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Cub Tracks is out to launch

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Javy is Javy, Schwarber is raking, Lester outdueled, and other bullets

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians
damn launch angle
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Last time ‘round, we put some hats on my cats and channeled Kurt Vonnegut while reporting on various happenings within the Cubosphere and without. Today, fresh off a Cubs loss to the Indians, we consider turning on fastballs, preach launch angle and hunt the giant sloth. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing about pummeling iron with lasers today. I’ll try to do better. In the meantime, here’s the news — as always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs news and notes:

A Milwaukee television reporter charged with a felony for allegedly hitting another reporter at a Brewers baseball game is no longer with the station.

WITI-TV reported in a story about its reporter Adair “A.J.” Bayatpour pleading not guilty to substantial battery Tuesday that he “no longer works” for the Fox affiliate.

The 31-year-old Bayatpour is accused of hitting a reporter from another station during the April 6 argument at Miller Park. The altercation happened during a Milwaukee Brewers game against the Cubs.

Bayatpour’s attorney, Julius Kim, confirms to The Associated Press that Bayatpour “was released from his employment contract.” Kim says he believes the charge “doesn’t accurately represent what occurred here.”

WITI general manager Chuck Steinmetz said in an email that the station does not comment on personnel issues. — AP

  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Theo Epstein speaks: Offensive growth, rotation issues, Almora v. Happ, more. Notes from McNeil and Parkins’ interview.
  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): What influence will BAMTech windfall have on Cubs payroll? “The short-term answer is very little.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs hope starting rotation showing signs of thawing as wild first month comes to an end. “In a rotation packed with the resumes and reputations of Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana, it was Tyler Chatwood who became the first Cubs starter to throw a pitch in the seventh inning...”
  • Anthony Castrovince (MLB.com*): Jon Lester, Cubs on wrong end of pitchers’ duel. “...the Cubs did not mount much of a threat...”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): More than a footnote: Cubs Mike Montgomery has bigger plans than trivial pursuit. “I want to be known as a great baseball player for a long time, a great pitcher,” Montgomery said.
  • Matt Snyder (CBS Sports*): Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez are mashing, but their approaches are more impressive than their numbers. “If you didn’t know their numbers, you’d assume by watching them day in and day out that they’re showing massive improvement. And they are.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Why Joe Maddon sees Anthony Rizzo coming out of his slump. “It’s all about the hands.”
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): Launch party: How Cubs infielder David Bote finally got to the majors. “People preach launch angle and it’s literally contact point,” Cubs assistant hitting coach Andy Haines told me.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs are still without Kris Bryant, but insist there’s no need to worry. “He’s not bad, he’s fine,” Maddon said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Bryant to see Cubs’ team doc Thursday before playing status determined. “I’m not hearing anything bad, not at all,” said Maddon.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Behind the scenes of Kyle Schwarber’s World Series comeback. “Schwarber is already onto the next chapter...”
  • Daniel Shepard (Baseball Essential): Schwarber is beginning to look like himself at the plate. “Along with his improved slash line, Schwarber is taking more walks and striking out less.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Turning on fastballs has Jason Heyward looking like his former self at the plate. “Pitchers might want to rethink their strategy of throwing inside heat...”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.