Friday's rainout lets Lester open against Crew

September 8th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- After pitching only an inning on Friday night at Nationals Park, in a game eventually wiped out by rain, Cubs left-hander will now start on Monday to open a crucial three-game home series against the Brewers.

Had the game been completed without interruption, Lester (15-5, 3.53 ERA) would've been on regular rest for Wednesday's finale.

Bumping him up two games may help the Cubs alleviate some angst, however, after a rain delay of three hours and eventual postponement followed a scoreless, 14-pitch opening inning.

"Everything about last night was [frustrating]," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon said on Saturday afternoon. "But you've got to [say], 'Here's a trash can, it's got to go away.'"

Lester won his only previous start against Milwaukee this season, going six scoreless innings in an 8-0 victory on April 5.

Lefty will start Game 2, with following in Game 3 against the Brewers -- who began Saturday four games behind the first-place Cubs in the National League Central.

Maddon frustrated by 'confusing' rainout decision

Maddon also expressed his frustration with what he called the "confusing" decision-making process throughout Friday night, which culminated in the call at roughly 11:45 p.m. ET to postpone the game when the rain finally appeared to clear.

"We played when we shouldn't have [in starting the game] and then did not play when we should have," Maddon said. "We waited as long as we did, and then when the skies were absolutely clear, from that moment on, they said they could not be sure [of] another pop-up [storm]. I'm beyond an amateur meteorologist, and I could see that it wasn't going to rain anymore."

Maddon said it didn't matter that it was nearly midnight.

"We had no issues with starting at 11:30 [p.m. ET]. None," he said.

The scheduled 3:05 p.m. ET start of Saturday's single-admission doubleheader was also delayed -- just the latest obstacle in what is still scheduled as a 23-game, 23-day stretch for the Cubs, who are 12-5 in that span, so far.

"I think the fact we've been going through all this makes this somewhat easier, in a sense," Maddon said. "Because you're not just throwing a wrench in the gears, right now. The wrench has been thrown in the gears for a bit and we keep grinding through it."