Game 4 postponed to Wednesday: Could postseason rain go against the Cubs this time around?


Game 4 postponed to Wednesday: Could postseason rain go against the Cubs this time around?

It’s no longer “if the rain comes,” as the Beatles sang. The rain is here.

What is supposed to be a lengthy downpour throughout the Chicagoland area started Tuesday evening and postponed Game 4 of the NLDS, pushing things back to 3:08 p.m. Wednesday at Wrigley Field. So the Cubs, just a win away from advancing to their third straight NLCS, will have to wait another day to go for a clinch.

But while last fall’s postseason rainstorm was a welcome sight for the Cubs, this time around the inclement weather could wind up going the opposite way for the North Siders.

They seemingly dodged a bullet when Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker announced that Tanner Roark will still be his team’s starting pitcher for the now-rescheduled Game 4, a surprising move considering Stephen Strasburg — who no-hit the Cubs into the sixth inning in Game 1 of this series — would figure to be ready to go on regular rest.

But with Baker making some comments about Strasburg — and much of his team — being “under the weather” due to changing temperatures inside and outside of their Chicago hotel, apparently the guy who struck out 10 Cubs batters this past Friday isn’t as ready as he seems. That means the Cubs get another crack at a pitcher who while still good isn’t the elite arm that Strasburg is.

Still, the nearly 24-hour shift in Game 4’s start time could have drastic effects on the remainder of the series.

The Cubs had seemingly all the momentum after winning Game 3 in thrilling fashion on Tuesday, momentum that now comes to a screeching halt, not all that dissimilar from the ceasing of the Cleveland Indians’ roll during last fall’s World Series. After Rajai Davis’ home run threw a wrench into Game 7, Jason Heyward’s clubhouse speech became a legendary moment in Cubs lore. This time, it’s the Cubs who have to sit and cool off while waiting for weather to pass.

The Nationals, meanwhile, get time to try and warm up their bats. Joe Maddon, like his counterpart in the opposite dugout, is sticking with his scheduled starter and will throw Jake Arrieta in Game 4 on Wednesday as he planned to do Tuesday. An argument could be made that the Cubs could have turned to their Game 1 starter after how magnificent Kyle Hendricks was in Washington. But the Cubs are equally confident in Arrieta to go out and get the job done as he battles back from his hamstring issue.

“Listen, Jake's really primed for this opportunity,” Maddon said before the rains came Tuesday. “He's done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I'm real eager to watch him play.

“I just feel good about where Jake is right now physically and mentally, because he is. He's mentioned how great his arm feels, also, based on the rest, too. So you have the combination of resting his arm, resting his leg.”

But if the slowed momentum means the Cubs don’t win Game 4 on Wednesday, this series could dramatically swing, not just because Strasburg would await in Game 5 but because the Cubs could see another unfriendly pitcher on the mound in Max Scherzer. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh in Monday’s Game 3, and he vowed to be available to pitch out of the bullpen in Game 5. So if the Cubs drop Game 4, then Game 5 becomes a tall task with the Nationals’ top two pitchers waiting.

So while rain worked in the Cubs’ favor last postseason, this time around, rain could make things a lot tougher.

The rain has come. And we only have to wait a day to find out what kind of effect it will have.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998


Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.

Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis


Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis

Yu Darvish now has more trips to the disabled list in a Cubs uniform than wins.

The Cubs place their 31-year-old right-handed pitcher on the DL Saturday evening with right triceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to May 23, so he may only have to miss one turn through the rotation.

In a corresponding move, Randy Rosario was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to provide Joe Maddon with another arm in the bullpen. Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday in Darvish's place.

Thanks to two off-days on the schedule last week, the Cubs should be fine with their rotation for a little while. Jon Lester could go on regular rest Monday, but the Cubs would need to make a decision for Tuesday given Kyle Hendricks just threw Friday afternoon.

That decision could mean Mike Montgomery moving from the bullpen to the rotation for a spot start, or it could be the promotion of top prospect Adbert Alzolay from Triple-A Iowa.

Either way, this is more bad news for Darvish, who has had a rough go of it since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February.

Between issues with the weather, the concern of arm cramps in his debut in Miami, leg cramps in Atlanta, a trip to the disabled list for the flu, trouble making it out of the fifth inning and now triceps tendinitis, it's been a forgettable two months for Darvish.

He is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 40 innings with the Cubs.

Over the course of 139 career starts, Darvish is 57-45 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and has averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings.