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Cub Tracks calls it a night

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Try the radio, let’s play two, the closest thing to Earth, and other bullets

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
Roll-on, roll-off
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

#narrative

Dodgers-Cubs opener ppd; split DH Tuesday

“Dealing with the Dodgers will be a good test for the Cubs, but manager Joe Maddon doesn’t place more emphasis on this series.

”I really try to refrain from that because I think there’s a trap in that,” Maddon said Monday. “If you set it up that way and it doesn’t go well, you think it’s doom and gloom and it’s not going to happen. I just can’t subscribe to that theory. I much prefer that they think tonight is the most important game of the year and then when this one is over, tomorrow night’s game is the most important game of the year.

”I don’t like to add too much weight to any given game. I don’t care if we’re playing the Dodgers or any team that might be in the [same] division. That’s a trap.” — Carrie Muskat

Let’s play two today, baseball and weather gods willing. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

The Cubs announced that they signed outfielder Brennen Davis, the 62nd overall pick in the draft, and pitcher Paul Richan, a compensatory second round pick, to contracts. — James Neveau.

  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Want to better market baseball to millennials? Try the radio. “...I would argue that baseball is the only major U.S. sport that is both enjoyable and compelling without a picture.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): ): Early All-Star voting doesn’t favor Cubs, and that’s OK with Joe Maddon. “I think it’s a better method to give all four days off for everybody involved,” Maddon said.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*) Cubs quartet in thick of NL ASG voting. Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo and third baseman Kris Bryant are all second at their respective positions in the latest balloting. Addison Russell is third among NL shortstops.
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Expect Cubs’ batting average with RISP to rise. “So far, the Cubs have been able to counter the difficulties by getting more men on base than the rest of the NL.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): After hitting a wall, are Cubs making the offensive changes to break through again in October? “The home runs aren’t always there, so you got to be able to move the baseball,” said Maddon.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The small sample risk in rental trades, Manny Machado’s performance, and Addison Russell’s value. “... it’s hard to justify trading 3+ years of Addison Russell (and then some) for two months of Machado (or almost any player, really).”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Mike Montgomery tries to force Cubs into tough decision once Yu Darvish healthy. “They’re going to make those decisions,” said Montgomery, who makes his fifth start Tuesday against the Dodgers. “I’m just trying to keep my head down and help the team win some ballgames.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*) Steve Cishek cherishes time with his two daughters. “As soon as the game’s over, I head home and trash that outing and just enjoy my family. My daughters are just excited to see me pitch,” he said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Home Run Derby is built for Javy Baez and his big swing — and Cubs 2B wants in. “I’d love to be in it for sure,” Baez said.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Baez says he’s fine, hopes to return Tuesday.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Addison Russell’s up and down season. “All told, Russell is in the midst of his best offensive season.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): How the Cubs are trying to help Kris Bryant out of his slump. “You really do start trying too hard,” Maddon said.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}):How Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward are finding an edge when pitching is better than ever. “...all the talk about approach and using the opposite field and grinding out at-bats misses a much larger point about where all of this is trending.”

MLB Network was talking about this Monday night. I agree, for what that’s worth. Small ball is due back.

  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Jason Heyward looks like the hitter the Cubs always knew he’d be. “...there’s reason to believe it’s sustainable for a prolonged stretch.”
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Brandon Morrow switching sides adds juice to Cubs-Dodgers rivalry. “They probably look at the National League as going through us, and we look at it as going through them,’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer conceded.

Food For Thought:

Thanks for reading.