Cub Tracks Uphill Both Ways

Welcome to today’s edition of Cub Tracks News and Notes™, featuring material from current beat writers, bloggers, and the occasional house regular, to the black. These pieces revolve around #Cubs#MiLBand #MLB baseball and attempt to distill the spirit of the times into a powerful drink. Please enjoy without moderation.

The Cubs played two Saturdays at the park. Can you dig? Game 1 was all about competition, but the RISP gods still hate the Cubs, who are worse than luck would have it. It takes real effort. 2-1 Mets in 11, and the losing streak stretched to eight games. David Ross did not last the match, because he was sent back to the third after arguing balls and strikes. Ramon DeJesus had a bad day at the office.

The second game was also a highlight. The Cubs got to Max Scherzer for a few runs and Drew Smyly gave up just one, with Rafael Ortega responsible for one. Ian Happ was sent off in the third inningwhile David Ross was interviewed (h/t Brett Taylor).

There were positives. Marcus Stroman pitched well. The enclosure looked decent. Soon we will know who will be part of the team for the rest of the year, or at least who will be available for the jenga roster.

But, in the end, it was two more one-point losses in a losing-leading season. 3-11 in extra innings, 11-22 in one-point games. 100 losses seems very possible.

Sad times, Cub fans. They still play blues in Chicago.

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When the Cubs faced the Brewers in Milwaukee on July 4, the Brewers’ closest match, Josh Hader, had a microscopic 1.05 ERA and 1.71 FIP. The Cubs ended up scoring on Hader both times they faced him this series, and now less than two weeks later, his ERA is 4.50 and his FIP is 3.88. That much damage in just six appearances, the last two of which have been absolute implosions. And it all started with the Cubs touching him, so clearly they broke him. —Brett Taylor.

  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): July is supposed to be a sports siesta, but not this year in Chicago — it’s crazy and weird. “Our teams – the Cubs, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, the Bears – are up for all sorts of weird business and activity.”
  • Meghan Montemurro (Chicago Tribune* {$}): With their best draft pick since 2014, the Chicago Cubs are looking to land their next No. 7 franchise player. “Among the players the Cubs could target with their first pick: third baseman Cam Collier (Chipola, Fla., JC), shortstop Termarr Johnson (Mays, Ga., High School), outfielder Elijah Green (IMG Academy), shortstop Zach Neto (Campbell), shortstop Brooks Lee (Cal Poly) and cornerman Jacob Berry (LSU). »
  • Andy Martinez (Marquee Sports Network*): Cubs roster changes: Pitching staff getting a boost as top prospects continue to move up the farm system. “The Cubs have been on a flurry of moves over the past two days, up and down their organization.”
  • Tim Stebbins (NBC Sports Chicago*): The Cubs’ Marcus Stroman ends the first half upside down on a high note. “I felt pretty good,” Stroman said after the Cubs lost 2-1 in the extra inning. “I thought it was a positive step in the right direction coming out of IL.”
  • Alexander Patt (Cubbies Crib*): Cubs top prospect Caleb Kilian struggling with command issues. “Something seems off with Kilian.”
  • Tim Stebbins (NBC Sports Chicago*): Southpaw Steven Brault joins the Cubs after an “illuminating” road to the team. “If they call my name, I’ll be ready to go out there and dominate – just this time wearing blue.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (NBC Sports Chicago*): Will the Cubs have Willson Contreras, Ian Happ or a plan for the next homestand? “…if the Cubs trade both Happ and Contreras before the deadline, it will be the second straight year they have two All-Stars and then trade them both…”
  • Jordan Bastian (*): “3 RH or nothing”: can the PCA surpass Davis’ Futures Game? “It’s a joke some of us have made since we found out I was going,” Crow-Armstrong said with a laugh.
  • Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): Happ was made All-Star. Now the Cubs must decide what that means at the deadline. “I definitely played with guys who had a little smoother road,” Happ said. Joshua Burt has some thoughts.
  • Jake Misener (Cubbies Crib*): A hit trade for Juan Soto isn’t going to happen. “Trading Soto would hurt, but may be one of the only ways the organization can quickly rebuild its farming system.”
  • Tony Andracki (Marquee Sports Network*): Former Cubs reliever Pedro Strop is apparently in his second career – as a recording artist.

Food for Thought:

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