CHICAGO -- The baseball gods can be cruel, the schedule-maker even crueler.
The Dodgers played a three-hour game against the Yankees at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night. After the contest, the Yankees went to San Diego, where they won't play until Friday night.
With the exception of Thursday starter Ricky Nolasco, who traveled ahead of the team, the Dodgers flew through two time zones overnight, arrived at their Chicago hotel at 7:30 a.m. CT, and had to be at Wrigley Field by 3:30 p.m. for a 7:05 game against the Cubs, who played at home on Wednesday night.
That's why manager Don Mattingly didn't start Andre Ethier or A.J. Ellis in the series opener against Cubs left-hander Chris Rusin. Scott Van Slyke started in right field, Yasiel Puig in center and Tim Federowicz behind the plate.
"It's just the way travel is with TV. That's the game today," said Mattingly. "No reason to complain about it. The guys are pretty good about it. It's up to myself to make sure we keep guys rested and not totally crush guys."
Speaking of crushing, full-speed Puig was warned about the brick wall that lurks under the Wrigley Field ivy. Even Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter, a former Cubs season-ticket holder, pulled his phenom aside with a word of caution.
"We told him that wall is undefeated," said Mattingly.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.