CHICAGO – With an unexpected day off because of the postponement of Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs decided to shuffle the pitching rotation to keep starters Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester going on normal rest.
John Lackey, who was to pitch on Saturday, will start in the finale of the series with the Braves on Sunday. Jason Hammel has been pushed back a day and will start Monday in the opener of a three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Because Arrieta and Lester each had an extra day before their previous outings, the Cubs preferred to keep them pitching on four days of rest. Arrieta will go Tuesday followed by Lester on Wednesday.
"We can manipulate right now, so we chose to do that," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course, Kyle’s fine. He doesn’t need any extra time. It’s just something we chose to do. On paper, he matches up well against Washington. It’s one of those things where the weather permitted us to do these things, so we’re gonna do it."
The rainout also provided slugger Kris Bryant an extra day of rest and treatment as he recovers from a mild right ankle sprain.
"He was doing really well this morning, by the way," Maddon said. "(Trainer) PJ (Mainville) came in and was pleased with his progress."
Although Bryant wasn’t in Saturday's starting lineup, he would have been available as a pinch hitter. There’s a possibility Bryant will be ready to return to the lineup Sunday, but a chance of rain in the forecast might encourage Maddon to hold him out another day.
"It’s gonna be, I guess, not as nasty (as Saturday) but still can be somewhat nasty, so I’ll debate whether to play him or not," the manager said. "But if we don’t start him, for sure he’ll be able to come off the bench."
There has been no official makeup date for Saturday’s game, but both teams have a day off on July 7, a day before the Braves open a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago.
Sharp Dressed Men: The rainout also afforded the Cubs players a chance to do some last-minute shopping ahead of Sunday’s themed road trip to Pittsburgh. Maddon has dubbed it the "Minimalist Zany Suit Trip."
The players, coaches and staff all will be required to wear suits and ties -- but not just any kind of suit. Some sort of unusual pattern or design is required. Maddon got the idea in spring training while visiting the website shinesty.com.
"Mine will feature tulips; I’ll give you that much," he said. "I saw the website and bought two of them. The other is leopard."
The theme will be in effect for the entire trip to Pittsburgh.
"If you’re seen at any time without part of your suit, it’s a hundred dollar fine unless you’re working out," Maddon said. "Going to the ballpark, in the hotel, going out for Starbucks in the morning. It can be just like the coat, a tie, the pair of pants, your shoes, the socks. Some form of the outfit."