CINCINNATI (AP) — Cubs manager Joe Maddon knew early Tuesday afternoon that the weather forecast was foreboding. He didn’t mind at all.
What better way to rest his overworked bullpen?
Storms prompted Cincinnati to postpone its game scheduled for Tuesday night, the second time the Reds called off a game because of bad weather during their opening homestand. Following a wait of 1 hour and 24 minutes, the Reds announced it would be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, May 19.
So now the 2-3 Cubs get back-to-back days off to rest their bullpen before starting a series in Milwaukee, followed by their 2018 debut at Wrigley Field.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Maddon said of the unpredictable weather. “I guess it might be snowing back in Chicago?”
Nobody appreciated the day off more than the Cubs’ relievers. Chicago played games of 17 innings and 10 innings while splitting a four-game series to open the season in Miami. The bullpen has thrown 26 innings in five games, a rough way to start the season.
“We’re just looking for an off-day to get the bullpen rested,” Maddon said.
Several of their hitters were on the field for early batting practice Tuesday before the storms moved in, hoping to find their touch. Chicago has been shut out in two straight games and managed only two hits during a 1-0 loss to the Reds on Monday. The Cubs are batting .137 with runners in scoring position.
Chicago is in the midst of a 10-game trip, the first time in 119 years the Cubs have played 10 away from home to start a season.
The Reds’ opening homestand ended with another disappointment.
Cincinnati had to call off its opening game last Thursday, the first time since 1966 that it pushed back an opener because of bad weather. The Reds then got swept by the Washington Nationals for their first 0-3 start since 2003.
The postponement Tuesday left the Reds 1-3 on the shortened homestand.
One bright spot for Cincinnati: The Reds got three quality starts. Last year, the rotation pitched the fewest innings in the majors, straining the bullpen.
“We had to rely on our starters to eat up some innings or right now we’d be talking about a very tired bullpen, but we’re not,” manager Bryan Price said. “It’s essential. And this should be a sign of things to come.”
The last time the Reds had two games rained out during a homestand was 1985 against the Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium.
The Cubs haven’t been shut out in three consecutive games since 1992, when they lost four straight — three against the Braves, one against the Reds.
Left-hander Brandon Finnegan will throw about 80 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, and Reds will decide whether to activate him or let him make one start at Triple-A Louisville. He strained his left biceps during spring training. ... Reliever David Hernandez (sore shoulder) has resumed throwing. He had a cortisone shot last week.
Cubs: Ben Zobrist was set to bat leadoff Tuesday in place of Ian Happ, who is healthy but was getting a day off as Maddon tried to jumpstart his lineup. Happ homered on the first pitch of the season but is only 2 for 16.
Reds: RF Scott Schebler was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a sore right elbow, which was hit by a pitch on Sunday. He’s expected back during a series in Pittsburgh.
Cubs: Following a day off, they resume their 10-game opening trip in Milwaukee. Left-hander Jon Lester (0-0), who was supposed to start against the Reds, will face the Brewers as Maddon keeps his starters on turn.
Reds: Following a day off, they open their first road series in Pittsburgh. Homer Bailey (0-1) faces left-hander Steven Brault (1-0). Bailey is 6-2 career at PNC Park, including the first of his two no-hitters in 2012. The Reds will skip left-hander Cody Reed, who was supposed to start Tuesday’s game.