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Cub Tracks calls it a day

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Great pitching, great defense, and other bullets

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
I love meatloaf! Me too!
Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Meatloaf! That’s always welcome on my plate. I am presently gruntled with the baseball proceedings, so let’s get right to the news (what there is of it) — as always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

“In the past, when we’ve won on a high level, we’ve played outstanding defense,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It never gets old to watch that kind of baseball. The baserunning, the defense, the throws, all that kind of stuff. The real baseball purist loves that style of game.” — Carrie Muskat.

RIP Billy Connors.

Cubs starter Yu Darvish moved closer to a return from tendinitis in his right triceps after throwing a simulated game at Wrigley Field before Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers. Both Maddon and Darvish said the outing went as well as could have been expected and he was able to work on all of his pitches. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday before a next step is established but it could be a rehab start, of which Darvish said he likely would only need one before he returns to the Chicago rotation. — Bradford Doolittle.

2019 schedule? Too soon?

  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Javier Báez and Jon Lester show how the Cubs can get back to the World Series. “It wasn’t exactly ideal on my end,” Lester said.
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN*): Cubs show Dodgers -- and everyone else -- they’re the team to beat in NL. “We still hit the home run, but this field taketh away a lot,” said Maddon.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): If I didn’t know better, I’d say we saw the real Cubs Wednesday. “...we got the kind of outstanding all-around performance that became de rigueur during the world championship season.”
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs defense is great, and it’s going to have to be. “...the Cubs are really good, and they’ve often been beaten by sequencing.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Yu ready? Darvish eyes quick return to rotation after impressive ‘‘sim’’ game. ‘‘I felt good,’’ Darvish said of the 51-pitch simulated game, adding he felt especially sharp with his fastball and slider. ‘‘There was some anxiety beforehand, but it turned out to be better than I expected.’’
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Pants, seat of the pants and sim games: The current state of Cubs pitching. “...right now, the Cubs don’t know who’s going to start either game this weekend.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Jon Lester expects great plays from Cubs’ exceptional defensive players. “It can be dispiriting to the other side when you make plays like that,” said Maddon.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Are the Cubs finally opening themselves up to a six-man rotation to keep Mike Montgomery starting? “...if there isn’t an injury, the options are pretty straightforward when you think about it...” Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) muses on this subject as well.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Best offseason move the Cubs never made: trading Mike Montgomery. “Any other team, he’d be a starter,” Lester said.
  • Craig Edwards (Fangraphs): Jason Heyward’s latest change is making a difference.
  • Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Once guarded, now open: Former Cubs phenom Mark Prior back at Wrigley as Dodgers’ bullpen coach. “Mark is very thoughtful, a quality guy,” Mark Loretta said.

Food For Thought:

Thanks for reading.