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Cub Tracks’ Six-Pack

Javy power, Lester’s 17th, bird tears, and other bullets

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox
Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to autumn baseball. The Cubs magic number is down to six. Their number for a wild card is three. Meatloaf makes Hawk Harrelson lose his last game. It might be graceless, but I’d be into that. A crooked number, put it on the board, YES!

Cool Papa Gore! By now you know about Mike Freeman but we have some details, and tons and tons of Magomania for all you young Magos out there. Dig the artwork below, from Austin Ploch, who’s been featured here before. I need to get me one of those.

Gonna soft-pedal the Addison Russell stuff today (of course there’s some) and just enjoy last night’s victory. There was no news about the possible appeal at press time (volume 2), which was approximately 2 am PT. It’s all still up in the air like a helicopter seed in a fall squall.

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

Cubs News and Notes:

The Cubs added some infield depth on Saturday, selecting the contract of Mike Freeman from Triple-a Iowa. Freeman, who joined the Cubs on Saturday, has been working out since the Minor League season ended but also has been preparing for his first child. His wife, Caroline, is due Oct. 1.

”It’s right around the corner,” said Freeman, 31. “She’s been great -- she knew this was a possibility. I’m definitely more nervous than she was. She was excited for the opportunity. She was very encouraging to me, which is a huge testament to her.” — Carrie Muskat.

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90+ wins for a 4th straight season!

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“It’s gotta be really exciting for him and his family right now,” Maddon said. “We’ve been through it before a couple years ago with [Kris Bryant]. It’s nice to see Javy arrive at this point. I mean, when we first got here, all the talent in the world — big swing, little bit out of control with his game, errors on routine plays and now all of a sudden, he’s making the routine play routinely and then he’s still able to make the spectacular play.

”And he’s on the verge of accepting walks and when he’s on the verge of doing that, that’s when his hitting’s gonna really take off. Lotta credit for him — he plays every day with energy, mentally and physically.” — Tony Andracki.

Respect 90!

  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs shrugging off the pressure as October baseball looms. “We’re playing meaningful baseball right now and everything else will speak for itself as far as what place we finish in,” said Jason Heyward.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Cubs regroup after Russell accusations, focus on jobs in win over Sox. “I would hope that didn’t distract guys,” said Jon Lester.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): On Saturday, the Cubs caught a break. But they always make their own luck. “...sometimes all a team needs to get out of a funk is Ryan LaMarre misjudging a fly ball.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Rested Cubs relievers trying to avoid rust. And they’re doing it in arrrrrmchairs of rrrrrich Corrrrrinthian Leatherrrrr.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): David Bote has struggled mightily since walk-off slam. “...Bote’s made contact on only 66 percent of his swings, which is in the bottom five percent of MLB.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Joe Maddon pushing Javier Baez for MVP: “He’s just different.” “Although Baez’s numbers are sufficiently good that his position among the most top candidates is justified, it’s far from a sure-bet.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Javy over everybody? The Cubs are buying it. “For me, what puts him above everybody in that talk is his ability to play multiple positions,” said Lester.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Báez lets his game do the talking, and his MVP-level season might have saved the 2018 Cubs. “I know we would not be in this position without him,” Maddon said.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Baez steps in at shortstop, smashes 34th HR. “There aren’t many teams who can lose a position player and slide an MVP candidate into that spot like the Cubs will do at shortstop.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Baez’ versatility never has been more important for the Cubs. “It’s nice to see Javy arrive at this point,” Maddon said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Javy Baez key to Cubs’ life without Russell. “You don’t even think twice when you put Javy’s name at shortstop,” Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Baseball comes second for Cubs in Russell situation. “What matters is getting to a just and fair resolution and we’re supportive of the league’s step,” said Theo Epstein.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): What does future hold for Russell, Cubs? “...what if MLB comes back with nothing?”
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): What are the right questions to ask when an athlete is accused of domestic violence? Jessica Luther has some thoughts. “She recently published a book: “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs add infielder Mike Freeman to take Russell’s roster spot. “I certainly didn’t expect something like that,” Freeman said. “I’ll try to fill in and do what I can.”
  • NBC Sports Chicago: Jason Heyward: “It’s beautiful.” [VIDEO]. “Heyward discusses team mindset and how the Cubs have grown as a team.”

Food for Thought:

Bye Ken.