Cubs delay home opener vs. Pirates because of snow

Snow falls at Wrigley Field on the morning of Chicago's home opener baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Monday, April 9, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs tried to play their home opener on Monday. It was just a snow-go.

The Cubs’ game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed a day because of snow that covered much of Wrigley Field, creating a scene more reminiscent of January than April.

”On the way out I had no idea if I was going to Cubs Convention or opening day,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon cracked.

The winter wonderland at Wrigley caused the majors’ 11th postponement so far this season, adding another picture to a growing montage of snowballs, ski caps and puffy coats from ballparks across the frigid Midwest.

The Cubs tried pushing back first pitch by an hour, and workers used hand-held blowers to melt the snow on the tarp. But the accumulation and cold temperatures were just too much.

The game was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which was previously an off day for the first series between the NL Central rivals.

”It’s rough out there,” reliever Steve Cishek said. ”We’re disappointed. We wanted to get this home opener underway. But at the same time, I know some guys in the bullpen probably, like myself, could use an extra day off just to heal up a little bit and be ready for tomorrow.”

Chicago is the last major league team to hold its home opener. It began the season with a 5-4 road trip to Miami, Cincinnati and Milwaukee.

The Cubs’ new-look bullpen has shined so far. It has a major league-best 0.94 ERA through 38 1/3 innings. Brandon Morrow picked up his first two saves over the weekend since he signed with Chicago in the offseason.

”We’ve got a lot of guys with a lot of good stuff,” Morrow said. ”When we’re going to continue to be in the strike zone like we have been, I mean you see the results. Guys are getting quick outs and strikeouts when they need to. Been limiting the free passes for the most part, and just really going in with a lot of confidence.”

Pittsburgh is off to a surprising 7-2 start. It took three of four against Cincinnati in its previous series.

Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova is expected to move back one day to start the series opener, and Maddon said Tyler Chatwood would go for the Cubs.

Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo was out of the starting lineup when it was announced Monday. He has been sidelined by back tightness, but he might be able to play in the rescheduled home opener.

About 10 miles to the south, the White Sox were hosting the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday in a game delayed briefly by the wintry weather. This is Tampa’s only trip to Chicago this season.

Roger Bossard, the head groundskeeper for the White Sox, said the Cubs had to deal with more than 3 inches of snow.

”They had more snow, so I get it,” Bossard said. ”When you are at the 3, 3 1/2 level … they made the right call.”

AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.

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