Game 5 will not resume on Tuesday
Poor weather continues in Philly; eyes turn toward Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA -- Their contest paused by the elements, the Phillies and Rays must wait one more day to create an outcome for Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said that, because of a continuing inclement forecast for the area surrounding Citizens Bank Park, no effort would be made to resume the World Series on Tuesday. Instead, the two clubs are tentatively scheduled to unfreeze the game at 8:37 p.m. ET, weather permitting on Wednesday.
"While obviously we want to finish Game 5 as soon as possible, the forecast for today does not allow for us to continue the game this evening," Selig said in a statement released on Tuesday.
"We are closely monitoring tomorrow's forecast and will continue to monitor the weather on an hourly basis. We will advise fans as soon as we are able to make any final decisions with respect to tomorrow's schedule."
As expected, wet weather continued Tuesday in the Philadelphia area, as MLB officials studied radar data to determine when Game 5 of the World Series would continue under conditions that would be deemed, as Selig said, "appropriate."
Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, called the resumption of play on Wednesday night "problematic" even though the weather is supposed to be better.
"It's going to be less wet, less windy and less cold than today, but it's still problematic," he said. "The Commissioner wants to avoid what happened last night and that the game is finished with full integrity."
With Mother Nature calling the shots, the Phillies and Rays remain tied, 2-2, going to the bottom of the sixth inning. A victory would clinch Philadelphia's first World Series championship since 1980, and though the Phillies grumbled on their way out last night, a possible celebration remains on their minds if they can outlast the Rays.
"That's all that's important to us, that's all that we think about," Manuel said. "We've got 3 1/2 innings of baseball -- we get to bat four times, they get to bat three. We get 12 outs, they get nine. We're definitely coming with the mind-set that we're going to win that game."
Due up for the Phillies will be a pinch-hitter for the No. 9 spot, as Cole Hamels will be lifted from the game, followed by Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth. Right-hander Grant Balfour is in the game for Tampa Bay, though Rays manager Joe Maddon declined to say if he was entertaining a pitching change, a distinct possibility with left-hander David Price available.
"Both bullpens are rested, and there's no telling what's going to happen at this point," Maddon said.
Early forecasts for Wednesday offer hope for baseball. The Weather Channel predicts partly cloudy skies and a 20 percent chance of precipitation for 8 p.m., with temperatures in the low-40s and 15-mph winds from the west.
AccuWeather agrees, forecasting partly cloudy skies and 43 degrees for game time. Weatherbug, marks the chance of precipitation for 20 percent at first pitch on Wednesday, while the National Weather Service is predicting mostly cloudy skies with a low around 35.
Resuming play on Tuesday evening never appeared promising, as early afternoon presented overcast skies, continuing precipitation and medium winds as Philadelphia woke up to a cold and gray scene. By game time, the continuing rain and winds would have made the temperature feel as though it was in the 20s.
Ultimately, the decision on when and whether to play remains in the hands of Selig. During the regular season, pregame postponements are controlled by the home club, and then after a game begins, by the umpires.
Selig makes those decisions during the World Series, and he said he made the ruling to start Game 5 with some trepidation. Up to this point, there had never been a rain-shortened game in Series history, and this was the first suspension. Selig even felt some relief after three innings were completed, but conditions deteriorated.
Though crew chief Tim Welke said the pitcher's mound and batters boxes were never compromised, standing water was visible on the infield and warning tracks, while the wind and rain made routine plays difficult. Manuel said that Hamels found fastballs hard to grip in his sixth inning of work and had to shy away from his changeup.
B.J. Upton, who scored the tying run in the sixth inning, reached on an infield hit that Manuel said shortstop Jimmy Rollins normally almost always makes a play on. Upton stole second base on the sloppy infield and then came around to score on Carlos Pena's RBI single to left field.
"With the conditions on the field, it definitely played a part in Rollins not making the play at shortstop," Manuel said. "I felt like when Upton went down to second base and mud and water came up on his shoes, if you go back and look at it, that tells you the condition the field is in. It's not good for us to be out there."
Both managers said that they had agreed to begin the game as scheduled, meeting before Monday's contest with Selig, both general managers and head groundskeeper Mike Boekholder.
"We had the forecast and all the information was there, and it didn't work out," Maddon said. "For me, I have no problem with it. I was a part of it, I was there, Charlie was there. We were all good with going forward. It just did not work out."
"We agreed on starting the game because the weather report was going to be a very light drizzle, similar to what was already going on," Manuel said. "It wasn't supposed to be a consistent rain. It was supposed to be very light, and there was a good chance that we could definitely get the whole game in."
Though Selig informed Phillies GM Pat Gillick and Rays GM Andrew Friedman that there was no way a World Series contest would be decided in less than nine innings, neither manager opted to pass that information along to their players.
"Our players were thinking about going nine innings, and when the rain started, they were still thinking about going nine innings," Manuel said.
In a rare move and due to the strange circumstances of the game, Maddon said that he addressed his team after Monday's suspended contest to make sure the Rays were all on the same page. The Rays had packed their bags for a flight to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, knowing that completing Game 5 -- one way or the other -- would send them back to their home base.
But after Monday's game was suspended, the Rays scrambled to find alternate lodging, relocating some 25 miles away to the Hotel Dupont -- built in 1913 -- in Wilmington, Del. Maddon raved about the property and said that his club was making the best of the inconvenience.
"Just getting your rest right now is as important as anything," Maddon said. "I know I've been sleeping like a bear right now just trying to catch up. Our guys haven't forgotten how to hit, throw or run."
Game 3 of the World Series, played Saturday evening, was delayed one hour and 31 minutes by rain. The Phillies and Rays played uninterrupted after the delay, with Philadelphia winning, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth on Carlos Ruiz's bases-loaded infield hit.
The field at Citizens Bank Park is playable in a steady rain. The system in place allows the grass to drain and a sand-like substance is used to keep the dirt portion of the infield from saturating. As a backup, the system is equipped with a vacuum that pumps tons of water out of the drainage pipes.
Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would take place in the domed confines of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Those games were originally to be played Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The Rays would love to create a further logistical issue, but if the Phillies have their way, Manuel said it will be rendered a moot point and the delay considered worth it.
"All year long, we've been in situations where we can control our destiny," Manuel said. "It's no different. It's up to us to stay focused on tomorrow's game and win that game. If we don't get the job done, I have no complaints. It's in our hands."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.