© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

10/24/08 12:45 AM ET

Wet weather threatens Game 3

Rain in Philly could cause managers to alter 'pen strategy

As all eyes turn toward Game 3 in Philadelphia on Saturday -- the first World Series game in the City of Brotherly Love in 15 years -- a 90 percent chance of rain that day is raising the issue of a rainout.

No World Series game has been postponed by rain since Game 4 between the Cardinals and Tigers in 2006, and we still have more than a day for the weather to play out, but the conditions could alter the way this series is played, and managed, by both the Rays and Phillies.

Complete Coverage

For starters, if the game is played in rain, it could have a profound effect on both starters. Veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer, 45, is a pitcher who relies heavily on the feel and location of his changeup to be effective. Rays starter Matt Garza, 24, who pitched in Minnesota before being traded to Tampa last winter, has made 29 of his 54 career starts indoors and did not pitch in rain a single time in 15 road starts this season.

If the game is rained out, there will no longer be an off-day between Games 5 and 6, meaning Games 3-7 will be played on five consecutive days. If there's a rainout on Saturday, tickets for Game 3 would be honored on Sunday instead, Game 4 on Monday, and Game 5 on Tuesday.

One-Day World Series Postponements
DateTeam @ Site Gm. Cause
10/05/1903 BOS (AL) @ PIT 4 Rain
10/09/1903 BOS (AL) @ PIT 7Cold
10/12/1903PIT @ BOS (AL)8Rain
09/04/1918 BOS (AL) @ CHI (NL) 1Rain
10/14/1925 WAS @ PIT 7Rain
10/04/1931 STL (NL) @ PHI (AL)3Rain
10/01/1936NYY @ NYG 2Rain
10/03/1941 NYY @ BKN3Rain
10/07/1951NYY @ NYG4Rain
10/04/1956NYY @ BKN2Rain
10/09/1962SF @ NYY 5Rain
10/10/1971 PIT @ BAL2Rain
10/17/1972CIN @ OAK 3Rain
10/20/1976CIN @ NYY 4Rain
10/09/1979PIT @ BAL 1Rain
10/27/1981 LA @ NYY6Rain
10/26/1986BOS @ NYM7Rain
10/19/1996ATL @ NYY 1Rain
10/26/2006DET @ STL 4Rain

Losing a day set aside for travel would not be a serious hardship. Tampa Bay and Philadelphia are relatively close geographically, their 940-mile separation an easy distance to cover compared to the cross-country duels often featured during the World Series.

Far more consequential would be the premium placed on use of the teams' key relievers, if Friday's travel day indeed turns out to be this Classic's one-and-only bye. Managers Joe Maddon of the Rays and Charlie Manuel of the Phillies will be forced into more discriminate use of the bullpens on which both have depended so heavily this postseason.

Phillies closer Brad Lidge did pitch on four consecutive days (May 1-4) once this season, and lead matchup lefty J.C. Romero did it a couple of times. But Lidge's setup man, Ryan Madson, never worked more than three consecutive days.

Similarly, none of Tampa Bay's lead relief arms -- Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell and Dan Wheeler -- ever pitched on more than three straight days during the regular season.

Beyond the bullpens, a rainout on Saturday would enable Manuel to bring back left-handed ace Cole Hamels, who pitched brilliantly in holding the Rays to two runs for seven innings in Game 1, to pitch Game 4 on regular rest Monday. Officially, Philadelphia pitching coach Rich Dubee told The AP of a possible pitching shuffle prompted by a possible rainout, "It's too early to tell."

Moving up Hamels would allow the Phillies to skip Moyer, the elder statesman who is scheduled to start Game 3 after rocky starts in both the Division Series against Milwaukee and the League Championship Series against the Dodgers. Right-hander Joe Blanton would take his turn as scheduled on Sunday, followed by Hamels and Game 2 loser Brett Myers (also on normal rest) in Game 5 on Tuesday. Heading back to Tampa, Manuel would have Moyer for Game 6 and Blanton for Game 7.

World Series multiple-day postponements
1962NYY vs. SF
1975CIN vs. BOS
1989OAK vs. SF
2001NYY vs. ARI
9/11 attacks

It doesn't appear that Manuel had any plans to attempt to get three starts out of the spectacular Hamels, but a rainout would take that option off the table altogether.

The Rays may prefer to not alter their rotation of four starters, each of whom has performed consistently and similarly this postseason. As of now, Garza remains scheduled for Game 3 and Andy Sonnanstine for Game 4 before the rotation spins back to lefty Scott Kazmir for Game 5. If Maddon sticks with his set rotation, that would set up James Shields for Game 6 and Garza, who closed out the Red Sox in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, for the deciding game.

"We'll have to wait and find out," Maddon said of potential weather-prompted changes, liking the idea of keeping his options open.

The World Series has had 19 games postponed due to weather. Perhaps due to technological advances that have led to fields that drain faster and better, only three of the postponements have occurred in the past 27 years.

No World Series game, once begun, has ever been shortened by rain.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.