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Cub Tracks digs in

Colvin’s chest, baseball by the numbers, the future of computing, and other bullets

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
I can dig it.
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

Last time around Cub Tracks did a spit take. This time around, Cub Tracks holds unpopular opinions, as usual. This time, I say that baseball is not math. It is not science, at least not entirely. It is art, influenced by chaotic impulses and affected by individual efforts.

In other news, a brachiosaur is small at one end, thicker in the middle, and small again at the other end.

Kind of like the odds of the Cardinals or the Brewers making the playoffs. Do the math.

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

Today in baseball history:

  • 1929 - Joe Sewell sets a major league record by playing in his 115th consecutive game without striking out. The Indian third baseman will be fanned only four times in 578 at-bats during this season.
  • 1935 - The Cubs win their 16th consecutive game as they beat Carl Hubbell, completing a four-game sweep of the Giants. The mark is the most since the 1924 Dodgers won 15 straight games.
  • 1955 - Cubs' infielder Ernie Banks hit his fifth grand slam of the season to establish a new major league mark, but Rip Repulski's 12th inning homer off of Jim Davis proves to be the difference as the Cardinals beat Chicago, 6-5.
  • 1980 - At Tiger Stadium, Al Kaline becomes the first player in franchise history to have his uniform number retired. The Hall-of-Famer, who wore the number 6, roamed the outfield for Detroit from 1953 to 1974.
  • 2010 - Standing on third base, Tyler Colvin's chest is punctured when he is hit by a piece of Welington Castillo's shattered maple bat. The Cubs' rookie outfielder, who will not play another game this season, scores on his teammate's double, but leaves the game in the bottom half of the inning to be taken to a hospital.

Cubs news and notes:

Anthony Rizzo is one of 6 finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award given out to a player who "inspires others to higher levels of achievement by their on-field performances and contributions to their communities." The finalists were picked via fan voting while the winner will be chosen by MLB players and announced in November. Rizzo is also a finalist for the Roberto Clemente award which will be announced during the World Series. — Jesse Rogers (ESPN)

  • Bernie Miklasz (101 Sports): Joe Maddon and the Cubs have successfully intimidated Mike Matheny and the Cardinals. “The flashpoint, and the turning point, occurred in September 2015.”
  • Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times): Joe Maddon returns: What he stirs in Rays fans. “Joe Maddon taught us that in baseball, as in life, being able to rely on your fellow man is key.”
  • Sean Holland (Cubs Den): It's magic...numbers. This part is math.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon should have the last laugh on this Cubs season. “This is an organization working as one,” Maddon said.
  • Phil Rogers ( Cubs' success has been a team effort. “Theo Epstein and Co.'s shrewdness after amassing depth paying off.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Kyle Hendricks is incredible, nearly smiles. “Hendricks has been nothing short of fantastic for the Cubs down the stretch...”
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Getting it Duensing! Lefty delivers. “Brian Duensing has had a great year,” Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Cubs can't afford to abandon hope on Justin Wilson in ailing bullpen. "Clearly I need to pitch better so I can pitch more," Wilson said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Wade Davis not concerned with save streak. He “would prefer to count his saves once the season is over...”
  • Joe Reed (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Crucial Cubs catchers; Potential playoff roster implications. “Willson Contreras and Alex Avila are obvious locks for the October roster, but Rene Rivera is far more of a question mark...”
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times*): BASEBALL BY THE NUMBERS: Framing an issue for Cubs catcher Contreras. “Cubs pitchers lose an average of 1.38 percent strikes per game when Contreras is behind the plate...”
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs have no second thoughts: It's Addison Russell at short, Javier Baez at 2B. "All the boxes are checked right now," Russell said.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Albert Almora Jr. just keeps on scorching, whomever he faces. “Since August 1, Almora has slashed .349/.364/.535 with a solid .186 ISO, (five doubles, a triple, and three homers) and a massive 25 RBI.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): The Jason Heyward dilemma: big contract, big defense, struggling offense. “...the Cubs would like to see a more substantial return on the lofty investment they made...”

Food for thought:

  • Stephanie Pappas (Live Science): 500-million-year-old creature looks like space alien in re-creation. “Agnostus pisiformis is an index fossil used to accurately date the layers of rocks where it is found.”
  • Fiona MacDonald (Science Alert): BREAKING: Light has been stored as sound for the first time. “The future of computing depends on it.”
  • Susan Karlin (Fast Company): Cassini’s dead, but its science—and its pursuit of alien life—lives on. “The discoveries Cassini has made over the past 13 years in orbit have rewritten textbooks of Saturn...”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will be back Thursday with more Cubs new, notes, and narratives.