Cubs-Cards try to beat weather again

By Jeff Arnold, The Sports Xchange  |  April 18, 2018 at 8:07 PM
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' win-loss record accounts for a total of 15 games, many of which have been played in conditions manager Joe Maddon doesn't believe were conducive to baseball.

But an extended winter has forced five postponements, including on Wednesday when a forecast of rain and sleet forced the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals to extend their series to a scheduled off-day on Thursday.

The postponement, the third at Wrigley Field since Sunday, came a day after the Cardinals won the pushed-back first game of the series on a night when temperatures were in the 30s and the wind chill was in the 20s.

And for a Cubs team waiting for its starting pitching and sporadic offense to heat up, it has become a matter of just trying to play through it.

"It's all how you put it in perspective," first baseman Anthony Rizzo told reporters after his first game back off the disabled list. "You can let it make you miserable or you can just go out and play. It is what it is. You know the sunny days are coming. Both on the field and as a group. You just keep playing through it."

After being slated to pitch on Wednesday, left-hander Jon Lester (1-0, 4.40 ERA) will pitch Thursday against the Cardinals. Lester has produced a mixed bag of results this season.

Lester scattered seven hits and allowed four earned runs in his only start at Wrigley this year. In 14 career starts against St. Louis, Lester is 5-4 with a 2.30 ERA.

The Cardinals, who have won five straight games, will start Luke Weaver in Thursday's game, which is weather permitting. The forecast calls for 1-to-2 inches of snow to fall overnight, which could put yet another matinee start at Wrigley in jeopardy.

Weaver was pushed into the Wednesday starting assignment in place of Michael Wacha, who has struggled at Wrigley Field. Wacha will instead make his next start on Friday against Cincinnati on eight days rest.

Weaver (2-0, 2.08) will make his third start and has yet to allow more than five hits or two earned runs in any of his outings. Weaver has, however, struggled in his two career starts against the Cubs, against whom he is 0-1 with a 12.86 ERA.

The moves manager Mike Matheny has made aren't limited to his pitching staff.

While third baseman Jedd Gyorko came off the disabled list after missing two weeks with hamstring injury, Matheny elected to keep him out of the lineup. Greg Garcia started at third on Tuesday with Matt Carpenter playing at second in place of struggling Kolten Wong.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that minor league outfielder Tyler O'Neill has joined the Cardinals and will be activated on Thursday.

O'Neill already has hit six home runs at Triple-A Memphis with a Pacific League-best 18 RBIs. O'Neill's arrival could mean that center fielder Tommy Pham's groin soreness could be more of an issue that originally believed.

With all the movement, however, Matheny insists everything will take care of itself.

"We're trying to put pieces together to try to make it look right," Matheny told reporters Wednesday, according to MLB.com. "Greg Garcia will be a part of it. Jedd Gyorko will be a part of it soon. And Kolten Wong is going to continue to be a part of it, but there are things to work on.

"When it's not clicking, you have to go back to the drawing board and figure something out and make the most of those opportunities. "

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