The Brewers and Cubs have been in a bit of a feud this season, both on the field and behind the scenes. On the field, the Cubs have a 3.5 game lead in the NL Central. Behind the scenes, the Cubs have made some questionable calls in Brewers-Cubs games at Wrigley Field that would play to the Cubs’ advantage.
Another of those decisions came today. In recent years, the Cubs have played all of their Friday home games at 1:20 pm, in part due to regulations from the city about how many night games the team can have. When the Brewers travel to Chicago next weekend, their Friday game was set for that standard 1:20 pm start. However, today the Cubs announced that the game would be moved to a 7:05 pm start instead.
On the surface, this doesn’t appear to be an issue, as game time changes are uncommon, but do happen for any reason. However, the Brewers did object to this game time change. The reason why is because the Cubs benefited by changing the time of this game:
#Brewers objected to Cubs changing Friday game to night because it gives them advantage after night game in Pittsburgh day before.— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 31, 2017
This isn’t the first time this season that the Cubs benefited from a scheduling change against the Brewers. Earlier this year, the Cubs postponed a game against the Brewers due to rain, but the rain had stopped in time to play the game. This occurred during a period where the Cubs had played several games in a row and gained some extra rest during this streak. Meanwhile, the Brewers lost a lone off day in the stretch up to the All-Star Break, and gained a day of rest they didn’t need (they had an off day scheduled following that Cubs series). The Brewers did win the makeup game 11-2, though the Cubs won the game following the “rainout” 13-6.
Currently, the Cubs are in the middle of a streak of 20 games in a row, and the series against the Brewers will finish that streak. The Cubs had a night game in Pittsburgh scheduled the day before this series, and by moving this game back, they will get extra rest prior to the game. It’s not an unreasonable idea, since there has been a focus in MLB of eliminating day games following night games when travel is involved. However, instead of addressing this early in the season, the Cubs are choosing to do it a week before the game, and conveniently, against a team they are in a playoff race against. The timing of it seems very suspect.
Regardless of when the game is played, the Brewers still need to go into Wrigley Field that day and take care of business by winning. However, it’s hard to not wonder if the Cubs are trying to stack the deck in their favor here.
EDIT: Tom Haudricourt clarified his use of the word “advantage” in a follow-up tweet:
To rephrase earlier tweet, #Brewers did not say Cubs get advantage by switching to night. They just thought schedule should remain same.— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 31, 2017
It's not about "advantage." I misused that word. It's about adhering to the schedule and not changing it for competitive reasons. https://t.co/VdaS4egwHk— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 31, 2017
It’s still a fair point being made by the Brewers. The schedule has been known for nearly a year, and start times for 6-7 months. If this was an issue, it should have been addressed early in the season, and not a week before the game. That’s the main reason behind objecting to this change.