The Cubs' grinding style of baseball under manager Rick Renteria produces a lot of long games. So do walks issued by pitchers and endless conferences and pitching changes.
Already, the Cubs have played two nine-inning games that have lasted more than four hours each. Two of the three games this week against the Padres lasted 3:36, and Friday's 7-6 win over the Cardinals went 3 hours, 44 minutes.
That's the trend in baseball these days. It may be turning off younger viewers, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of urgency to speed things up around Major League Baseball.
"The only thing that speeds up ballgames is good pitching and good defense," Renteria said. "There are a lot of times when we're actually ready to go, to be honest with you, and we're waiting for the TV. So there are a lot of different factors involved in the extent of the length of the ballgames.
"Anytime you have solid pitching, the tempo of the game is sped up, (and) those obviously shorten up ballgames. Sometimes you can't control the length of the ballgames. They are what they are."
After Friday's victory, Renteria said he didn't even notice how long it took. The 41,534 fans who made up the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field also seemed to be enjoying the back-and-forth contest.
"I'll be honest, I didn't realize it was a four-hour ballgame," the manager said. "It seemed like it was moving along for me because we were watching everything going on. For me, it seemed like it was pretty quick."
Renteria said he also felt the excitement from the crowd, which was made up of many Cardinals fans as well as Cubs fans.
"I thought the crowd was pretty excited," he said. "It was a nice crowd, buzzing all day. You could hear it from the field when we finished batting practice and it was starting to fill up. It was a pretty neat environment. Obviously, the fans were into it. You could hear them cheering nice plays, a good pitch, an at-bat, whatever the case might be. It was pretty neat."
They're good to go:
Rick Renteria said Edwin Jackson should be ready for his next scheduled start, Tuesday at home against Colorado. Jackson left Thursday's game against the Padres in the sixth inning because of cramping in his right hand.
Outfielder Justin Ruggiano struck out as a pinch hitter in Friday's sixth inning. Ruggiano has not started since Tuesday because of a groin ailment. He was on the disabled list from late April until late May with a hamstring injury.