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Cub Tracks’ too little, too late

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Easy Ed’s favorite memory, seeing red, leave Yu alone, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals
We need some runs
Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

Ack! Cubs lose to the dreaded red birds, 3-2. Nice late comeback, though. Miles Mikolas is pretty good, I guess. Cubs couldn’t hit him at all. Get those Cardinals today!

In our last installment, Cub Tracks remembered that we still love Yu, despite his mediocre pitching so far as a Cub, and featured articles about baseball the healer, cement shoes, and other bullets. Today we have a little bit about everyone, light on the hot takes, heavy on the 20 strikeouts game anniversary (I saw it on tv. Did you?). As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs news and notes:

“Honestly, I think Willson Contreras is one of the best catchers [around]. Two games ago, you would have thought it was a nice combo. And then Yu had a tough time, and now all of a sudden, it’s the catcher’s fault.

“It has nothing to do with the catcher. Would you all write that down? It has nothing to do with the catcher.” — Joe Maddon via Patrick Mooney {$}.

Joe Maddon was asked about his young players not taking more walks.Albert Almora and Javier Baez are stuck on 6 for the season with just 2 of those being unintentional for Baez: “Why do scorpions bite? It’s their nature. Why do young guys like that, swing? Because its their nature. How do you change that? You have to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk....They can get better but in the meantime you have to be patient. -- Jesse Rogers

  • Gordon Wittenmyer/Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Is the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry as compelling with the Cubs on top? “Yu kidding me?”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): The latest ZiPS playoff odds see the Cubs at a 56% chance to win the NL Central. “...ZiPS does not hate the Pirates, likes the Brewers, and loves the Cardinals.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): What we learned about the Cubs in the first month-plus of the 2018 season. “The main concern at this point is health...”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs entering ‘constructive criticism’ phase with Yu Darvish. “Now we’re ready to say things in a really constructive matter, where the constructive criticism flows with no pushback from either side,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Patrick Mooney (Sports Mockery): Hey you, leave Yu alone! “It’s understandable that the Cubs’ shiny new free agent toy has been expected to perform up to his reputation right out of the gate. Fair or not, bigger salaries bring on bigger expectations.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): A look inside Brandon Morrow’s path to become Cubs closer. “He might have thrown the best game I’ve ever seen that was not a no-hitter in Toronto a couple years ago,” Maddon said.
  • Chris De Luca (Chicago Sun-Times*): A look back on the fallout from Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game 20 years later. “Jim Riggleman carries the burden with him to this day.”
  • Grant Brisbee (SB Nation): Ranking all of Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout pitches from 1998. “It’s the 20th anniversary of Kerry Wood announcing his existence to the world. Let’s argue about which pitches were the nastiest.”
  • Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated): Kerry Wood’s 20-Strikeout outing is the greatest pitching performance ever...and I missed it. “...105, the highest score ever for a nine-inning game.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Dillon Maples posting absurd strikeout numbers at AAA. “Maples scoffs at the laws of physics...”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs mix up lineup back to ‘what it should look like’. “...[Almora and Baez] provided the energy we were looking for, absolutely, but long-term, I think it’s gonna be wise to bounce them back in the order and not just rely on them there,” Maddon said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Willson Contreras’ wedding catches Maddon by surprise. “I owe him a gift,” said Maddon.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Anthony Rizzo’s slow start not much more than bad luck. “...there doesn’t seem to be cause for a lot of concern.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Kris Bryant envisions even wider adoption of protective helmet flap. “I think it’s going to be something that a lot of guys [start wearing],” Bryant said.
  • Jeff Burdick (Cubs Insider): Would Manny Machado’s elite bat actually improve Cubs’ playoff chances? “Just not enough increased playoff win probability to justify (the) price.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Terrific -- and terrifying: How Albert Almora Jr. turns doubles into outs. “When the ball is in the air, everything slows down,” Almora said.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading!