Mother Nature wreaked havoc on U.S. Cellular Field Tuesday night, as a wild thunderstorm hit the contest between the White Sox and the Cubs, causing a 1 hour, 44-minute delay.
Heavy winds made it difficult to get the tarp on the field, leaving the infield a muddy mess for crews to battle after the rain finally stopped. If you watch the video above, you can see it’s a miracle they got the tarp on at all, as it took quite an effort just to get things under control.
Aside from the weather, there were some notable things from the game itself, which the White Sox won 3-2, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Brent Morel in the seventh inning.
- Paul Konerko continued his hot streak, hitting a home run for the fifth straight game. It was his 21st of the season and came off Matt Garza in the second inning. The record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, shared by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long.
- In a far more random stat, White Sox starter Mark Buehrle came up short in his bid to earn his major league-best 25th interleague win. Buehrle left the game with a 2-1 lead, but Jesse Crain came on after the delay and surrendered a game-tying sac fly to Aramis Ramirez.
- Adam Dunn, who is hitting .175, went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. He has now whiffed 91 times in 217 at-bats this season. Dunn has walked 41 times, though, leading Ozzie Guillen to quip: “I should put Dunn at leadoff because he’s the one who gets on base the most, but instead of striking out four (times), he might strike out six (times).”
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.