but thoughts with Texas. He said he and teammates are providing support to victims.
  • Ben Harris ( Kyle Hendricks out to keep strong form vs. Braves. “Hendricks (5-4, 3.45 ERA) looks to continue a phenomenal second half of the season.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Jose Quintana rebounds on the mound, helps out at the plate for Cubs. “With him, I still think he is settling in," Joe Maddon said.”
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Anthony Rizzo gets choked up after huge donation to Children’s Hospital. “...if you ever root against Anthony Rizzo, you’re probably not a very good person.”
  • Russell Dorsey (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Should the Cubs cut back Ben Zobrist’s playing time? Not now, but “the Cubs are a better team when Baez and Russell are on the field.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Tommy La Stella in good standing with Cubs. "We joke, but this guy can come off the bench and give you a good at-bat," Maddon said.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Another setback for Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. “The Cubs scratched Russell from Wednesday’s Triple-A Iowa lineup after he felt soreness in his right foot and will bring him back to Chicago for an evaluation.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Addison Russell aggravates foot injury, DL return uncertain. “It’s not ideal,” said general manager Jed Hoyer.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Five Cubs players age 25 or younger hit 20-plus homers this season. Ian Happ joins Javier Baez (age 24), Kyle Schwarber (24), Willson Contreras (25) and Kris Bryant (25) in the exclusive club.
  • Northwest Herald: Richardson's in Spring Grove to open Cubs-themed corn maze this weekend. You gotta see this.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will swing back around Sunday, bright and early.