The Cubs began Thursday afternoon with the hope there’d be a window that would allow them to get in their scheduled game against the Reds. That window never opened, and the game was postponed 30 minutes after the first pitch was to have been thrown.
“The main thing with this environment is that you don't want guys sitting around the visiting clubhouse all day,” manager David Ross said. “With all that we're dealing with right now, this makes a lot of sense. The sooner we can make a decision if we think we can play the game or not, the better.”
The Cubs immediately packed and headed back to Chicago for a five-game homestand, starting with a Friday-night opener against the Pirates. Right-hander Yu Darvish, who’d been scheduled to start on Thursday, will take the hill.
Darvish allowed three runs in four innings in his only other start this season, against the Brewers. Ross said the key for Darvish will be the crispness of his split-finger fastball.
“I thought he did a nice job of pitching the last time out, just some long innings without being able to put guys away,” Ross said. “Looking for that splitty to show up. I feel like that’s the dominant pitch for him. When he’s got that going, it lines up with all those other pitches.”
The Cubs won two of three in Cincinnati and return to Wrigley Field with a 4-2 record and sitting in first place in the National League Central. But as second baseman Nico Hoerner said, even in a shortened season, it’s too early to begin scoreboard-watching.
“It’s obviously too early in the year to really look at results too much,” Hoerner said, “but I think if there's anything to learn from myself and this team so far this year, it's just that we've done a really nice job of having fun in circumstances that are pretty challenging, and I think that's going to lead to a lot of success, especially in a shorter season.”