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Cub Tracks runs all the way home

The latest episode of our long-running series of #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB news. So many things went right until the end.

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Welcome to today’s edition of Cub Tracks news and notes™, featuring material from current beat writers, bloggers, and the occasional in-house habitué, moonlighting. These pieces center around #Cubs, #MiLB, and #MLB baseball. We try to distill the zeitgeist into a fine piquancy, for your consumption.

The Cubs started a series with the Milwaukee Brewers in the city that beer made famous on a Monday afternoon in July. Justin Steele (3-5, 4.39) opposed Eric Lauer (6-3, 4.02) in a battle of the southpaws. Jim Deshaies and Beth Mowins did the broadcast.

The game started out scoreless, as they so often do, and stayed that way until Nelson Velazquez smote his first MLB dinger.

Both pitchers were in the groove early, especially after Christopher Morel walked on a strikeout pitch and was subsequently caught in a rundown. The Cubs made Lauer throw a lot of pitches once it became apparent that the ump was on the batters’ side early (he ruled differently later). Steele threw strikes and induced a lot of weak contact. The Brewers didn’t hit safely until the fifth inning, when Luis Urias doubled.

But Steele struck out the side after ploinking Victor Caratini to restore double play possibilities, and squashed that uprising. It wasn’t until the seventh that Steele cracked. The Cubs didn’t solve Lauer any more, so it was a brand-new ballgame at that point. But regardless of the outcome, Steele pitched really well, as he has been doing lately. Mychal Givens kept the game where it was...

And then, and then:

But, alas, the lead wasn’t safe. Victor Caratini with the game-winner in the tenth.

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Alfonso Rivas was on base three times yesterday, and he’s hit .326/.375/.395/117 wRC+ since his return to the big leagues. Back to emphasizing more contact and discipline over power, perhaps? It’s not exactly what you’d expect or look for from a first baseman, but sometimes you just have to be who you are. Ultimately, Rivas isn’t going to sustain a .433 BABIP, so even as this version of himself, he’d need to be taking a whole lot more walks (6.3%), striking out even less (27.1%), or hitting for more power (.070 ISO) to stay productive. — Brett Taylor.

Food for Thought:

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