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Cub Tracks sees stars

up in the zone, a day of infamy, an enhanced future, and other bullets

Looking Grimm
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CUBS lose big. What a kick in the head.

The last time through the turnstiles, Cub Tracks gutted one out, as the Cubs claimed a victory over the Pirates. Had the Cubs remained Happless, perhaps they wouldn’t have done so. I love how Ian shows up against the hometown nine. It knocks me out.

Would like to see him play less often (see below**), especially at second base, where he isn’t the greatest defender, but his bat and eye deserve a spot over the waning skills of Ben Zobrist (imo). Have seen this sentiment in the comments, and I agree. But then I thought Zobrist would be traded, expecting that kind of downturn and anticipating a different reaction on the part of the Cubs’ brain-trust.

**Being wrong is a particular specialty here at Cub Tracks, and we are proud to carry on our own tradition, if it helps the team. In this spirit, we are glad to announce that the Cubs will not win any games in the postseason, and most especially will not make it into and win the World Series.

The Cubs left their bats in Pittsburgh, apparently, or so Jesse Rogers says. It sure looked like it yesterday. Ugh. Some days you get your butt kicked and it looks like one of those Warner Brothers cartoons with smoke and flying body parts. Al has the sordid details in his recap.

Today (a historical day of infamy***) the Cubs go for a consolation win in the last game of the series against the Brewers. Here are some words of wisdom to occupy you for the nonce. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1881 - At Haymakers' Grounds, future Hall of Fame first baseman Roger Connor becomes the first major leaguer to hit a grand slam, giving the Troy Trojans a 7-4 walk-off victory over the Worcester Ruby Legs. The 23-year-old Waterbury, CT native's sayonara slam, a home run which wins a game when a team is down by three runs in the bottom of the final inning, comes with two outs.
  • 1914 - Braves' shortstop Johnny Evers is suspended for three days after swearing at umpire Mal Eason. The Boston captain, who has been banned by the league on several occasions this season, claims he was talking to the ball and not to the arbitrator.
  • 1963 - In the first inning of an 8-0 rout of the Cubs at Sportsman's Park, Cardinals left fielder Stan Musial becomes the first grandfather in big-league history to hit a home run. The 42-year-old new grandpa accomplishes the feat in his first at-bat since the birth of his grandson earlier in the day.
  • 1963 - In the Mets' 4-2 victory over the Giants at the Polo Grounds, Carlton Willey retires the side in order, getting all three Alou brothers - Jesus, Matty and Felipe - to make an out. The Dominican trio become the first three siblings to bat consecutively in the same inning.
  • 1967 - At Candlestick Park, San Francisco hurler Gaylord Perry's 40-inning team record consecutive scoreless streak comes to an end as the Cubs score an unearned run in the seventh inning of a 2-1 victory over Fergie Jenkins and the Cubs.
  • 1969 - ***At Shea Stadium, the Mets move into first place for the first time in their history. The Amazins, with their doubleheader sweep of Montreal, a 3-2 win in 12 innings in the opener and a 7-1 victory in the nightcap, take a one-game lead over the second-place Cubs, who dropped a 6-2 decision to the Phillies.
  • 1980 - Bill Gullickson struck out eighteen - the most ever by a rookie - as the Montreal Expos beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-2.
  • 2007 - By hitting his 20th home run of the season, Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies breaks Ernie Banks' National League rookie record for most home runs by a shortstop in a single season. The Cubs Hall-of-Famer, who compiled a total of 512 homers, hit 19 dingers as a freshman in 1954.

Cubs news and notes:

“They think they’re the team to beat. And they come to play and act like it. So it just kind of reminds us that we really gotta bring it against them.” — Mike Montgomery

That’s sad. It didn’t look that bad, but I guess it was.

Willson Contreras (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with 2 walks in his final rehab game with Class-A Myrtle Beach. He'll return to Chicago but the Cubs still haven't said when he'll return to the lineup. They may continue to work him at Wrigley Field before declaring him ready. — Jesse Rogers, ESPN

The Cubs 14 run deficit is the most they've trailed in a game since June 27, 2012. They lost that game to the Mets, 17-1. — Jesse Rogers, ESPN

  • CSN Chicago: Joe Maddon “It started bad, it got worse...” [VIDEO].
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs giving Brewers life in race to the postseason. "It kind of reminds us, these guys don't look at us as the team to beat," Saturday's losing pitcher, Mike Montgomery, said after the rout.
  • Paul Rumeliotis (CSN Chicago*): John Lackey trending in the right direction at the right time for Cubs. “I was up in the zone a little bit, but my arm just felt great. Physically it felt great,” he said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Sharp sub Montgomery has 'one of those days'. "He's been pitching well overall," Maddon said. "Against this team, I'm seeing him not hitting the strike zone."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): The Rundown: Cubs not optimistic about Addison Russell’s return, Zobrist doesn’t suck. “He could be out the rest of the year. He could be back. I don’t know,” said Joe Maddon.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Russell pain-free, but timetable unchanged. "We have not accelerated anything as of now," Maddon said. Also this. "It's coming along pretty smoothly," Russell said. "It's the third day in a row of running, and each day I come in and my foot is feeling better."
  • David Just (Chicago Sun-Times*): Addison Russell offers the only good news on a bad day at Wrigley. “Russell was on the field running and doing agility drills before Saturday’s game against the Brewers.”
  • Adrian Garro, Carrie Muskat (Cut Four): The Brewers cobbled together a Javier Baez baseball doll, and Baez got a kick out of it. They were making fun of my hair," he said. “ was pretty funny.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Reigning MVP Kris Bryant suddenly underrated. “Any way you slice it, we’re looking at an elite player at the position (something that was already known) that has somehow managed to slip to a level of becoming criminally underrated.”
  • Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Affiliate year-end review: Iowa Cubs producing MLB-ready talent. “...most of the roster will be turned over in 2018.”

Food for thought:

  • Dr. Alexander Lees (BBC News): Science debate: Should we embrace an enhanced future? Transhumanism under scrutiny.
  • Kat McGowan (Popular Science): A new finding raises an old question: Where and when did life begin? “Geologists are analyzing ancient clues to tell our origin story.”
  • Annalee Newitz (ars technica): The mysterious Voynich manuscript has finally been decoded. “History researcher says that it's a mostly plagiarized guide to women's health.”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Tuesday at the regular time.