Clown shoes in Chicago: the Cubs grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field

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The rains came. The rains lasted only fifteen minutes. The Chicago Cubs grounds crew, however, failed to do the one job it had in that situation:

The tarp was all crooked and so much of the field was left uncovered by it turing the downpour, that the infield was basically soaked. They took over four hours after the rain stopped to try to fix things, but it couldn’t be fixed. The field was too wet to play and the game — already official under the rules — was called. The Cubs win 2-0.

Not that this will end things. As Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports, the Giants are mulling a protest. For their part, the Cubs were willing to simply agree to call it a suspended, rather than an official game, but they can’t just do that because the rules don’t allow for it. Rule 4.12, the rule which covers suspended games, only allows for suspended games in six situations:

SUSPENDED GAMES.
(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:
(1) A curfew imposed by law;
(2) A time limit permissible under league rules;
(3) Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment);
(4) Darkness, when a law prevents the lights from being turned on;
(5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead; or
(6) It is a regulation game that is called with the score tied. National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games. (If adopted by a National Association League, Rule 4.10(e) would not apply to their games.):

Subsection (3) may sorta apply here as at least it invokes the tarp, but this was not an automated tarp situation. It was human error. Perhaps everyone can look past that and just say “close enough” and try to resume this game later, but to do that Major League Baseball will have to ignore the fact that this exact thing happened last month in New York in a Yankees-Rangers game and that game was deemed official despite grounds crew incompetence. And no, you can’t just say “well, this game has playoff implications for the Giants.” On June 23 — and maybe even now — the Yankees have an argument of playoff significance. And even though the Rangers stink, their record matters for things like draft order.

Baseball will likely mull this today — perhaps considering whether to invoke The Best Interests of Baseball clause. But for now, everyone can mostly just fume. Like Bruce Bochy. Who definitely fumed:

Feeling your pain, there, Bruce.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.