Cole Hamels vs. Jacob deGrom. A rejuvenated pitcher who’d been lights-out all August against a top Cy Young candidate.
That alone would have been enough to make Tuesday night’s game must-see TV, but there was the added “attraction” of watching weather radars for a massive thunderstorm that had been bearing down on the Chicago area all night, and anticipated to hit the North Side around Wrigley Field right around 10 p.m. Would the Cubs and Mets complete their game before the rains hit?
Thanks in large part to the solid pitching of Hamels, deGrom and several Cubs relievers, they didn’t. With the game tied 1-1 and two pitches having been thrown in the top of the 10th, the anticipated torrential downpour began and after a dutiful waiting of about an hour (seriously, there was no way any more baseball was going to be played), the game was suspended. This is a relatively new baseball rule, instituted after Game 5 of the 2008 World Series was played partly in a similar downpour until it was tied up and then-Commissioner Bud Selig felt he could suspend it. That was codified the following winter. Of course, Joe Maddon is quite familiar with all of that, having been the manager of one of the teams in that game.
More on the logistics of how this will work later in this recap.
It rained hard for about 15-20 minutes just before 6 p.m., but that little storm cleared the area quickly and the field was prepared for an on-time start, which did in fact happen.
The pitchers’ duel was as advertised. deGrom, who had struck out 13 Cubs when he faced them June 2 in New York, didn’t have any trouble retiring Cubs for the first six innings, though they did have five hits in that time, all singles, and got just one runner past first base.
Hamels had a bit more difficulty, running up a high pitch count thanks to three walks (all drawn by Austin Jackson) and yet another instance of Javier Baez holding the ball a bit too long before throwing to first on a routine grounder. That ball, hit by deGrom in the fifth, didn’t result in a run, but it did extend the inning by at least two batters and possibly resulted in Hamels being lifted for pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella in the bottom of the frame.
Hamels, meanwhile, has been just outstanding as a Cub:
Cole Hamels with #Cubs— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 29, 2018
0.69 ERA, 39.0 IP, 28 Hits (26 singles, 2 doubles), 11 BB, 38 K
.212 opp BA, 1.000 WHIP.
Earned runs allowed (by game):
0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0
#Cubs Cole Hamels is the first in season acquisition in baseball history to allow one run or fewer in each of his first six starts with his new team.— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) August 29, 2018
Brandon Kintzler replaced Hamels and immediately got in trouble with a leadoff single and walk. He retired Kevin Plawecki, and then Jorge De La Rosa was summoned to face Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo popped up for the second out, but deGrom then bounced a single in between Baez and David Bote and the Mets had a 1-0 lead.
De La Rosa went through the rest of the sixth and seventh without major incident and then the Cubs finally got to deGrom in the last of the seventh.
Kyle Schwarber led off with a single. Albert Almora Jr. attempted to sacrifice him to second, but deGrom threw Schwarber out, leaving Almora at first with one out. Another pinch-hitter, Ben Zobrist, singled Almora to third. That brought up Bote [VIDEO].
At first off the bat, that ball appeared possibly headed for the seats. Unfortunately, it didn’t carry, as the wind had shifted mid-game, and was caught by Jackson. It was plenty deep enough to score Almora and the game was tied.
Carl Edwards Jr. threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a pair of strikeouts. That’s really, really encouraging, actually, because that was the best inning I’ve seen CJ throw in quite some time.
The Cubs had a chance to take the lead in the last of the eighth. Anthony Rizzo led off with a single, the eighth hit off deGrom, who then walked Jason Heyward. But Baez struck out and Victor Caratini hit into a double play to end the inning.
Pedro Strop threw a 1-2-3 ninth, and so did Mets reliever Seth Lugo. Meanwhile, the big red blob on smartphone radars was getting ever closer to Wrigley Field. A severe thunderstorm had been issued by the National Weather Service that actually stated specifically: “The Cubs and Mets at Wrigley Field should seek shelter.” (Wish I had a link here, but I actually did read that around 9:45.) I had made up my mind that if the game was tied and it started to rain, even lightly, that I was going to leave as it was absolutely clear that once it started raining, it wasn’t going to stop for several hours.
So that’s what happened. Steve Cishek ran a 2-0 count on Michael Conforto starting the 10th, and then the skies opened up [VIDEO].
It was kind of odd, I thought, to run Cishek out there when it was so clear that the game wasn’t going to progress far into the 10th. Strop could have thrown a couple of pitches and kept Cishek fresh, possibly for the resumption of the suspended game. I suppose Cishek could go back out there to continue, or Joe Maddon might have something else in mind.
A quick note on the Cubs’ division rivals before we talk logistics for this afternoon: The Brewers lost and Cardinals won Tuesday evening, so St. Louis trails the Cubs by four games and Milwaukee by 5½ going into Wednesday’s action.
The game will resume at noon CT, followed by the regularly-scheduled Wednesday game, 45 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game, but no earlier than 1:20 p.m. CT. Gates at Wrigley Field will open at 11 a.m. CT, and you must have a ticket for the Wednesday game for entry — you can’t get back in on your Tuesday ticket. It does appear that rain will be out of the area mid-morning and they’ll be able to play without interruption.
The last suspended games at Wrigley Field were in 2014, and if you’ve forgotten those, here’s my recap of what happened in the first one. That was written before the Giants’ protest was upheld and the game was ordered suspended. The Cubs eventually won the game anyway. A game between the Cubs and Pirates a couple of weeks later, in September 2014, was also suspended and completed the next day.
For BCB, here’s how we’re going to do things, since at this time it’s impossible to say exactly when the scheduled game will begin. (Here’s a 1979 Wrigley game that was suspended in the top of the 10th — and then they played nine more innings before playing the regular game when it was resumed!)
The game preview for the Wednesday game, with lineups, pitchers, etc. will post at 11 a.m. CT, half an hour earlier than usual for a day game, along with a StoryStream for that game.
At 11:55 a.m CT, five minutes before the scheduled resumption of this game, there will be a “suspended game thread” posted, that will appear in the usual places, including in the StoryStream for Tuesday’s game (which is now retitled “Cubs vs. Mets Tuesday suspended game threads.”). NOTE! This thread will NOT appear on the front page, only in the StoryStream and in the “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” group, so look for it in one of those places.
When it’s clear what time Wednesday’s scheduled game will start, I’ll post the thread times for the scheduled game in that suspended game thread as well as in the game preview. There won’t be another separate recap for Tuesday’s game; I’ll wrap that as well as the Wednesday game result after all Wednesday’s action is over.
Wednesday’s scheduled game will feature Alec Mills starting for the Cubs and Jason Vargas for the Mets. TV coverage is scheduled to be on NBC Sports Chicago, and NBCSCH will also carry the completion of the suspended game beginning at noon CT.