ATLANTA — Just when the Cubs thought the worst of their weather issues were behind them, the sixth rainout struck at SunTrust Park on Thursday night.
The Cubs’ final scheduled game of the season against the Braves was postponed after more than two hours, leaving the Cubs with a split in Atlanta and another trip to town for one game at 6:35 p.m. Aug. 30.
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Jon Lester (3-1, 2.66 ERA), who was scheduled to start, gets pushed back to Friday in the opener of a series in Cincinnati that includes a doubleheader Saturday caused by the Cubs’ first postponement of the season in the first week of the season.
The postponement Thursday costs left-hander Mike Montgomery his first start of the season. He was tentatively scheduled to start one of the games Saturday.
Instead, Kyle Hendricks slides into that spot, joining starter Jose Quintana in the twinbill.
Bullpen gets a break
The biggest upside to the rainout is the breather it gives a bullpen that had been so heavily worked in recent days that left-hander Randy Rosario was added as a ninth reliever.
Rosario was recalled from Class AAA Iowa, where he had a 0.52 ERA in 11 appearances.
Infielder David Bote was optioned to Iowa.
“It was necessary,” Maddon said before the rainout, referring to where his bullpen stood after being leaned on for 12 innings in the previous three days.
“[Steve] Cishek and [Brian] Duensing are perilously close to being way overused over the last week or whatever,” said Maddon, adding that Carl Edwards Jr. is in similar straits. “The bullpen’s been fabulous, and I want to keep them fabulous.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what the Cubs planned to do with the roster after getting the unplanned break.
This and that:With Rosario in the bullpen, the Cubs have only three bench players. …Right-fielder Jason Heyward might be ready to return from the concussion disabled list this weekend. …The Cubs will be allowed to add a 26th player for the doubleheader. …The game June 17 in St. Louis was picked up by ESPN for “Sunday Night Baseball,” moving the start time from 1:15 p.m. to 7:05. …The Braves put rookie right-hander Mike Soroka (1-1, 3.68), the scheduled starter Thursday, on the disabled list with a shoulder strain before the rainout and recalled lefty Max Fried for the start. …Despite using 11 leadoff men last year and seven players in the No. 1 spot in the order already this year, Maddon said he doesn’t expect this year’s number to grow unless the roster changes. …Outfielder Ian Happ joined the Atlanta-based Weather Channel for a guest appearance Wednesday on its broadcast. “I think I have a fallback,” said Happ, who was not consulted by game officials Thursday despite having appeared to forecast the rainout on the air.