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Cub Tracks gathers moss

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This is what the Cubs are, hot and cold running takes, Happless, and other bullets

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

“Me, I go from one extreme to another...” — Martin Fry.

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just wonder. Last episode was one where there were no wonders on the field and plenty of things to wonder about in an article written in the key of life.

One of the wonders these days is whether or not there will actually be Cubs baseball any time soon. Somebody has clearly angered the baseball gods in charge of weather, and whether or not we’re able to assign the blame™, there are going to have to be some sacrifices made.

MLB upset the Baseball Gods and is now feeling their wrath. — Oilcandroid.

I understand Pier One has a sale on wicker.

Once the games begin, the Cubs need to start winning, or heads will roll. Who’s for cake?

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

Cubs news and notes:

This is what the Cubs are — accept it

While we’re less than two years removed from the Cubs ending their World Series drought, it’s starting to feel like it’s been 108 years.

While 2017’s early season woes can be attributed — and even forgiven — to a World Series victory hangover, the Cubs have done nothing to answer questions that need to be answered early in 2018. Their rotation is bad; only Kyle Hendricks has a sub-4.40 ERA. Meanwhile, Yu Darvish hasn’t been good, pitching to a 6.00 ERA (5.19 FIP), adding another question mark to the staff. Can Darvish figure it out over the next five months? I’m not sure. Just doesn’t seem like enough time.

Kyle Schwarber put up 30 bombs last year and somehow managed to put up a 0.0 bWAR and an OPS+ of 98 in 2017. While he’s off to a better start in 2018, the jury is still out on him. Does anybody really know what Kyle Schwarber is as a ballplayer?

It’s a good thing the Cubs had a great finish in 2017, going 49-25 in the second half and finally looking like the team they were supposed to be for the next decade. If not, fans would be calling for heads to roll and begging for trades (if we’re not there already).

This is it — the end of the Cubs “dynasty,” and it’s going out with a bigger thud than the latest Nickelback album. If they keep this up, they could be sellers at the deadline. — Joe Rivera (Sporting News)

Anthony Rizzo said, “I have an opinion, and Kap is one of my good friends on the radio, so I’ve been talking to him for three to four years now. It’s just me talking as a normal person and obviously it gets a little blown up now.

“It’s just my humble opinion. Do I think that we need to do that? No. It’s just my opinion. And like I also said in the interview, I play first base. So I know my lane.”

“I know where Anthony is coming from on this stuff. Right now everything is highlighted because of the weather. Next year it might be 80 degrees on this particular day. You never know.” — Joe Maddon.

  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Daily WGN Cubs-Sox baseball telecasts in 1948 spurred TV’s growth. “Too bad a WGN engineer did not set up a kinescope...”
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): When it comes to conclusions on the Cubs after 15 games, best to avoid extremes. “...temptation tilts Chicago toward either desperation or denial...”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): 10 (very) cold, hard numbers that tell the story of the Cubs’ first 15 games. “The Cubs (7-8) by the numbers...”
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): Like the weather, the Cubs have to get better eventually. “It’s gonna happen,” Maddon said.
  • Connor Johnson (Cubs Insider): Cubs pitching-heavy payroll structure will need to shift in coming years. “...the Cubs will have to account for significant arbitration raises and/or extension for Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, and Willson Contreras, just to name a few.”
  • Satchel Price (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs land seven on ESPN’s Top 100 MLB players rankings. “The Cubs have one of the most talented rosters in all of baseball.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Starts and fits: Cubs’ vaunted, rebuilt rotation coming up short in early going. “I think we knew that it was going to be hard early to get length out of our starters,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. Jesse Rogers (ESPN) adds on.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Tyler Chatwood’s extremely rare outing and razor thin margin for success. “...just two pitchers in the last decade managed to strike out seven and walk seven in fewer than 5.0 innings last year...”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Carl Edwards Jr., self-actualized. “Being in this game longer and longer, sooner or later, you know what you need to do to go out there and get outs,” Edwards said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs top pick Brendon Little no longer thrown for a curve after going on wild amateur journey. “When all things are clicking, he throws 90 to 95 mph with life at the plate,” Jason McLeod said.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Javy Baez fixing weakness against high heat. “...this is a trend worth monitoring and we should give kudos to both player and hitting coach for the early results.” More Baez, by Evan Altman.
  • Daniel Shepard (Baseball Essential): Baez is beginning to grow into an All-Star. “Even though Baez is swinging at fewer pitches outside of the zone, when he does swing at those pitches he is making more contact.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Addison Russell’s early-season plate discipline showing signs of big improvements. “...the nitty-gritty numbers actually suggest he’s seeing pitches well.”
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Could Bryant be Mike Schmidt? “Bryant could be one of the best third basemen of all time.”
  • Paul Rumeliotis (NBC Sports Chicago*): Ozzy Guillen says Bryant is his favorite player to watch. “I love this guy, since the first day he was coming in,” Guillen said Tuesday.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Time for Cubs to see what Albert Almora Jr. can do. “Albert’s been wonderful,” Maddon said.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Ian Happ sucks right now and it’s obvious what the Cubs should do with him. “After 13 games Happ has a 47.2% strikeout rate in 53 plate appearances.”
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jason Heyward is going through them changes. “Heyward’s actually trending up in some ways?”
  • Tommy Bich (Des Moines Register* {$}): Chicago Cubs’ top prospect Adbert Alzolay joins Iowa Cubs. No AA for AA.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon seeks a blend of art and baseball in his charitable effort. “I don’t think we use technology enough in order to reach out,” said Maddon.
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Theo Epstein must love this Bryce Harper contract projection. “... if you don’t want Harper on the team as a Cubs fan, then stop watching baseball.”
  • Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts ... juggler? [VIDEO].
  • Joseph T DeClercq (Athletics Nation): Trevor Cahill: Old, yet somehow new. “He’s inducing more swinging strikes than ever and still getting ground balls at high rate...”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.