10/28/08 5:38 PM EST
Phils likely to let 'pen finish Game 5
Rain foils Manuel's plan for possible clinch with ace on hill
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Manuel didn't speak to reporters after Game 5 -- or in this case, in the middle of it -- but it was clear that he was unhappy about burning ace Cole Hamels with a chance to end the World Series.His prized lefty had cruised through six rain-filled innings with just 75 pitches on Monday night and was well into his fifth dominating postseason performance. The game began with a light rain that increased as play continued. Hamels worked quickly and efficiently, needing seven pitches for a perfect first inning. With the rain affecting the grip on his devastating changeup, Hamels relied on fastballs, and the Rays tied the score in the sixth. "This is no way to finish your last start of the year, but you have to let Mother Nature win," said Hamels, who might still be in position to add a World Series Most Valuable Player trophy to his mantel. "I have to let our bullpen and our hitters finish it off." Hamels still could win what would be a record five starts in a single postseason. He is due to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and presuming he is pinch-hit for, if the Phillies take a lead in that inning and hold on to the lead and win, Hamels would be the winning pitcher.
There has never been a rain-shortened game in Series history, and this was the first suspension. As a result, the teams at least will lose a potential travel day on Tuesday. If Tampa Bay wins, they will return to Tropicana Field and play the following day.With rain threatening to wash out Tuesday as well, the final 3 1/2 innings -- and potentially more because the game was suspended while tied at 2 -- may not be played until Wednesday. Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have many possibilities to discuss.
GAME 5 SUSPENSION
|Commissioner Selig cited rule 4.12(a)(6) in explaining the suspension of Game 5. According to the rule, enacted for the 2007 season, any official game halted with the score tied "shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date."
In this scenario, rule 4.12(c) for suspended games is enacted: "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup."
Prior to 1980, a game called due to inclement weather would have reverted back to the beginning of the inning, with the Phillies leading, 2-1, since Philadelphia did not bat in the bottom of the inning. In 1980, the "reverting back" was discontinued and the game was henceforth declared a suspended game. Rule 4.12(a)(6) was added after the 2006 season so that any game suspended after becoming official would be declared a suspended game. Therefore, Game 5 will resume with the score tied at 2.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said the game will be in the hands of the bullpen, and the Phillies likely will do the same, leaving Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer to pitch Games 6 and 7, respectively, if either or both are necessary.Should rain push Game 5's completion until Wednesday, Joe Blanton would pitch Game 7, should that game be played on Friday. He would then be on regular rest and would only be an option should Manuel reconsider using Myers or Moyer earlier. Myers is accustomed to relieving; he served as the team's closer for much of last season. Should he be called upon to pitch Wednesday -- assuming the teams can't play Tuesday -- Moyer could pitch Thursday on regular rest in Game 6. Hamels also could return for a potential Game 7, though he would be on three days' rest. Hamels said he would be willing to do that, especially because he threw only 75 pitches. At this point, anything is possible, not surprising considering this already unique World Series game. Because of the light rain at first pitch, there was hope of playing a full nine innings, but that became less likely as the game continued. By the fourth inning, steady showers began to produce puddling on the field. Despite constant runs by the grounds crew with bags of Diamond Dry, it kept getting worse. "It would last for a pitch or two, then it would be the same," Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said. "It was very tough to play." Batters kept wiping the rain from their face, and pitchers struggled with their footing on the mound and grips on the ball. Even the bullpens were soaked, making warming up a chore. Fielders covered their bare hands between pitches to combat the wind. "It was cold," Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz said. "I did everything I could [to stay warm]. You could see the puddles all over. It was the worst conditions I played in."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.