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Cub Tracks is all wet

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Garcia starting, National de-press, and other bullets

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

“DON’T PANIC.”

Holy gamethread word! What in the flying fish was THAT? Four-plus hours of delays and nothing to write about or even link to. Criminy! This is what I stayed up late to get for you Cubs fans. Ah, the life of a humble scribe...so glamorous.

Cazart! So who pitches now? This should be interesting. Alec Mills isn’t available until Sunday, according to tweets from our last pulse-pounding issue. So...

Nats right-hander Max Scherzer will face lefty Jaime Garcia in Game 1. Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels will start the nightcap, which will begin approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, while Washington has not announced its starter. — Jamal Collier.

I’m not sure I like the looks of that. Let’s hope baseball baseballs. Garcia was pretty nasty at one time — perhaps he can recall that for a day.

Certain relievers are getting a lot of ink recently. It’s a good thing! The post-season looms, and the Cubs have begun to get some national press coverage. Read on — as always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

...I was wrong. Cubs fans, on the whole, have handled the aftermath of their 2016 World Series championship with a little more chill aplomb than I might have anticipated. That 2017 season, which was a step backward in every possible way but still ended in the National League Championship Series, felt like bonus time, a giddy postscript in which the results of the games would have mattered more if fans’ feet hadn’t still been about two or three feet off the ground. Cubs fans have been a little grouchier this year, particularly if your name is Yu Darvish, but on the whole, they’re a lot less terrifying to run across in an online forum than Red Sox fans are, and that’s not nothing.

There is still a sense, though, that the Cubs are underachieving in the wake of that title. — Will Leitch.

Brandon Morrow (biceps) will throw off the bullpen mound on Sunday as he attempts to return for the end of season. The Cubs have targeted Sept. 15 or 16 for a return to game action if all goes well but he’ll have at least one simulated game between now and then. On Wednesday, Joe Maddon said there was “barely” enough time to get Morrow back. Even if he returns he won’t be closing, at least not right away. — Jesse Rogers.

  • James Neveau (NBC Sports*): Fans respond to rain delay between Cubs and Nationals with hilarious tweets. “This game wouldn’t have had any delays if the Nats hadn’t been moved out of Montreal.”
  • Barry Svrluga (The Washington Post {$}): The gap between the Cubs and the Nationals might not be much, but it feels like a chasm. “They put the pieces together, and they were consistent every year,” Dave Martinez said of the Cubs.
  • Will Leitch (MLB.com*): Chicago Cubs are a dynasty. “Of the many predictions I have gotten wrong in my life, one of the bigger ones was thinking that, if their team ever won the World Series, Cubs fans would turn into Red Sox fans.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Maddon likes his lineup options, but doubleheader and injuries a challenge. “We have so many different looks right now — if everyone is healthy,” Maddon said.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): From Anthony Rizzo vs. Angel Hernandez to Javier Baez vs. Joe West: A look at the high-profile beefs the Cubs have had with umpires. “A typically animated contretemps between Maddon and an umpire plays well on “SportsCenter” and is always good for a tweet or two.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Brandon Morrow to throw off a mound Sunday, but his return picture is really complicated. “[Sunday’s bullpen] will tell me a lot and then everything from there on out will be towards returning hopefully on the 16th or 17th,” Morrow said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Justin Wilson and Jesse Chavez emerge as new keys to Cubs’ bullpen. “Wilson and Chavez have emerged as valuable members...trying to help seize the team’s third consecutive National League Central title.” Gonzales has additional words about Wilson.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Justin case? Wilson pitching like a ninth-inning option for Cubs. “We talked about this a lot in spring training that he could be the linchpin to this whole season in the bullpen,” manager Joe Maddon said. “And right now he’s demonstrating that.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): The mechanical change that has transformed Wilson into a vital part of Cubs bullpen. “His body was fighting itself as he was delivering the ball.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): After getting spoiled by Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis, how will Cubs close this October? “We got to wait and find out,” Maddon said.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Do the Cubs have the best “bench” in baseball? “...the Cubs’ bench is made up of another lineup.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs are MLB’s best at going from first-to-third on singles. “They have done so 118 times so far this season, 38 times more than the next-closest team (Dodgers).”
  • Matt Snyder (CBS Sports*): Why Ben Zobrist has quietly been one of the most valuable players on the Cubs. “Zobrist has helped mitigate shortfall from other Cubs offensive players.”
  • Craig Edwards (Fangraphs): Javier Baezother secret skill. “...causing fielders to self-combust while he runs the bases.” It’s not a secret to US.
  • Pete Grathoff (Kansas City Star): Cubs fans blown away by speed of former Royal Terrance Gore. In one instance, “...he covered 31.4 feet per second.”
  • Kris Dunn (Minor League Ball): Tracking the 2018 MLB Draft: Chicago Cubs. “Three Cubs prospects join the mid-season top-prospect ranks.”

Food for thought:

Don’t forget your towel.