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Cub Tracks’ nacho average ball game

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Milo and the Eck, no more scoreboard watching, footprint thief, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals
tortilla chip shot
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

CUBS WIN! Addison Russell makes new friends!

In our previous edition, Cub Tracks noted that it was a doggone shame the Cubs had to lose a game in Milwaukee. This was profusely illustrated with bad frankfurter puns, for which we do not apologize. We mustered all that we could, however, and will desist this time around, lest anyone get steamed about it. Don’t get your buns in an uproar! It’s nacho fault — the responsibility is mine.

The Magic Number is 1. One Brewer loss, one Cubs win. Either/or. I like the way that’s sliced. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1908 - Cubs right-hander Ed Reulbach pitches two shutouts in the same day, whitewashing the Brooklyn Superbas in the opener 5-0 on a five-hitter and 3-0 on a three hits in the nightcap. The entire Washington Park doubleheader is played in less than three hours.
  • 1926 - In his final day in a Tiger uniform, Ty Cobb watches his replacement in centerfield get six hits in a twin bill against the Red Sox. Heinie Manush's perfect performance at the plate places him ahead of Yankee slugger Babe Ruth for the American League batting title, .378 to .372.
  • 1961 - The Reds, with an 8-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, clinch their first National League pennant since 1940. Cincinnati will lose the World Series to the Yankees, 4 games to 1.
  • 1998 - Dennis Eckersley, playing for the final time last major leagues, pitches in his 1,071st game, breaking Hoyt Wilhelm's major league mark for the most career pitching appearances. The 'Eck' finishes his 24-year career, tossing a one-run ninth inning in the Red Sox' 5-2 loss to Baltimore at Fenway Park.
  • 2012 - Milo Hamilton, after 63 years of doing play-by-play, calls his final game, painting the word picture of his Astros beating St. Louis at Minute Maid Park, 2-0. The Hall of Fame broadcaster, who also worked for the Browns, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox, Braves, and Pirates before starting his 28-year tenure with Houston, gives an inspirational farewell speech during the seventh-inning stretch, receiving a standing ovation from the fans at the ballpark.
  • Happy birthday, Dave Martinez.

Cubs news and notes:

Coming off several rough outings in a row, Jon Lester did his job on Monday, holding the Cardinals to a run over six innings on 5 hits and 4 strikeouts. He gave up some hard hit balls, including a HR, but he never gave in, proving himself playoff capable. Or as close to it as he can be this late in the year after some struggles. — Jesse Rogers (ESPN)

  • Jay Jaffe (Sports Illustrated*): The Cubs have overcome their slow start, but pitching issues linger as the playoffs near. “...the bullpen has become more of a concern.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs, Cards likely to answer Central question. “No more scoreboard watching.”
  • Bernie Miklasz (101 Sports): The Cubs come to Busch, giddy in anticipation of celebrating in the Cardinals’ house. “It will be nice to do it there, I’ll just say that,” said Ben Zobrist.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Clinch-mode Cubs shove rival Cardinals to the precipice of 2017 abyss. “We love the Cardinals, and we don’t like to see the Cubs win. And we especially don’t want to see them win here,” said Trevor Rosenthal.
  • Dave Sheinan (Washington Post): This sure isn’t 2016: Cubs’ postseason rotation is anything but a lock. “...nothing has come as easily for them in 2017.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jake Arrieta seeks clincher, soaks in personal countdown with Cubs. “I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity, if it is my last with this organization, and really make the most of it,” Arrieta said.
  • Eno Sarris (Fangraphs): The weirdest thing about Jon Lester’s season. “...a pitcher’s release point drops as he ages, and he trades vertical movement for horizontal movement in the process.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Jon Lester nacho problem for Cubs on night of good news, better vibe. “Lester pounded the vicinity of the strike zone with a steady diet of fastballs...”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jose Quintana’s ‘career-altering’ game has Cubs planning clinch party in St. Louis. “Once he got over here, he was really jacked up about having a chance to play in the playoffs,” manager Joe Maddon said.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Jose Quintana has been striking out everyone in sight. “Q’s change-up and curveball have improved dramatically...”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus) Kyle Schwarber is now as dangerous as any Cub hitter. “...he’s combating a low BABIP by just mashing balls over the fence.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jason Heyward knows how sweet it will be for Cubs to clinch in front of Cardinals. “But I want to wreck the American League clubhouse or Wrigley at the end of the year,” Heyward said.
  • Patrick M. O’Connell (Chicago Tribune* {$}): The tale of Bobby Doerr's brick cottage and the back door to Wrigley. “Grandson recalls childhood visits when he would pick out a seat in grandstand, linger in workshop under left field bleachers, frolic on the field.”

Food for thought:

  • Kendra Pierre-Louis (Science Alert): A warming Arctic can actually make our winters colder. About the “polar vortex”.
  • Ann Gibbons (Science): Neandertals, like humans, may have had long childhoods. “Our distant ancestors, such as the famous fossil Lucy and other australopithecines, matured quickly and died young like chimps.”
  • Mindy Weisberger (Live Science): Fossil-footprint thief couldn't outrun the law. “It's still unclear what the thief's intentions were for the stolen fossils...”

And with that, I’ll make tracks. Thanks for reading.