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  • Joe Maddon appreciates the opportunity for his young team to face the kind of test it has this week, going against Corey Kluber, Madison Bumgarner, and Clayton Kershaw in three out of five games (Cubs.com). The Cubs didn’t do much against any of the three, but they are three of the best ten pitchers in baseball for a reason. It’s good to see them, understand how they approach you, and then use that information going forward. It’s also probably good, in some less articulable ways, for the young guys to fail thoroughly against a very good pitcher. It’s a reminder of just how hard things are, and an opportunity to accept defeat without allowing it to make you press the next day. Developmental losses, or something like that.
  • (And, hey, as Luis wrote earlier this week, the Cubs have managed to win a lot of the games in which they’ve faced top starting pitchers.)
  • Hopefully Mat Latos, who is returning to the rotation for the Dodgers today after a stint of ineffectiveness, looks incredibly hittable by comparison.
  • David Ross will not be back from the family medical emergency leave in time to catch Jon Lester today (Cubs.com).
  • Fernando Rodney made his Cubs debut last night, throwing a scoreless frame, though he hit a batter and had a wild pitch. His command looked off, but the stuff was solid – tons of movement on his two-seamer and his changeup (very easy to see why that has long been regarded as a nasty pitch).
  • Duane Underwood, Jr. returned to High-A yesterday after missing almost two months with elbow inflammation, throwing four solid innings. Given the missed time and his big upside, I wonder if he’ll be a candidate for the Arizona Fall League a la Carl Edwards, Jr. last year. It’s also possible the Cubs will decide he’s had enough for the year, given the injury, and build him back up next season.
  • John Baker wrote a great piece on the difficulties of hitting in professional baseball, and the tricky combination of data and reaction.
  • Scott Boras talks up one of his many Cubs clients, Jake Arrieta (CSN).
  • Paul Sullivan on Manny Ramirez’s continued impact with the Cubs.
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