Cubs 'ready to play,' no matter the day

Maddon, team not concerned about NLDS Game 4 postponement

Cubs 'ready to play,' no matter the day

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Jake Arrieta got another day to rest his hamstring, and he will face the Nationals on Wednesday in Game 4 of the rain-delayed National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

Tuesday's Game 4 of the NLDS was postponed because of inclement weather, and it will be played on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Game Date Matchup TV/Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 CHC 3, WSH 0 WATCH
Gm 2 Oct. 7 WSH 6, CHC 3 WATCH
Gm 3 Oct. 9 CHC 2, WSH 1 WATCH
Gm 4 Oct. 11 WSH 5, CHC 0 WATCH
Gm 5 Oct. 12 CHC 9, WSH 8 WATCH

The Cubs lead the best-of-five series two games to one, and they need one win to advance to the NL Championship Series presented by Camping World against the Dodgers, who swept the D-backs to clinch their NLDS on Monday night. It would be the Cubs' third straight trip to the NLCS.

"Right now, our guys are ready to play," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They were in the weight room getting ready to play. Everything was fine, nobody was crying about anything, about the wait or what was going to happen tonight. Nobody kept coming into my office asking what's going on. They were just getting ready to play."

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Neither the Cubs nor Nationals wanted to start Tuesday's game and have it interrupted by rain, which could have resulted in losing that day's starter after a shortened period of time. At approximately 5:30 p.m. CT, an hour after the scheduled first pitch, heavy rain began pelting Wrigley Field.

"When you start a game like this game -- any game, but especially at this time of year -- you look at the opportunity to play nine innings," Maddon said.

Arrieta, scheduled to start Tuesday, will now go on Wednesday, marking his first postseason start of 2017. He had been pushed back because of a sore right hamstring that bothered him in September. However, Maddon said the extra day won't matter.

"There's no really extra advantage," Maddon said. "He was ready to pitch today. He was ready to go. So there's no real great advantage for us."

Maddon on Dodgers' advantage

This is the third time Arrieta has started a postseason game with a chance to clinch the series. He shut out the Pirates in the 2015 NL Wild Card Game, and he held the Giants to two runs over six innings in Game 3 of last year's NLDS.

The Nationals were going to stick to their Tuesday plan and start Wilmington, Ill., native Tanner Roark in Game 4. But on Wednesday morning, news dropped that Washington was turning to Stephen Strasburg , who struck out 10 over seven innings in Game 1.

"They just have good pitching, period," Maddon said. "We have to win one more game somehow. Based on [Monday's] game, you want to get right back out there and play."

Torre on Game 4 being postponed

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and Maddon met with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and manager Dusty Baker less than one hour prior to Tuesday's scheduled 4:38 p.m. CT start to discuss their options. Major League Baseball announced the game was postponed shortly after 5 p.m. CT.

"Everybody wanted to play, but we didn't want to play at a cost, especially in the postseason," said Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's chief operating officer.

Both teams took batting practice on Tuesday, but the forecast called for rain beginning in the late afternoon and continuing all evening.

The Cubs' pitching has been key in this series. So far, they've compiled a 2.08 ERA in three games, striking out 22 over 26 innings.

"They have spectacular pitching, but our guys have matched them, inning-for-inning, and that's why we've won," Maddon said. "Their pitching has been great, and so has ours. You have to pitch better than really good pitching, great pitching to win, and we have. It comes down to that. Our starters have permitted us to be in this position."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.