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Cub Tracks rolls a crooked number

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Father and son, make or break, weird world, and other bullets

New York Mets v Chicago Cubs
It goes to eleven
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

CUBS WIN! Runs aplenty!

Last time around, Cub Tracks got some exorcise. That should come in handy after consuming the meat loaf, though things nearly came to a Grimm end in the top of the 8th. Perhaps tonight we can get some gravy and mashed swept onto our plates, if the Cubs haven’t run out of runs after last night’s explosion of offense. Al will have the details in his recap.

Good luck to Jen-Ho Tseng in his first-ever major-league start. Let’s hope he tsilences the Mets’ bats. Big weekend coming up after that, with the Redbirds coming to town. The season is winding up to a tremendous conclusion.

Plenty of chit-chat about this and that — read all about it! As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1913 - Despite giving up fourteen hits, Cubs' pitcher Larry Cheney blanks the Giants, 7-0. It is the first time a team has been shut out after collecting that many hits.
  • 1978 - Notching his last major league victory (62-63), Jim Bouton wins a major league game for the first time since 1970. The 39-year-old 'Bulldog' limits San Francisco to three hits in six innings of work in the Braves' 4-0 victory.
  • 1986 - Bob Brenly, usually a catcher, ties a major league record by making four errors in one inning playing third base. The Giants infielder makes amends by hitting two homers, including the ninth inning game-winner that gives San Francisco a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Atlanta Braves at Candlestick Park.
  • 1990 - Mariner Ken Griffey and his son, Junior, become the first father and son to hit homers in the same major league game. The back-to-back blasts are given up by Angel hurler Kirk McCaskill.
  • 1994 - Due to the strike, 26 of the 28 MLB team owners vote to cancel the remainder of the season, making baseball the first major professional sport to lose an entire postseason due to a labor strife. The 232-day work stoppage will result in 948 games being cancelled, shortening both the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
  • 2008 - Carlos Zambrano becomes the first Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Milt Pappas accomplished the feat against the Padres in 1972. The Chicago right-hander's 5-0 hitless gem comes at the expense of the displaced Astros, who are playing a relocated 'home game' in Milwaukee's Miller Park as a result of Hurricane Ike.
  • 2014 - With Cub runners on first and second in the fourth inning of the team's 7-3 victory over Chicago, the Pirates turn an 5-4-3 around-the-horn triple play when third baseman Josh Harrison fields Matt Szczur's hard grounder, stepping on the bag to force Chris Valaika before firing the ball to second to Neil Walker to retire Mike Olt. The second baseman's relay to first sacker Andrew Lambo completes the first triple killing in the 14-year history of PNC Park.

Cubs news and notes:

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon's reaction to Brewers-Marlins series moving to Milwaukee. “I have no issues with it. None,” he said.
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN*): Who will be the Cubs’ Game One starter? Jon Lester or Jake Arrieta?
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): With 18 games to go, the 6 remaining playoff scenarios for the Cubs. “...the NL playoff picture is as fuzzy as a UHF station on an old Zenith.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jake Arrieta’s injury timeline could make or break Cubs’ playoff shot. Tuesday, Arrieta played catch for the second time since suffering an injury to his right hamstring.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Cubs made the move now with Jen-Ho Tseng. “Trying to stabilize their bullpen, hoping for a spark and showing faith in their most advanced pitching prospect...”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Koji Uehara nearing return after knee infection. “...he threw a simulated game on Wednesday and may be able to return to action by Friday.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Anthony Rizzo’s reality check for anyone doubting Cubs now. “We’re in first place,” Rizzo said.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Kris Bryant's laser focus could be key to unlocking Cubs offense. “I didn’t even know there was negativity around,” said Bryant.
  • Sean Holland (Cubs Insider): Kris Bryant isn’t clutch and I couldn’t care less. “The bottom five in order are: Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Ramirez, Kris Bryant, and Aaron Judge.”
  • Gaynor Hall (WGN-TV): Kris Bryant sending thank-you notes to Cubs fans who sent him wedding gifts. “...thank-you cards from him and his wife Jessica.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Kyle Schwarber becoming driving force again. “I’m not worried about (starting),” Schwarber told Kelly Crull.
  • ESPN: Ian Happ: It all starts with the preparation [AUDIO].
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs might have a looming contact problem. “...the Cubs will be facing tougher pitching, putting a premium on not striking out.”
  • Steve Adams (MLB Trade Rumors): Cubs designate Pierce Johnson for assignment. “...in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Jen-Ho Tseng.”
  • Larry Hawley (WGN-TV): Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies discuss the Cubs’ stretch run on Sports Feed [VIDEO].
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Ernie Broglio (of Lou Brock trade) on cancer, Cubs, Cardinals and infamy. "I enjoyed my drinking, and that's why I didn't enjoy day baseball," Broglio said.
  • Rich Cohen (Sports Illustrated): The chilling story of Eddie Waitkus and his encounter with an obsessed Cubs fan. “...a bellboy told him a message was waiting at the desk. It was written on hotel stationery.”
  • The Onion: Man must think it enough to wear Blackhawks Jersey at Cubs game. Has game-thread words.

Food for thought:

  • Tracy Staedter (Live Science): Stretchy artificial 'skin' could give robots a sense of touch. “Like human skin, the material is able to sense strain, pressure and temperature, according to the researchers.”
  • Hannah Devlin (The Guardian): Much ado about nothing: ancient Indian text contains earliest zero symbol. “...one of the greatest conceptual breakthroughs in mathematics has been traced to the Bakhshali manuscript, dating from the 3rd or 4th century.”
  • Mike Wall (Space.com): Weird world: Titanium spied in giant alien planet's skies. “If enough titanium oxide is present, the stuff can keep heat from entering or exiting an atmosphere...”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will be back in time for Sunday brunch.