CINCINNATI -- With a day-night doubleheader slated for Saturday in Cincinnati, the Cubs and Reds will get their first opportunity to flex a new rule put in place by Major League Baseball that allows 26 active players on the roster for makeup game doubleheaders.
While the Reds are calling in a starter to make his big league debut, a familiar face in Brooks Raley will join the Cubs clubhouse Saturday and is schedule to start in the second half of the two-game affair.
"Because of the new rule, you have a luxury of having an extra guy. That's a nice rule they put in," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who added that preserving the bullpen is key during a doubleheader. "You go into it with eight guys in the bullpen, and you might let your starter go one extra inning than you might not do before."
Raley, a rookie, has already faced the Reds once this season on Sunday in Chicago, lasting six innings while giving three runs on five hits in a loss, receiving no run support.
Sveum is hoping Raley can repeat his performance from earlier this week, and combine with day game starter Jeff Samardzija to eat the majority of the innings on the mound.
"It's going to be a long day," Sveum said. "You have 18 innings to deal with. It's basically like you're playing in an 18-inning extra-inning game. You at least have two starting pitchers to suck up, hopefully, 12-14 of those innings."
Chicago's seven-game, six-day road trip, which began Friday in Cincinnati, is sandwiched between two off-days -- a luxury the club is using to its advantage.
"It helps a lot and knowing we have one at the end of this road trip helps a lot too," Sveum said. "The way you can do things and knowing that you basically have seven days in a row, you see what happens there."