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Cub Tracks takes a walk

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Rizzo’s eye, Heyward’s bat, Hendricks’ arm, Maddon’s mouth, and other bullets

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs
Joe isn’t pleased
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Well, that ended up well. This breaking up no-hitters thing is kind of fun. Kyle Hendricks pitched well enough to win, and eventually Steve Cishek did get the win and Pedro Strop, his ninth save. Anthony Rizzo Rizzo’d. The new and improved Jason Heyward continued his fine work, stroking a two-run single, and the Cubs walked home with a win.

Hot takes and cold cuts below. Enjoy. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

“That could’ve changed the outcome of the whole game,” Joe Maddon said. “We fought through it. But for me, you make that much of an errant throw and you get rewarded for it? There’s something wrong with that method. Something needs to be changed. Something needs to be spoken about.

”And I’m not the first guy that’s walked down this path. I know that. But that was obviously a horrific call and I wanted him to know that at some point, I think you have to exercise judgment. Just like umpires have to exercise judgment on whether a guy is throwing at somebody intentionally or not.

”There’s that part of the game that needs to be dealt with tactfully and rightfully. So regardless of if he’s inside the line or not, that throw was so far off, it had nothing to do with the baserunner, to me. If the throw was in fair territory, then go ahead, make the call. When it’s egregiously a bad throw that far in foul territory, play the game.” — Tony Andracki.

  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Maddon passionately opposes MLB’s wacky rule: ‘Something needs to be changed’. “For the third straight homestand, the Cubs had a serious issue with the umpires that spilled over from the field to the postgame reaction.”
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Cubs thwart no-no, edge Nats in NLDS rematch. “That at-bat by Riz swung the momentum,” Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks said.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): With a newfound confidence in his curveball, Hendricks is changing the way he attacks hitters. “When he’s spinning it right and it feels good, it’s a really good pitch,” run prevention coordinator Tommy Hottovy said.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs getting creative with their ever-changing bullpen. “We’re just trying to be proactive with Mike Montgomery,” Maddon said. “That’s all.
  • Sean Holland (Cubs Insider): Strop has emerged as Cubs team leader. “...he feels it’s his job to lift the spirits of the team whenever he can.”
  • Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo perfectly execute ‘do-or-die’ pickoff play to help escape 8th inning jam. “Maddon said the play fit the philosophy he imparts on his players: “Never be afraid of making a mistake if it’s the right thing to do.””
  • Rizzo talks to ESPN* [VIDEO].
  • Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): Some of my favorite Javier Baez statistics. “It feels like Baez couldn’t possibly sustain this, but it feels just as strongly like Baez has broken out.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Jed Hoyer: Cubs don’t want Kris Bryant to return at less than 100%, want him totally pain-free. “Hopefully, he can get this thing right and get back and be really close to 100 percent for that final kick in the season,” Hoyer said.
  • David Kaplan (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs need to find a way to sign Bryce Harper. “But would that be a smart move for the Cubs as an organization?”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): It’s time to talk about Harper and the Cubs again. “...the hype seemed bigger a season ago, two years before free agency. Will it pick up again?”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): In emotional return to Wrigley Field, Dave Martinez can’t stop Nationals history from repeating itself. “We got to get fundamentally better,” Martinez said after the Nats’ brutal 3-2 loss.
  • Phil Rosenthal (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs TV voice Len Kasper, Twitter and ‘the kinds of debates I hate’. “Why would somebody let my crazy idea anger them? That’s the part that’s baffling,” Kasper said.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.