Backup plans set should rain interfere
Rays, Phillies have rotations prepared if Game 3 is washed out
PHILADELPHIA -- The steady rain falling in St. Petersburg on Thursday night during Game 2 of the World Series served as atmosphere, thanks to the roof at Tropicana Field.Citizens Bank Park can't provide any such cover should the moisture travel to Philadelphia as expected and interrupt the World Series.
With showers a strong possibility for Saturday's Game 3, the Phillies and Rays have prepared contingency plans regarding their pitching rotations, though Philadelphia pitching coach Rich Dubee and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wouldn't reveal them publicly."We'll deal with that when we have to," Dubee said. The Rays would likely push their rotation back a day, keeping an alignment of Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Garza for the remaining five games, assuming all are necessary. The Phillies could pitch ace Cole Hamels on Monday on regular rest, regardless of whether that's Game 4 or Game 5 of the Series. With Jamie Moyer a certainty to pitch Game 3 -- if not, the team would have set up its rotation differently before the Series -- Hamels pitching Monday could push Joe Blanton to Game 5 on Tuesday. Rain would force Game 5 to Tuesday and eliminate a built-in off-day to switch locales from Philadelphia to St. Petersburg. It would also require both teams to play on five straight days. "We'd like to play straight through, so I don't think it matters," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Once we get going, I'd like to play it right through, so you deal with it." Though that would present logistical problems for travelers, it would still allow the Series to finish Thursday, at the latest. Showers are expected to arrive late Saturday morning and last all day, with weather services split as to whether they will end by the 8:35 p.m. ET start time. Thunderstorms are even possible. It should be noted that weather forecasts were wrong last month, when a lingering nor'easter was expected during the final weekend of the regular season. Nothing arrived, and the Phillies clinched the National League East on Sept. 27. Neither team will worry about it, for now. "We'll talk about it," Maddon said. "But right now, I don't want to get too much deeper than that, because I really have a sense we're going to play." If they do, the Phillies will host their first World Series game since Oct. 21, 1993, Curt Schilling's five-hit shutout against the Blue Jays in Game 5. Manuel expects it to be loud. "Hopefully, we can make it louder," he said. "Hopefully, we can ring that Liberty Bell a few times. It's still hitting weather."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.