CINCINNATI — 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.
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.”
Royals 1, Tigers 0
DETROIT — With another postponement looming as a possibility, Jakob Junis and the Kansas City Royals breezed to their first victory of the season.
Junis took a shutout into the eighth inning, and the Royals beat the Detroit Tigers. On a chilly, rainy day — with snow a possibility on Wednesday — Kansas City and Detroit played nine innings in 2 hours, 17 minutes.
The Royals were the last team in the American League to earn their first win. They already had one game called off because of the weather, on Sunday at home against the White Sox. This one had the potential to be dicey, but although some light rain had fans leaving the lower bowl of seats in the third inning, there were no delays.
“At the beginning, the wind was blowing right in my face, but that kind of helped me out a little bit, to get some more movement on my pitches,” Junis said. “Later in the game it still wasn’t great, but at least the wind had died down a little bit. I pitched in a lot of that type of stuff back in high school, being from Illinois.”
The temperature at game time was 40 degrees.
“Those conditions out there are miserable for everybody,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “When it’s misty like that it helps you a little bit, because you get a little bit of moisture on your fingers. When it’s super ice cold, the ball feels like you’re throwing an ice cube.”
Jorge Soler, who still doesn’t have a major league hit since July 2, drove in the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the second.
Junis (1-0) allowed three hits in seven-plus innings . The 25-year-old right-hander walked one and struck out six before being lifted following Mikie Mahtook’s leadoff single in the eighth.
Justin Grimm finished the inning, and Kelvin Herrera struck out two in a perfect ninth for his first save.
Matthew Boyd (0-1) was sharp for the Tigers, allowing a run and four hits in six innings. A native of Mercer Island, Washington, Boyd said he, too, has some experience with conditions like this.