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Cubs 3, Pirates 3: Suspended

This time, they did the right thing, and much quicker than last month.

Look in the corner of the LF bleachers. See me? No, you don't, because I had already gone downstairs by the time this photo was taken
Look in the corner of the LF bleachers. See me? No, you don't, because I had already gone downstairs by the time this photo was taken
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Rule 4.12 -- which we heard a lot about last month during that protested Giants/Cubs game, says the following about suspended games:

(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:
(1) A curfew imposed by law;
(2) A time limit permissible under league rules;
(3) Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment);
(4) Darkness, when a law prevents the lights from being turned on; (5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead; or
(6) It is a regulation game that is called with the score tied. National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games.

There's more, but I cut it off there because subsection (6) is the relevant part of this rule. No need to sit around for hours, no need to have any "mechanical" failures of the tarp, since the game was tied 3-3 (here's the current boxscore), under this rule MLB officials could suspend the contest, and that's what they did, but not until after two very curious rain delays.

The first one was called at 3:13 p.m. after severe storms were spotted heading toward Wrigley Field. Check out these tweets I got in the few minutes before the delay:

I had, in fact, gone downstairs by the time @cubsweather sent that tweet my way, as they had been proactive and pulled the tarp on the field before it even started raining, with two out in the top of the fifth ant the Pirates leading 3-2. And... in fact, all that severe weather that went through the suburbs mentioned in those tweets never quite got to Wrigley Field. It sprinkled a bit and the wind shifted and the temperature dropped from the high 80s to the low 70s, but with no rain falling and radars indicating a break, the grounds crew took the tarp off the field and play resumed.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Cubs tied the game on a pair of singles and a walk by Chris Valaika, and they got through the sixth and one out in the seventh with more rain indicated on radars, and then it started pouring at 4:25 p.m., about 35 minutes after the resumption. This time, the rain came fast and hard. It rained hard for about another 30 minutes, then stopped, and there was a lot of ... nothing. The Cubs made an announcement at 5:30 that they were waiting for another storm to come through and they would make another announcement later.

This seemed silly to me. Radars indicated that when that "another storm" hit, it would likely be raining for several hours. Did they really want another six-hour-plus delay, especially when they didn't have to?

Fortunately, sanity prevailed. About 10 minutes later two of the umpires, along with Cubs VP of Stadium Operations (sometimes humorously tagged "VP of Rain Delays") Carl Rice and Head Groundskeeper Roger Baird walked from the first-base dugout, around the edges of the tarp, with utterly serious looks on their faces. When they got to the home-plate area, one of the umpires waved his arms in a "wave-off" gesture, indicating that was it for baseball for the day, at 5:42 p.m., after another delay of about an hour and 10 minutes. That means so far this year:

That's an awful lot of rain delays. This is perhaps the rainiest season I can remember; the Cubs haven't been rained out at home this year (and hopefully, no more delays!), but had three games rained out on the road (at New York, Cincinnati and St. Louis, all of which have now been made up).

Fortunately, the weather forecast for Saturday is for absolutely gorgeous conditions, sunny skies and highs in the low 70s, meaning no rain delay as we had before the resumption of the Giants/Cubs suspended game last month. They'll resume this one at 2 p.m. CT with one out ion the top of the seventh and the game tied 3-3; the regularly-scheduled game, originally scheduled for 3:05 p.m., will follow. Gates at Wrigley Field will open at 1 p.m. for the resumption of the suspended game. There hasn't yet been any announcement from the Cubs about what any Friday ticket holders will receive, if anything, since this game was past the point of being official; if you want to see the completion, you'll have to have a Saturday ticket.

Two game-related things of interest: Tsuyoshi Wada struggled through three-plus innings and then had to leave because of cramping in his left calf; that doesn't sound serious and likely was related to the extremely humid conditions. And Jorge Soler displayed his strong and accurate throwing arm, throwing out Jose Tabata as he tried to stretch a one-out single into a double in the top of the sixth.

The last time the Cubs had two suspended games in the same season was in 1987; in fact, those were the last two suspended games at Wrigley before this year. Consecutive games against the Dodgers July 9, 1987 and July 10, 1987 were both suspended due to darkness and completed the following day. So you're living a bit of history here, too.

After they finish Friday's game, Felix Doubront will take the mound against Francisco Liriano in the regularly-scheduled game. I'll have recaps of both games after the regular game is over.