Cubs' sweep effort thwarted by rainout

Cubs' sweep effort thwarted by rainout

CHICAGO -- The Cubs took the first two games of their series against the Pirates, but they never got the chance to complete a three-game sweep.

Sunday's game was postponed due to rain after a delay that lasted about three and a half hours. No makeup date has been announced, although Pittsburgh returns to Chicago for a three-game series starting Sept. 29, so the clubs could choose to play a doubleheader on one of those days.

Rich Harden was supposed to start for the Cubs and warmed up in the bullpen like he normally does before the bad weather hit.

"It was definitely a strange one," Harden said. "I got ready kind of early, too, and not one drop until I got done. I'd just got in the dugout and it started raining."

Although the rain soon stopped, the game never got going.

"The problem was that after the first rain shower, there was a window, and they knew more rain was coming and the game would have to be stopped," manager Lou Piniella said. "So they waited for the second wave to come through, and it just hung around for a lot longer than people thought."

Officials hoped to start the game some time around 4 p.m. CT, but Piniella said it later became apparent it would not be able to begin before 6 p.m.

"It was an inconvenience to the fans, but at the same time, they tried everything in their power to get this game in," Piniella said.

Ted Lilly will still come off the disabled list to start Monday in San Diego, and will be followed the next two days by Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells on regular rest. Harden will start sometime during the following series in Los Angeles, so he will not miss two full turns in the rotation.

Even though the Cubs did not play, it did not seem like an off-day to Harden.

"We were here, we were just about playing," Harden said. "Everybody's getting ready. You're mentally prepared, you're physically prepared. We're getting out around the same time we would if we played a game, so it's not really like a rest."

Andrew Simon is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.