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Brewers throw major shade at Cubs after Saturday's rainout decision

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USA TODAY

Brewers throw major shade at Cubs after Saturday's rainout decision

Fans in search of a Bryzzo bobblehead weren't the only ones disappointed by the Cubs-Brewers game getting postponed Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

The two teams played through some nasty weather on Friday afternoon, including a two-hour rain delay. A main motivation behind that was the forecast for Saturday did not look to be any more promising and the teams did not want to have to make up two games later in the year.

However, after an incredibly-rainy morning, the Cubs postponed Saturday's game before 11:30 a.m. Shortly after, the precipitation stopped for good.

The Brewers woke up Sunday morning throwing major shade at the Cubs with GM David Stearns and manager Craig Counsell leading the way:

"Clearly the Cubs were looking at a weather forecast that made them think it was going to rain," Stearns said. "I think we were a little surprised that the game was called as early as it was. I'm sure they had their reasons to do it. Obviously it didn't rain. From our standpoint, we would have preferred to play yesterday.

"I talked to some guys over at the Cubs. They know how we felt. They told us that their weather forecast indicated our game was not going to be able to be played. Our weather forecast did not indicate that. There was some other weather forecasts that did not indicate that. Ultimately, it was the Cubs' call.

"From my understanding of the rules, prior to the All-Star Break, the home team has discretion prior to first pitch, then it's on the umpire's hands. So the Cubs had discretion there and did what they thought was best."

Stearns did not have a comment on whether the Cubs gained a competitive advantage on the first-place Brewers by not playing the game.

"I don't know," Stearns said. "All they told us was that their weather forecast indicated we were not going to be able to get the game on, so that's all I really have to go by.

"You'd have to ask them. I'm not privy to their forecasting methods or what service they use. All I know was that they told us at the time they canceled the game. They certainly knew that we would have preferred to play. Ultimately, it's their call.

"That game on Friday was tough for both sides. Those aren't fun conditions for players to play through. Seemed like we had better conditions yesterday, but the Cubs decided it wasn't the right time to play baseball."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon addressed the rainout in his pregame session Sunday morning, saying he enjoyed his afternoon off and took a couple naps.

As for the lack of rain from about noon on, Maddon shrugged it off.

"Everything indicated it was going to be exactly like the day before," he said, "so that's the beauty of weather forecasting and around here, it's very difficult."

The Cubs are currently in a stretch of 16 straight days with a scheduled game before Saturday's rainout.

The Brewers were in a stretch of 24 games in 25 days before Saturday, but they also have an off-day coming up Monday after the series finale at Wrigley.

As far as a possible competitive advantage the Cubs could've gained from postponing Saturday's game, the main thought is letting a worn out bullpen rest. 

But even with the rain delay Friday, the Cubs still never turned to Wade Davis, Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon or Koji Uehara, so all four pitchers would've been available on Saturday with at least one day's rest under their belts.

The Cubs also made a move to send down Pierce Johnson after his MLB debut before - and after - Friday's delay and call up Dylan Floro, who would represent another fresh arm in the bullpen.

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

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USA TODAY

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

Set your alarm, there are only three more months till baseball is back.

The Cubs announced their spring training schedule Monday, getting folks all amped up for the 34 exhibition games in February and March.

Spring game action gets started Feb. 23 out in Arizona, with the Cubs taking on the Milwaukee Brewers to kick off Cactus League play. The Cubs' first home spring game at Sloan Park in Mesa comes the next day, Feb. 24.

In addition to a 32-game Cactus League slate, the Cubs will take on the Cleveland Indians in a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas. That 2016 World Series rematch comes March 17 and 18.

And of course, there will be three meetings with the White Sox, as both Chicago teams play their spring schedule out in Arizona. Those "Cactus Crosstown" games will be played Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and March 16 in Glendale.

Here's the full schedule:

What if Jake Arrieta stays in the NL Central and repeatedly haunts the Cubs?

What if Jake Arrieta stays in the NL Central and repeatedly haunts the Cubs?

Jake Arrieta in a Brewers uniform?

That's not a sight Cubs fans would like to see, but the North Siders' I-94 rivals are apparently keen on trying to add Arrieta, the free-agent pitcher who's been one of the National League's top arms for the past several seasons.

The Cubs have their own decision to make on whether or not they're going to pursue re-signing Arrieta, a guy who over the past three seasons has posted a 2.71 ERA and struck out 589 batters, winning 54 games in 94 starts for a team that won the 2016 World Series and has advanced to three consecutive NL Championship Series.

The downside to losing Arrieta is obvious, as the Cubs would lose a huge part of their formidable starting rotation, but there would be an added downside if Arrieta were to remain in the NL Central and repeatedly haunt his former team.

Given Arrieta's track record, adding him would make sense for any team in the majors, but the Brewers in particular could use a front-of-the-line starting pitcher to boost their chances of besting the Cubs for the Central crown. The Brew Crew staged a surprising threat to do just that in 2017, perhaps proving that their rebuilding effort has yielded fruit ahead of schedule.

But there are questions in that rotation, with Jimmy Nelson expected to miss time next season after having shoulder surgery. Chase Anderson was great last season, and Zach Davies was solid, too. Brewers starters posted an ERA of 4.10 on the season, good for fifth in the NL. The four teams ahead of them, including the Cubs, all made the playoffs. Adding an arm as good as Arrieta's could make the difference in jumping past the Cubs in the Central and getting the Crew to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

And it'd be a plus for the Brewers to make it so Arrieta couldn't shut down their hitters anymore. In 15 career starts against the Crew, Arrieta is 8-4 with a 2.74 ERA. However, they'd surely love to have him call Miller Park home. He's never lost there in five starts, boasting a 2.03 ERA with 30 strikeouts.

There's an argument to be made that Arrieta would be able to seek revenge on the Cubs no matter what team he ends up pitching for, be it an NL team facing off against the Cubs in the playoffs or an American League squad meeting the Cubs in the World Series. After all, as Scott Boras put it, signing Arrieta is a ticket to "Playoffville."

But should Arrieta make the short drive to Wisconsin and set up shop in America's Dairyland, turning the Brewers into a legitimate playoff contender and challenger to the Cubs' grip on the NL Central crown? Well, consider the Cubs-Brewers rivalry cranked up to 11.