MIAMI — Five hours, 18 minutes and 17 innings of baseball after starting their second game of the season, the Cubs went into their third game Saturday gassed and taking inventory of their available pitchers.
For a moment, even third baseman Kris Bryant saw the merits of considering measures to set limits or alter rules for extra innings.
‘‘I think anybody that played in that game [a 2-1 Cubs loss] would certainly be up for talking about it,’’ Bryant said.
But that doesn’t mean he has changed his staunch opposition to a rules change such as the one being used in the minors for the first time this year that calls for each extra inning to start with a runner on second base.
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‘‘It’s a slippery slope because once you start to talk about that, it’s changing the whole game,’’ said Bryant, the Cubs’ player rep.
Nobody in the Cubs’ clubhouse who was asked was in favor of any change as fundamental as the second-base rule.
‘‘I know there’s going to be conversation after this [game],’’ manager Joe Maddon said. ‘‘But overall, I still am a traditionalist with that.
‘‘As a manager sitting in this situation, beating up the bullpen’s no fun. But I also believe that’s an anomaly game.’’
In fact, the marathon Friday marked only the second time in history a game of that length was played in the first two games of the season. (It also happened between the Twins and Royals in 1969.)
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has said he doesn’t anticipate the man-on-second rule being enacted in the majors.
But what about limiting the number of extra innings? Or allowing ties? Or just allowing teams to add a pitcher to the roster for a day or two after an especially lengthy extra-inning game, something Maddon and reliever Pedro Strop advocated?
The game was especially taxing because it was the second during an opening stretch of six games before the Cubs’ first day off.
When Saturday starter Yu Darvish failed to get through the fifth inning in his Cubs’ debut, it exacerbated the issue.
‘‘Maybe after a 12-inning game, you get an extra pitcher for a couple of days,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘As opposed to radical surgery, maybe just some arthroscopic surgery.’’
Or maybe the game just ends in a tie. Or maybe baseball goes to a point system, like hockey or soccer. That’s what former Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija of the Giants said in spring training.
‘‘I’ve been watching soccer a ton; I love it,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘We should steal their idea of points. Do three [for a win] and one [for a tie].’’
And no extra innings at all, he said.
‘‘That way, it makes the ninth inning exciting every game,’’ he said. ‘‘Because you can play to a point.’’
But Bryant disagreed.
‘‘You can’t have a tie in baseball; you just can’t,’’ he said. ‘‘You can’t do a point system.’’
Offered the same pushback by a curmudgeonly writer, Samardzija said: ‘‘Why? Because Americans can’t tie? Someone has to be a winner? We’re talking mentality and social issues here. We play 162 games. We can’t tie in 15 or 20 of them? What’s the big deal? And who’s being hurt by not playing extra innings? Relievers, by not being able to get a win?’’
It’s a big deal to Cubs right-hander Eddie Butler, the reliever who retired 20 of the 26 batters he faced (plus a caught-stealing) in seven innings Friday.
‘‘I don’t like tying in spring training,’’ Butler said. ‘‘Ties are no fun. I like winners and losers, and I like to be winning.’’