The San Francisco Giants, desperately trying to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, lost a rain-shortened game on Tuesday night to the Chicago Cubs 2-0, and the reason for the loss is going to prompt them to protest the game. Rain and wind had plagued the game through the early innings, and when the elements worsened, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt stopped play. That’s when the real problems started.
The grounds crew had difficulty in placing the manual tarp to cover the infield completely, which left it vulnerable to the rain for more than 10 minutes. By the time the rain eased up, the grounds crew needed almost 1 1/2 hours to remove the water from the infield as they took dozens of bags of compound to try to absorb the water. But the infield wouldn’t dry completely, leaving it dangerous for the players, and prompting an end to the game at 1:16 a.m., 6 hours and 9 minutes after it had started.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said, “We tried to wait as long as we could. Because the Giants were in a pennant race, we felt an obligation to do that. I talked with the umpires a lot and (president) Theo (Epstein) talked with MLB to come up with a way to play this game the way it should be played. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and it’s unfortunate.”
Cubs manager Rick Renteria added, “The one thing that everybody has to be cognizant of is, you don’t want any of those guys to get hurt — period,. As a former infielder, I can tell you the footing was going to be pretty bad.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, furious, said, “I hope they listen and watch what happened there. In this day and time, it shouldn’t happen. It can’t happen with the importance of these games. I’m going to leave it at that.” A team official said they might protest the game.
Wendelstedt ultimately had no choice; the baseball rulebook states that the game could only be suspended and completed at a later date if the cause of the stoppage were a light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device that the home team supervised. The mechanical device can be an automatic tarp or water removal equipment. Because this case involved human failure, the game had to be called.
Wendelstedt said, “The problem that all the parties faced was, in the baseball rulebook, there was nothing to put our hat on to suspend the game. The game became regulation with the home team winning in the top of the fifth inning. There was really no way around it.”
Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1) allowed six hits without yielding a walk to win for the third consecutive start. Ryan Vogelsong (7-9) was almost as good, giving up three hits and two walks in four innings, but he was hurt by a two-run homer by Anthony Rizzo after Javier Baez walked in the first inning. Rizzo’s homer was his 29th; he also had a base hit. The Giants managed a hit every inning but they went 1 for 10 with runners on base. The loss left the Giants 4 1/2 games behind the Dodgers; it was their seventh loss in the last ten games.