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Cub Tracks does one-hitters

JAVY-P, the imperfect season, and more: all this and Harper too

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ugh. Well, that didn’t go so well, but a series win and meatloaf and all’s well. 18-11 over 30 days is all right by me. Take the day off, boys!

As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

“I watched before I went outside a little bit,” Maddon said. “I’m watching the scoreboard, trying to play along with Cincinnati’s bullpen. They’ve got some arms out there, too. Kind of trying to remember the numbers that you see pop up there.

“I’ve said it a lot, Cincinnati is no joke. That team on the field is as good as anybody’s team on the field and their pitching has definitely gotten better. Watch out next year.”

Cubs reliever Pedro Strop (hamstring) is hopeful to be back for a game or two before the end of the regular season. He’s doing some light throwing off flat ground and some jogging. He won’t push it but is optimistic: “I’m not going to lie to them. I’m not going to try to be a hero.” — Jesse Rogers.

  • Doug Glanville (NBC Sports Chicago*): Perfecting the imperfect season: Why the Cubs are the team to beat. “...they are a good ball club that expects to win.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs survive 30-day stretch just fine — and their last 10 games are in Chicago. “There are worse things than showing up to the baseball field every single day,” Daniel Murphy said.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The Cole Hamels effect: Is he pushing the rest of the rotation to perform better? “...maybe these are just really good pitchers who were probably going to right the ship at some point anyway.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Mike Montgomery throws most changeups ever, continues to barrel through opponents. “It all stems from being willing to shake things up and find new ways to make his pitches work...” More from Brendan Miller.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs’ Joe Maddon philosophical about prior use of Brandon Morrow. “The guy has had problems in the past,” he said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Pedro Strop confident he’ll return by end of season. “Everything is pain-free. We’re not trying to do too much,” Strop said.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Even without a shutdown closer, the Cubs bullpen could actually be a strength in October. “...instead of getting the wind knocked out of them, this group of relievers has actually stepped up to the challenge in a big way.”
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Willson Contreras: Iron man, but at what cost? “The easy answer to Contreras’s problems is that he’s simply exhausted.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): A conversation with Ben Zobrist. “We’ve come a long way but have a long way to go.”
  • Luis Torres (Beyond the Box Score): Javier Báez’s OBP would make him a rare kind of MVP winner. “It is very difficult for a player to be the best in his league without a high OBP.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Batted-ball data shows that Kris Bryant is back, back, back... “I think just having him in the lineup changes the way the other team has to pitch to us,” Baez said after Monday’s game.
  • Sean Sears (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs considered the favorites to sign Bryce Harper. “...his contract is expected to break MLB contract records. And it’d be worth every penny.”

Food for Thought:

Thanks for playing along.