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Cub Tracks’ rumors du jour

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No story to that story, and other bullets

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs
Lester bested
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The story of the game is 3.2, eight earned.

A stunned sold out Wrigley Field watched Jon Lester walk off the field after pitching just 3.2 innings while giving up eight earned runs against the Nationals. The outing raised his 2nd half ERA to 10.33 after compiling a 2.58 first half mark. The start contributed to the Cubs pitching woes -- they ranked 9th in starter’s ERA in the NL coming into the game. — Jesse Rogers.

Anything else is academic. The details are in Al’s recap. I confess — I took a nap and woke up in the eighth. I have no real need to go back and see what happened.

Sometimes there’s no story to the story. The Manny Machado rumors are a good example of something apparently drummed up by a player’s agent and aided by a willing accomplice in the baseball press. Most of us think that the Bryce Harper speculations are of just that breed. The Cubs already have Jason Heyward, who has dramatically improved his offense this year and is a far better defender than Harper. They already have Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber, plus Ian Happ’s lefty side and the occasional long ball from Ben Zobrist or Heyward for LH power threats, and wouldn’t seem to need another lefty swinger. Or a righty swinger, for that matter. There really isn’t any pressing need in the starting nine, other than perhaps somebody besides Rizzo in the leadoff hole. A healthy KB, sure, and David Bote riding the pine, playing in Joe Maddon’s creative lineup rotation.

The starting rotation is where there is some need, with the likes of Yu Darvish, inconsistent when on the mound and currently on the DL air bnb, the walk-the-ballpark exploits of Tyler Chatwood, and the decline of Brian Duensing and an innings pile-up forcing Mike Montgomery back to the relief corps. Jon Lester’s ups and downs have to be a cause for concern, and Jose Quintana hasn’t exactly been lights-out.

But the team can win games with the group they have, given careful management and a little bit of luck. Plenty of them, and sometimes that gets buried in all the hue and cry for this arm or that glove or bat.

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Cubs News and Notes:

The Cubs have mostly good news regarding their walking wounded though they are still taking it slow with all of them. Yu Darvish (elbow) will throw a 2nd simulated game this Tuesday while closer Brandon Morrow (biceps) is scheduled to throw again after playing long toss on Friday. Kris Bryant (left shoulder) took some swings on Friday as well but no batting practice session is scheduled for him just yet. Meanwhile, Drew Smyly (tommy john) is feeling fine but says he needs to reduce his recovery time between throwing, in order to advance his rehab as he continues to build arm strength. He’s hopeful for a Sept. return. — Jesse Rogers.

New #Cubs pitcher Brandon Kintzler says he will dance in the bullpen if he’s there for a HR. “Maybe when it does happen I’ll dance by myself.” — Carrie Muskat.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.