A member of the Chicago Cubs grounds crew falls as they unfold the tarp after play was suspended during the eighth inning Wednesday against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Hmmmm... that headline looks awfully familiar... could it be p**********?
Of course not, because it can rain more than once, and on different days! Who knew? (Besides, I wrote that other headline myself.)
The Cubs defeated the Marlins 5-1 in a game that was halted at 9:38 p.m. by rain with a 1-2 count on Marlins catcher Brett Hayes and rain falling in sheets, perhaps even harder than it did during the rain delay on Friday. Seeing the reds, oranges and yellows on radar screens and knowing the teams have a game this afternoon, I didn't figure they'd resume play, so I left the ballpark when the delay was called, and sure enough, an hour and 17 minutes later, the game was placed in the books as a Cubs victory.
Jeff Samardzija struggled through five innings; his pitching line -- six hits, three walks, one run, nine strikeouts -- doesn't look too bad, but 97 pitches in five innings is too many. He managed to get out of the fifth, after a leadoff triple by Emilio Bonifacio and a botched rundown play when Geovany Soto dropped the ball, with a strikeout and a harmless ground ball to first.
The game was tied 1-1 at that point, thanks to a Starlin Castro home run (his eighth) in the fourth inning. It was just about the only thing the Cubs could do with Josh Johnson in the first six innings; a walk to Samardzija (the first Cubs baserunner) and a single by Darwin Barney were the only other baserunners...
... until the seventh, when five of the first six Cubs got hits off Johnson and Mike Dunn; the biggest blow was a two-run double smacked down the left-field line by pinch-hitter Jeff Baker (who, I have to admit, has played quite well recently). By the time the inning ended rain had started to fall lightly, and then got harder as Shawn Camp faced three batters in the top of the eighth. If the Cubs had been able to turn a double play on Omar Infante's sharp ground ball -- and I can't imagine it was easy handling that wet baseball -- the umpires might have let the inning go long enough for Camp to get out of it. With the rain falling really hard, they seemed to be treating it as if it were the top of the ninth, a last chance for the Marlins before they called it.
Finally, the rain began falling too hard and play was stopped. It was the first rain-shortened game at Wrigley since May 25, 2011 against the Mets; that Retrosheet boxscore contains this charming description:
Game called for rain; when crew chief Dale Scott pulled the teams off the field, Cubs manager Mike Quade went onto the field and argued with Scott for a few minutes
I remember that and you probably do, too. Seems like more than just 14 months ago, doesn't it?
The Cubs have a chance to win another home series with a win Thursday afternoon against the Marlins, when the rain has yet another chance to be falling. The game preview will post at 11:30 a.m. CDT.