That was pretty rare. Indeed, the Cubs haven’t had a scheduled Sunday off since Herbert Hoover was president. The Nationals/Expos have never had a scheduled Sunday off as far as I can tell. Yet that’s what they did this weekend, playing two on Saturday and taking yesterday off to chill out.
The reason: Chicago’s concern over neighborhood traffic due to the city’s annual Pride Parade in Wrigleyville yesterday. Makes sense, especially at a time where the team and its neighbors and the city are all in a messy fight about the future of the ballpark and its renovations and things. No sense in making things more chaotic when they don’t have to be.
Based on some of the player and executive comments, the day off on Sunday was pretty darn popular. No one likes doubleheaders all that much anymore, but you have to wonder if some occasional Sundays off — say, one at home a season for each team — wouldn’t be about the easiest bone for owners to throw to players the next time the CBA is negotiated. Given how precious they consider the couple of days off they get for the All-Star break you’d have to think that one extra weekend day off at home would be considered pretty darn valuable too.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.