Cubs' Ross leaves rotation unchanged despite Friday postponement
In the end, common sense prevailed.
Instead of what could have been a dreadfully long day with rain/snow delays, Major League Baseball postponed the Cubs-Brewers game at Wrigley Field on Friday. The teams will make it up as a split doubleheader on May 30.
"Everybody's trying to look out for the health of the players," Cubs manager David Ross said. "If we stop, go, stop, go, the pitching is what's not all the way stretched out yet for a lot of teams. ... We all want to play, but postponing it's probably just the smart thing."
Ross will not alter his starting rotation, meaning Justin Steele will pitch Saturday and Marcus Stroman will go Sunday as the Cubs close out their series with the Brewers. Drew Smyly will now start Tuesday at Pittsburgh.
The Cubs opened the season with a 5-4 victory over the Brewers on Thursday. Ian Happ went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, and Nico Hoerner hit a 2-run homer in the fifth that gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Ross told Hoerner afterward that he wouldn't be playing Friday. The Cubs' third-year manager admitted it wasn't an easy decision to make -- especially considering Hoerner had homered for just the fourth time in 381 career plate appearances -- but there's a plan that must be adhered to.
"There will be a lot of just shifting guys around," said Ross, who planned to start Jonathan Villar. "We've got a lot of bodies to keep fresh. It's a priority with the middle infielders to make sure everybody gets some days off."
Ross said he plans to keep lines of communication open so that everyone knows where they stand.
"I talked to him about (how) I used to get pinch hit for -- and even though I knew it was probably an out -- it still sucks," Ross said. "I can relate to how they feel. Here's my thinking and if they have a problem, they're free to address it."
Ross also addressed the back end of the bullpen and said he chose David Robertson to lock down Thursday's win because of the 36-year-old's experience. Robertson, who pitched in just 19 games since 2018, notched his 138th career save in 674 appearances. He has a career ERA of 2.93.
"David's done a nice job of coming in and getting himself ready," Ross said. "There's still a lot of unknown about the guys on the back end.
"I just trust in the experience and the calmness in the moment, which he handled really nicely."