The Cubs played a rare November night game Saturday.
Nah, it just felt that way what with a steady rain, a 19-mph wind whipping down from the north and a game-time temperature of 43 degrees, just 2 degrees warmer than on Opening Day and only 11 degrees warmer than the game-time temp when the Blackhawks hosted Detroit in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day 2009.
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"The worst I've seen at this level for sure," Cubs manager Mike Quade said after a 3-0 loss to San Francisco in a game called after six innings. "When you consider the wind, the rain, the temperature and the fact that we played in it from start to finish …. It was rough."
It was a rough one indeed on the North Side in the first Saturday night game scheduled since June 20, 1998. In that game, rookie pitcher Kerry Wood not only earned a win over the Phillies, but also belted his first career home run.
It was no rookie who took the mound for the Cubs on Saturday. It was 35-year-old lefty Doug Davis making his Cubs debut and perhaps fighting for his career in the game.
So Davis couldn't have cared less if it was snowing and below zero out there. He felt like a rookie again, back playing the game he loves after going 1-4 with a 7.51 ERA in 8 starts for Milwaukee last season and then seeing his season end after being diagnosed with an inflammation of the lining surrounding his heart.
Did we mention he also missed part of the 2008 season while being treated for thyroid cancer?
No wonder he was so upbeat after throwing 5 innings of 4-hit ball, allowing just 1 earned run and striking out six while allowing only 1 walk.
"I really missed the competition and I really missed the camaraderie of being on a team," said Davis, who pitched in a pair of minor-league games prior to Saturday's start. "I think that's something that you miss right away after being out for so long.
"It felt great. Being a lefty, they say you have nine lives; I feel like I've gone through five or six right now. I just feel lucky that I have the opportunity to go out there and prove my worth."
And that he did.
"I'll take that from him every time," Quade said.
And that Davis did it in conditions better suited for just about anything but baseball made the performance all the more impressive.
"I felt like I was able to execute some pitches out there ... despite the weather," he said.
Quade was pleased enough with the results that he indicated the veteran is in line for at least another start or two down the road.
Absolute music to Davis' ears.
"Sounds good to me," he beamed.