Chicago Cubs NLDS Game 4 against Nationals postponed

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Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals has been postponed until 3:08 p.m. Wednesday. (WLS)

Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals has been postponed until 3:08 p.m. Wednesday.

Tickets for the postponed game are still good for Wednesday. Fans were let down as they left the Friendly Confines following the announcement of the postponement.

"Nothing worse than a rainout, especially in the playoffs. Yeah, for sure. But hopefully tomorrow," said Bill Lowe, Cubs fan.

"I did want to see some baseball. But I had a dog, got a beer. It's all good. We'll get it down tomorrow," said Loren Shevitz, Cubs fan.

Officials called the game at 5:15 p.m. At 5:16 p.m., thousands called their boss.

"I can't take off work tomorrow. I already talked to my manager, but she said no. So I'm kind fo bummed," said Alisa Spilotros, disappointed Cubs fan.

"This is fine. We'll start over tomorrow. I'll just tell my boss I need another day off," said fan Phil Katz.

The last time the Cubs saw a playoffs rain delay was Game 7 of the World Series last year. Those drops of inspiration allowed the Cubs to regroup after the Cleveland Indians mounted a comeback.

But this time it's the Cubs wo are on a roll after Game 3's thrilling come-from-behind win. Could the rain be a momentum killer?

"No, I feel like the rain helped in the World Series. It'll help now, and it'll be perfect," said Ted Esler, Cubs fan.


Even with the rain, Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker delivered the biggest surprise of the day.

Baker announced after the rainout that he will stay with Tanner Roark for Wednesday's must-win game against the Chicago Cubs instead of giving the ball to ace Stephen Strasburg on regular rest. Jake Arrieta pitches for the Cubs in his return from a right hamstring injury.

Strasburg threw a bullpen session earlier in the day, according to Baker, and the manager also said there is an illness going around the team, which he attributed to the weather, air conditioning at their hotel and Wrigley, and the "time of the year for mold around Chicago."

"We decided to stay with Tanner because, No. 1, you know, he was slated," Baker said. "Didn't work out for Stras for his bullpen day, and we're all creatures of habit, and plus, we've got full confidence in Tanner. And Stras, it would have been better, because he's feeling under the weather, like a lot of my team is."

The Cubs and Nationals took batting practice and the grounds crew got the field ready before bringing out the tarp. The rain started to fall about a half-hour after the game was supposed to start. With more showers in the forecast, Major League Baseball then called it off.

Chicago leads 2-1 in the best-of-five series going into Game 4, now scheduled for Wednesday at 4:08 p.m. EDT. There is rain in the forecast for early in the day.

"Everybody was pretty much on the same page on this one," MLB executive Joe Torre said. "You know, we all felt it wasn't going to be enough playing time without rain."

If the Nationals win Wednesday, Game 5 would be Thursday night in Washington. The winner of the NLDS takes on the Dodgers in the next round, scheduled to begin Saturday in Los Angeles.

Chicago won 2-1 at home Monday.

Arrieta has pitched just 10 1/3 innings since Aug. 30. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner got hurt during a loss at Pittsburgh on Sept. 4. He returned late last month and made a couple starts down the stretch, but lasted just three innings in a loss at St. Louis on Sept. 26.

The Cubs skipped Arrieta's last turn in the rotation in the regular season and then pushed him back to Game 4 for the playoffs, giving the right-hander ample time to rest.

"Jake's really primed for this opportunity," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I'm real eager to watch him play."

The 31-year-old Arrieta was a key factor in Chicago's turnaround in the last part of the season, going 6-3 with a 2.28 ERA in his final 12 outings. Arrieta, who is eligible for free agency after the season, could be making his last start in a Cubs uniform.

"These next few days are going to be extremely special, and if we're fortunate enough to get past these guys, like I feel we are, I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy the last few weeks," Arrieta said Monday.

Roark is from Wilmington, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago, and grew up rooting for the Cubs. Baker praised Roark's "warrior mentality" on Monday, but the decision to go with the righty over Strasburg and the circumstances surrounding the move likely will be hotly debated ahead of Game 4.

With Max Scherzer nursing his own right hamstring injury, Strasburg started the series opener on Friday and turned in a dominant performance. The right-hander was working on a no-hitter before Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit consecutive RBI singles with two outs in the sixth inning.

Strasburg struck out 10 in seven innings and was charged with two unearned runs and three hits in Washington's 3-0 loss. Going back to the regular season, he is 5-2 with a microscopic 0.74 ERA and 73 Ks in 60 2/3 innings over his last nine starts.

Baker said Strasburg will start Game 5 if the series goes that far.

"It's fine," said Baker, who left open the possibility of going with Strasburg when he talked to reporters before the game. "We have full confidence in Tanner."

The rainout also meant the Nationals had to switch hotels.

The biggest winner of the day was the Dodgers, who eliminated Arizona with a 3-1 victory in Game 3 of their NLDS on Monday night. If the NLDS between the Nationals and Cubs goes the distance, the survivor will have to play four times in five days.


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Rain delay, shmain delay. Excited fans lined up at Wrigley Field for NLDS Game 4 between the Cubs and Nationals, hoping to see them move on to the NLCS even with weather.

Excitement built as the clock inched closer to game time Tuesday. Rooting them was 59-year-old Keith Houchin on his birthday.

"It's my birthday and there's nothing better than going to the Cubs game on my birthday," he said.

The Cubs also hoped to beat the weather; rain is expected. Houchin came prepared with a poncho.

"It was just a gift from my wife a few years ago. It's so small, it's nice to keep it with me and take it to the game," Houchin said.

Anticipating rain gear being a hot commodity, Marcus Lyons was selling them alongside other goodies. He said the ponchos may be subject to surge pricing.

"Right now, they might be kind of cheap. But once starts raining, the price may go up," he said, laughing.

It wasn't the rain but a windfall of tickets that Jose Mateo and Ernesto Lorenzo were hoping for. They've been Cubs fans for 25 years, following them from their home in the Dominican Republic.
They came to town to run the Chicago Marathon, and leave Wednesday, but they are trying their luck at buying last minute tickets.

The Cubs tweeted the lineup for Game 4 late Tuesday morning.

Surprisingly, many Cubs fans ABC7 Eyewitness News spoke with Tuesday morning were not scrambling to get to the game.

There were no long lines outside the box office or at local brokers' offices. On StubHub, tickets less than $100 were still available. Maybe it's the weather, but fan fever seemed a little tame.

Gray skies, cool weather and a slight breeze around Wrigley Field created the calm before the storm.

"We're gonna win. We're gonna win. I know it. I feel good," said Blake Gwin, a Cubs fan.

Most people said they prefer to watch on TV tonight.

"You know? Rather spend my money on beer than on tickets. It happens," Cubs fan Andy Petersen said with a laugh.

"I wish I could, but gotta be a fan on a budget," Gwin said.

People like Gus Castro, who works at a nearby restaurant, said he was excited for the money that will roll in from fans who want to watch the game in Wrigleyville without going through the gates.

"It's a lot of work. Lot of people exciting. Lots of family. Something for all the family," Castro said.

Fans who don't have a ticket still found a way to show their support - writing a chalk message on the brick wall on Sheffield Avenue. Go Cubs!

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
sportsChicago CubsCubsbaseballMLBWashington Nationalswrigley fieldChicago BearssecurityChicagoWrigleyville
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