After their late, late show, Cubs get a well-earned break
ABS-CBN Sports on May 09, 2017 03:29 PM
Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant reacts after striking out swinging during the first inning of an interleague baseball game against the New York Yankees, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) — Kris Bryant was in a race to beat the rising sun on Monday morning. He won too, with his head hitting the hotel pillow in Denver moments before daybreak.
That was a well-earned victory for the Chicago Cubs third baseman after a draining 5-4, 18-inning loss to the New York Yankees in a game that lasted 6 hours, 5 minutes and spilled into Monday morning. By innings, it was the longest interleague game in Major League Baseball history.
At least the Cubs got a chance to kick back and unwind — before another grueling day.
Their game Monday with Colorado was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Tuesday. There was so much hail before the game that it had to be swept off the tarpaulin and the sprinklers turned on to melt the ice in the outfield.
There's was no rest for the Yankees, who arrived in Cincinnati after a short flight from Chicago at 5:08 a.m.
"As rough as it was yesterday, it's kind of cool to experience it, just to have that story in your pocket and to say, 'Look, we played 18 innings, got in (early), had to play in Colorado and there's a hail storm,'" said Bryant. "It's crazy."
The Cubs arrived at the ballpark a little later than usual. Coffee was the sought-after refreshment in the clubhouse and a seat on the sofa was a coveted commodity.
Maybe Bryant's plan worked. He purposely didn't sleep on the plane so he would be completely worn out when they arrived at the team hotel. Keeping his eyes open proved difficult after Chicago's longest home game since an 8-7 loss in 18 innings on Sept. 2, 1986, against Houston — a contest that was suspended and finished the next day.
"I've never been the type to pull an all-nighter in college, studying, or stay out super late," Bryant said. "Anytime I experience anything like that, it's so weird for me."
The Yankees know the feeling. Players drank caffeinated beverages in the clubhouse before the first game of their interleague series against the Reds on Monday. Reliever Tommy Layne yawned as he headed to his locker.
Manager Joe Girardi called off on-field batting practice for his players. Aaron Judge and Starlin Castro got the day off.
"I'm giving a couple of them days off today and maybe one or two of them through the next couple of days. Their legs are tired, beat up," Girardi said.
Much like with the Cubs, the Yankees' bullpen is worn thin. Girardi named four relievers who were likely unavailable because they'd thrown so many pitches the previous night, including closer Aroldis Chapman who blew a lead in the ninth. The Yankees called up pitcher Chad Green to give them a fresh reliever after the lengthy game sapped their bullpen.
Judge fell asleep around 6:30 a.m. and woke up a little after noon, feeling physically refreshed. He said that's not the most challenging part of recovering from such a long game.
"I think it's mental, to be honest," Judge said. "You just played 18 innings of baseball — close game, every pitch matters. It's a mental grind. Now we're really going to see what kind of team we've got here."
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was not sure how to feel about playing 18 innings or how it can be altered. In the World Baseball Classic, for instance, runners are put on first and second to start the 11th.
"There are a lot of ideas floated out there," Rizzo said. "Every overtime and extra time in sports is so exciting except baseball. It just drags and drags, where you have the NBA overtime, the NHL overtime, NFL, it's so exciting. Baseball, it's just a little (meh)."
Still, pretty cool to say he played in an 18-inning game, right?
"No," Rizzo said. "It's really not. You just want those games to end. ... Maybe when I'm older I can say it, but right now, no."
AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed.