CHICAGO -- Friday's Cubs game against the Reds at Wrigley Field was moved to a 7:05 p.m. CT start to give the team a little bit of a break after playing a makeup game on Thursday against the Nationals in Washington.Friday's game had been scheduled for a 1:20 p.m. start.
CHICAGO -- Friday's Cubs game against the Reds at Wrigley Field was moved to a 7:05 p.m. CT start to give the team a little bit of a break after playing a makeup game on Thursday against the Nationals in Washington.
Friday's game had been scheduled for a 1:20 p.m. start. The gates will open approximately two hours before the start of the evening game. No ticket exchange is necessary.
The Cubs were headed to Washington after Wednesday's game against the Brewers, part of a stretch of 30 consecutive days in which they have a game scheduled. The makeup game was necessary when Sunday's contest between the Cubs and Nationals was postponed because of rain. Thursday was the first mutual off-day. The trouble is, it was the Cubs' only off-day after a stretch of 23 games in 23 days. Their only break since Aug. 20 will now be Sept. 20.
It doesn't help that Hurricane Florence is headed for the East Coast as well.
"Even if it was 72 [degrees] and balmy, that would not matter," Maddon said Wednesday. "It's about 30 consecutive days. I think that's not being spoken about enough. The emphasis is on the weather and rightfully so. It's a hurricane, and it's going to impact a lot of lives. That's a totally different subject and one that's much more worthwhile. For us, in a baseball world, playing 30 consecutive days, that's the difficult part. For me, I don't think that's been discussed enough regarding whether to play or not. Everybody is making it into a weather-related issue. For me, it's a 30-day issue. That's my bigger concern."
Mike Montgomery will start for the Cubs against the Nationals at Nationals Park, while Joe Ross will make his official season debut (his start last Friday was washed away after five outs). The Cubs will not bring their entire September roster and will have players like Kyle Schwarber, who has been battling back issues, and Friday starter Cole Hamels stay in Chicago.
"That's tough scheduling, for sure," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said Wednesday. "But it also means they've gotten a break at some point [earlier this season] with not playing and being able to get some rest through a segment of the schedule. Maybe not planned rest, but still got some rest. I've really found that the baseball schedule presents every team at points in the season with huge challenges. We had our challenges before and after the All-Star break, and it probably took a toll on us at some point. You recognize it as part of the schedule, that you're going to have tough moments. Anytime you have to go to a city for one day, that's not ideal."
The Nationals were playing in Philadelphia on Wednesday while the Cubs played host to the Brewers.
"Obviously, there's a really bad hurricane coming, so everything is still up in the air, but as far as we know, [Wednesday] is the game we need to worry about and then we'll get [to Washington] when we get there," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters in Philadelphia. "But, hopefully, first and foremost, everybody is safe and listens to the weather channel because people need to evacuate. It's going to be bad."
The Nationals will ride a bus to Washington after Wednesday's game. The Cubs will fly after Wednesday's game. Maddon said the players haven't grumbled about the makeup date.
"Nobody's really happy -- that's disingenuous if I said that," Maddon said. "I'm certain the Nationals aren't really happy about this either. It's one of those things where neither team is excited about it, but it's a little more difficult for us. ... We all of a sudden have to get on a plane to go back there."
Said shortstop Addison Russell: "We're pretty much in our mindset that we're going to play. I think a lot of us are excited to play. It's just going to test us as players, test us as a team."
What if it does rain on Thursday? The forecast for Thursday in Washington calls for a 40 percent chance of rain. If the weather is bad on Thursday, Maddon said the teams won't wait long.
"If it looks bad at all, I'm pretty certain they'll call off the jam and we'll get back on a plane and come back home," Maddon said.
The only other option for a makeup game would be Oct. 1 after the regular season has ended.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.