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LIVE: Cubs, Padres tied 1-1 in Game 1

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LIVE: Cubs, Padres tied 1-1 in Game 1

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 10:40 a.m.
Associated Press

The San Diego Padres failed to score a run in their series opener at Wrigley Field.

Maybe they forgot that Dustin Moseley wasn't starting until Wednesday afternoon.

The Padres seek to finally give Moseley some support and end their run of futility against Chicago Cubs pitching when the teams play a doubleheader after Tuesday night's game was postponed because of inclement weather.

Carlos Zambrano and a pair of relievers dominated San Diego (7-9) on Monday. The Padres managed five hits - all singles - while striking out 13 times over 10 scoreless innings.

The Cubs finally broke through in the bottom of the 10th, when Tyler Colvin's pinch-hit double off Chad Qualls scored Geovany Soto and gave Chicago a 1-0 victory in windy, 34-degree conditions.

"The whole game you go out there and you're kind of miserable and it's so cold," Soto said. "We wanted to get out of there so badly. We were like, 'Man, all we need is one.' But it was tough to get that one."

Tuesday night's game was postponed because the forecast called for heavy rain and wind chills in the 20s.

"You don't want to play in weather like this," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Wind and cold are fine. If we didn't have the rain, it would have just been another cool night."

San Diego has been shut out four times this season and also lost 1-0 to the Cubs (8-8) in the teams' final meeting of 2010. The Padres have failed to score in their last 22 innings versus Chicago.

San Diego's other three scoreless performances have all come with Moseley (0-3, 1.83 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander allowed the game's only run in 6 2-3 strong innings Thursday at Houston.

"It's frustrating, but you go out there and do your job and you leave the rest up to the team, and hopefully guys pull through," Moseley said. "Through the first three it hasn't happened, but it's a long year.

"I mean, these guys can start scoring 10 a game for me. We have a great bunch of guys and a lot of good players, and I look forward to those days when they get their swings and confidence and everything is back to where it can be and it will be."

Moseley will be opposed in the opener by another pitcher that hasn't received much support.

Chicago has been shut out the last two times Matt Garza (0-2, 6.27) has taken the mound, and he's allowed five runs in each of those outings.

"It hasn't been a great start for him and he knows that. But he's still working and I still believe he's going to be a (great) pitcher on this club and in this rotation," Quade said.

The right-hander made his only start against San Diego last season, allowing three runs and six hits over eight innings of a 5-3 win for Tampa Bay.

In the nightcap, Aaron Harang will look to win for the fourth time in as many starts for the Padres. Harang (3-0, 1.50) has allowed one earned run over six innings in each of his first three outings, beating Houston 4-2 on Friday night.

"He's pitching with aggressiveness and he's pitching with some confidence," manager Bud Black said. "It's great to see."

Harang is quite familiar with pitching at Wrigley Field after playing for Cincinnati from 2003-10. The right-hander is 5-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts there, and he's 10-8 with a 4.51 ERA in 24 appearances against the Cubs.

He will be opposed by James Russell (1-1, 7.20), who makes his second start for the Cubs due to injuries suffered by Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner.

The left-hander, who made 57 relief appearances as a rookie in 2010, surrendered five runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings in his first start, an 11-2 defeat at Houston on April 12.

"You can only hope it'll go better," Russell told the Cubs' official website. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm not real sure how we'll go about it, but probably go about it the same way as last time."

Russell faced the Padres twice last August, giving up two runs, two hits and a walk over 1 1-3 innings while striking out three.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A messy night at Wrigley Field ends without a pitch being thrown

A messy night at Wrigley Field ends without a pitch being thrown

The NLCS rematch will have to wait another day.

Mother Nature and the power at Wrigley Field care not for your excitement about a "big series" between the Cubs and Dodgers.

Thunderstorms rolled over the North Side of Chicago, where the Dodgers ended the Cubs' postseason run 8 months ago. 

On top of that, the power at Wrigley Field was not cooperating with the lights down the right field line going out for hours during the rain delay. 

The lights came back on at one point before again going out again roughly a half hour before Monday night's game was officially called. After a delay stretching almost three hours, word finally filtered out just before 10 p.m. the game would be postponed a day.

The Cubs and Dodgers will make the game up as part of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday at Wrigley Field with the first game starting at 12:05 p.m. and the second at the regularly scheduled time of 7:05 p.m. Tyler Chatwood will start the first game for the Cubs with Mike Montgomery slated to go Game 2.

As of 10 p.m. Monday night, the Cubs were unsure what caused the power issue at Wrigley Field but were working on fixing the problem ahead of Tuesday's scheduled doubleheader.

The evening started with the tarp being rolled onto the field by the Cubs grounds crew roughly an hour before scheduled first pitch with a forecast calling for a 100 percent chance of rain.

Only a light rain fell until a downpour began around 8:15 p.m.:

That lasted only about a half hour before the grounds crew came back out around 8:45 p.m. to partially remove the tarp and attempt to get the field ready to play.

The only issue at that point was the light and a sinister forecast.

"It takes 45 minutes to get the field ready to play," said Julian Green, Cubs director of communications. "So once you take that tarp off, you saw them putting the chalk lines down, getting ready.

"We wanted to be ready — even in the face of rain — if the lights came back on, we wanted to make sure we could play baseball, even if it was a limited window of opportunity."

As of 11 p.m., that second bout of rain had yet to materialize, but the lights issue also wasn't corrected and play on the field would've been impossible.

Fans lingered throughout the stadium for nearly three hours before an official conclusion came down. The Cubs kept the same announcement on the right field video board about the weather delay while the left field video board displayed the Brewers-Pirates and other MLB games.

This is the only trip to Chicago the Dodgers make throughout the 2018 season so the two teams and Major League Baseball did all they could to try to get a game in and avoid any issue where these two teams would have to play on a mutual off-day later in the year. 

The Cubs were in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days without a day off. They're still on that same schedule, though now with an unexpected day off Monday and a doubleheader Tuesday.

The Cubs are no stranger to postponements this season as wacky weather has continued to hamper this MLB season.

"Not only for the Chicago Cubs, but Chicago in general, this has been a really interesting spring and summer season," Green said. "We're taking our licks just like everybody else is.

"Our plan is to play baseball tomorrow and make sure we can accomodate fans as best as possible. So fans who have tickets to tonight's game will be able to use them for tomorrow."

How the Cubs are trying to help Kris Bryant out of his slump

How the Cubs are trying to help Kris Bryant out of his slump

Whatever Kris Bryant does from here, it's just frosting on the cake that is his legacy.

That's one way to look at the lasting impact of a guy like Bryant, who morphed from "The Chosen One" as the No. 2 overall pick. He's lived up to the hype from Day 1, has a Rookie of the Year and NL MVP Award in his trophy case and — most importantly of all — led the Cubs to their first World Series championship in 108 years.

A slump in May and June of 2018 won't tarnish that legacy.

But you can also forgive Cubs fans if they're growing a little antsy with their stud player. 

Just rest easy that he's growing a little antsy, too.

After chronicling his "temper tantrums" and actually admitting he gets so angry he is prone to breaking bats in frustration (still find that really hard to believe) last week, Bryant still isn't quite over his slump.

Maybe he's just simply trying to do too much right now.

"Kris is fine," Jon Lester said. "I mean, I think anytime you have a guy like that, he's got such high expectations not only of himself but the other people outside of the baseball world.

"I think he feels that — he feels pressure from his teammates, he feels pressure from himself and he wants to perform and he wants to do well every night. When he doesn't, it seems like he just keeps adding on. The rock on his back gets a little bigger every time."

As recently as May 22, Bryant was hitting .303 with a 1.007 OPS.

But since then — a span of 21 games — he's hitting just .241 with a .316 on-base percentage and .310 slugging percentage, good for a .627 OPS. More alarming than anything, he's struck out 28 times in 87 at-bats, taking a step back in the area he has made the most improvement in since breaking into the league in 2015.

The power has been an issue for even longer. Bryant just recently went a month without a homer before sending one into the bleachers Friday night at Busch Stadium.

Still, since May 15, he has only 8 extra-base hits (7 doubles and that 1 homer) in 27 games.

The struggle is real right now, but that hasn't stopped the Cubs from going 17-11 during Bryant's dip in power.

GM Jed Hoyer reiterated again that Bryant is the last guy the Cubs worry about in the big picture.

"The way he runs the bases, the way he plays defense, I feel like he's contributing to wins even when he might be struggling at the plate a little bit," Hoyer said Monday evening. "With guys like him, I always look at it and think to myself — that means a hot streak is right around the corner.

"I said that about Anthony [Rizzo] in April when he was struggling and he's been great since May 1. I think Kris will have the same kind of turnaraound. With him, it's just a matter of when he breaks out.

"Over the course of the season, every great player goes through one or two big slumps. We're in a strange sport where even the greatest players are not slump-proof. He'll get out of it and we'll all reap the benefits when he does."

Even with the struggles, Bryant ranks 23rd among position players in WAR (Fangraphs) with 2.3, pacing the Cubs in that category. That still puts him on pace for a roughly 6-WAR pace, which would be his lowest throughout his MLB career but is still very clearly elite.

In an effort to get him back to the "KB" we've seen so much over the last four years, Joe Maddon has twice resorted to bumping him to the top of the lineup, including Monday night's game against the Dodgers.

Maddon is hoping a move to the leadoff spot will reinstill in Bryant's head that he doesn't need to be a power hitter to help the team win.

For right now, it works. After all, Bryant is still tied for 9th in baseball in OBP (.389). 

"You really do start trying too hard," Maddon said. "You try to force things as opposed to letting them come to you. Especially a power guy that's not hit home runs in a bit. My take on power guys is that it normally is cyclical. They'll get it for a while, then they'll get away with it, then it comes back."

Like Hoyer, Maddon talked up Bryant's abilities as a "winning player" in every other area of the game even when he's not going yard. That includes his daily hustle and effort.

"When a guy like him goes through this moment, I want him to focus on that — not homers," Maddon said. "He probably hears that way too much about the power situation and I'm really not interested in that. 

"Put him back in the leadoff spot for the reasons I just said — he can help win a game in so many different ways and I want him to just focus on that. ... He needs our support; he's gonna get it. I just put him in that top spot to readjust how he's thinking and that's all."