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Cub Tracks defies gravity

Javy pulled, Happ breaks out, KB goes deep, and other bullets

Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Happ whaps two
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Now THAT was more like it. So much for that 0.74 starter ERA, Jarlin Garcia. To coin a phrase, “in media, rest.” I’m not ready for the ledge yet.

Last time around the bend, Cub Tracks rode the rollercoaster of ups and downsides, talking about walks, runs, falling off the edge, and other bullets, poking gentle fun at the hordes of ledge-jumpers in subtext and neglecting once again to provide mood music for the Sunday edition of the Cub Tracks weekly tetralogy. I’ll see what I can do about that last.

It’s a good thing thing that the Cubs are competitive, and it would be nice if they got to having fun (consistently). But...I get it. Losing isn’t much fun when you’re a prisoner of expectations, especially when some of them are yours.

I haven’t seen the backbiting and general sniping and snarkery that to me denote a team in need of a change (or the early 70s Oakland A’s), just a bunch of guys who, in the immortal words of Jim Bouton, are “so tight that you couldn’t pull a needle out of their ass(es) with a tractor.” They all conduct their business with the air of bewigged and powdered jurists and barristers, everything taking on the same gravity as a neutron star in their effort to remain even-keeled.

Hey, black holes, try not to suck!

Professional doesn’t mean Walking Dead. I want to see the Cubs have some fun out there. On a regular basis. Then I’ll know they’re back. And I believe they will be. I’m not going to give up that lede anytime soon. And hey, whoever is in first best lie uneasy under that crown. Now get the funk on out of here, David Haugh.

And now for the news: As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs news and notes:

“We didn’t expect to be in this spot, but we are, and there’s enough time left to show what we’re made of,’’ Cubs President Theo Epstein said before Monday’s game. “We’re obviously more talented than this.’’ — David Haugh.

Big night for longballs for the Cubs. Ian Happ’s three-run blast in the eighth gave him bombs from both sides of the plate tonight. The last Cubs player to do that was catcher Dioner Navarro. He hit one from the right side and two from the left side on May 29, 2013 against the White Sox. Chicago has four homers tonight, with Kris Bryant and Javier Baez both going deep. -- Bradford Doolittle

  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Financial state of the Central: Brewers content to rake in profits (Special Bonus: Daydream Cubs, Pt. 2). “...there was room for improvement.”
  • JJ Stankevitz (NBC Sports Chicago*): Why Theo Epstein isn’t hitting the panic button on the Cubs’ team-wide slump. “Rizz is going to become Anthony Rizzo again and Willson Contreras is going to become Willson Contreras. We’re due for some positive regression at some point. The guys are grinding away and trying to get there,” said Epstein.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Psychobabble could be the answer for the Cubs — or not. “The only thing that really matters is talent, and the Cubs have enough in their clubhouse to snap out of this current funk.” What is up with the Trib columnists and the funky metaphors?
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The contradictory Joe Maddon. “...the way Maddon carries himself in public often screams the exact opposite of “senior citizen.””
  • RJ Anderson (CBS Sports*): Cubs’ Yu Darvish placed on the DL; here’s who is likely to replace him in the rotation. See Bruce Miles’ tweet above.
  • Satchel Price (Chicago Sun-Times*): Darvish donates $10,000 to ALS research in honor of Stephen Piscotty’s mother. Gretchen Piscotty died Sunday night.
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times*): Metrics show Tyler Chatwood not pitching as well as numbers might indicate. Results indicate same.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): How willing is Cubs ownership to back aggressive play for Manny Machado? “...the Cubs expect to talk to the Orioles again about Machado when the worst team in the American League inevitably makes the pending free agent available again in the coming weeks, insiders say.” David Schoenfield adds on.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Hitting or missing? Cubs waiting for change in coaching emphasis to pay off. “It’s just where we are right now,” Maddon said.
  • Barry Rozner (Daily Herald {$}): Man who drafted Chicago Cubs’ Kerry Wood knew he would star. “ was Al Goldis who all along believed there was greatness in the young Texas fireballer.”

Food for thought:

  • Maria Temming (Science News): This self-driving car could one day take you on a real road trip. “A new autonomous navigation system uses laser sensors to ‘see’ where it’s going.”
  • John Timmer (Ars Technica): The material science of building a light sail to take us to Alpha Centauri. “We’re unsure about the best material and don’t have the measurements to know.”
  • Michelle Starr (Science Alert): Scientists have figured out when and how our sun will die, and it’s going to be epic. “Too bad humans won’t be around to see it.”

I’m nearing escape velocity. Thanks for reading.