Weather forecast postpones Game 6 of Series
Rangers-Cards to resume play Thursday night at Busch Stadium
ST. LOUIS -- For the second time in six years, a World Series game has been rained out at Busch Stadium. It happened for Game 4 of the 2006 Fall Classic, which the Cardinals won in five games against the Tigers, and likewise occurred on Wednesday when the threat of rain pushed back Game 6 between the Redbirds and Rangers.What could be the final or penultimate game of the Series has been rescheduled for Thursday night at 8:05 p.m. ET, when there will be a 10 percent chance of precipitation, according to forecasts, although the temperature could dip below 40 degrees. Game 7, if necessary, would be pushed back to Friday night at the same time. The Rangers lead the best-of-seven Series, 3-2, and have the opportunity to win their first World Series. Ticketholders should simply use tickets marked "Game 6" on Thursday night and those labeled "Game 7" on Friday night, if that game comes to pass, Major League Baseball officials said. The starting pitchers for Game 6 remain the same: righty Colby Lewis for the Rangers and lefty Jaime Garcia for the Cardinals. As far as a possible Game 7 showdown, Rangers manager Ron Washington was vociferous about staying with lefty Matt Harrison, while Cards manager Tony La Russa is still undecided.
"We don't know how Game 6 is going to go," La Russa said. "So we're just going to play Game 6."Washington declined to replace Harrison with Derek Holland, who pitched 8 1/3 innings of two-hit ball in Texas' 4-0 Game 4 win, even though Holland would have the requisite four days of rest if there's a game on Friday. Harrison was knocked out in the fourth inning of the Cardinals' 16-7 wipeout in Game 3. "Harrison is my Game 7 pitcher," Washington said. "Harrison has been a big part of this team all year. I am not changing the things that I've been doing all year. That's why we are where we are, and that's why I'm staying with Harrison." Rain began falling lightly at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and internal forecasts provided by MLB called for precipitation to continue all day, becoming heavier after 5 p.m. MLB officials wanted to avoid having to stop the game after it started, leading to a suspension under rules passed in 2009. The postponement was announced around 3 p.m., after an hour-long conference call among baseball officials. It was made by Commissioner Bud Selig in concert with Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, and Peter Woodfork, MLB's senior VP of baseball operations. Executives from both clubs were included in the process but not in the decision. Washington and La Russa weren't involved, and both said they had simply been informed when the game was postponed. "It was a conversation about whether you want to play in rain," Torre said about the conference call. "I think everybody pretty much was in agreement with the fact that because of all the forecasting ... we just didn't want to take a chance. We anticipate it's going to rain. If it doesn't rain, you made the decision on what you knew.
"If the forecast wasn't as good for [Thursday] and Friday, chances are, we'd probably wait a little longer [to come to a decision]."Contrary to the regular season, when a game becomes official during or after the fifth inning, depending on which team is leading, the postseason rule now states that when a game is suspended, it will resume at the point of suspension and be played to conclusion. That rule was codified by the owners at their quarterly meetings in January 2009. The last postponement of a World Series game was the nexus of that decision. On Oct. 27, 2008, Game 5 between the Rays and Phillies at Philadelphia was stopped amid a downpour just after the Rays had tied the score at 2 in the top of the sixth inning. Commissioner Selig suspended the game by edict, and it concluded two inclement days later with the Phillies winning, 4-3, to lock up their second World Series title. Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Sept. 30 between the Tigers and Yankees at Yankee Stadium was the first postseason game to be affected by the new rule and was suspended amid a deluge midway through the second inning. Both starting pitchers -- Justin Verlander for the Tigers and CC Sabathia for the Yankees -- were knocked out of their series-opening starts. That game resumed on Oct. 1 in the bottom of the second inning with Ivan Nova on the mound for the Yankees and Doug Fister pitching for the Tigers. The Yankees won, 9-3, but Detroit won the series in five games. The World Series has featured other unusual postponements. In 1911, a week passed between Games 3 and 4 because of six days of rain, but when play resumed, Philadelphia A's starter Chief Bender outdueled Christy Mathewson and the New York Giants en route to the A's second successive title. In 1962, there were as many rainouts -- four -- as Yankees victories, as New York beat the San Francisco Giants when Willie McCovey's screaming liner with runners on second and third went directly into second baseman Bobby Richardson's glove for the final out. In 1975, the instant classic waged by the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox in Game 6 at Fenway Park was delayed by rain for three days, making the time elapsed until Carlton Fisk's memorable game-winning homer seem that much longer. In 1986, Game 7 between the Red Sox and Mets was pushed back a day because of rain coming just after Mookie Wilson's grounder through Bill Buckner's legs gave New York life. Boston manager John McNamara scratched Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd from the start, replacing him to no avail with Bruce Hurst, as the Mets came back again to win the title. In 1989 at San Francisco, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck just prior to the start of Game 3 at Candlestick Park between the A's and Giants, and the World Series was pushed back 10 days as officials checked for any structural problems in the stadium and the Bay Area recovered from the deaths of 63 people. The A's swept the Series. In 2006, Game 4 was moved from Oct. 25 to Oct. 26 and the Cardinals defeated the Tigers, 5-4, with a run in the bottom of the eighth. The Cards locked up their 10th World Series title the next night. Until now, the Cardinals hadn't played in a World Series since 2006. La Russa said the rainout then didn't give his club any particular advantage, and he expects that to hold true this year. "I think it's the same for both clubs," said La Russa. "I don't think it adds anything to our competitive chances or theirs." The Rangers had their share of rainouts and delays in their six-game victory over the Tigers in this year's AL Championship Series. There were two Game 1 rain delays on Oct. 8 at Rangers Ballpark, skewing both teams' starting pitching. Verlander was finished after four innings, and Texas' C.J. Wilson didn't make it through the fifth. The game took four hours and 57 minutes to play, including one hour and 50 minutes of rain delays. Texas prevailed, 3-2. The next day, the rain continued during the afternoon prior to Sunday night's Game 2. In order to be prudent and avoid a similar set of circumstances, MLB postponed the game early and reset it for Monday afternoon. By Sunday's scheduled game time, the skies were clear and there was no rain. Monday was sunny and clear, and the 7-3 win for the Rangers came off without a hitch. Game 4 on the afternoon of Oct. 12 in Detroit was met with a similar set of circumstances. It rained all afternoon and through what was supposed to be the start of the late-afternoon game. Looking at forecasts for that evening, MLB waited, delaying the start of the game for two hours and 13 minutes. It was then played in its entirety, and the Rangers won, 7-3. Last Wednesday, the day of Game 1 of the World Series, conditions at Busch Stadium were cold and rainy. Selig had to decide whether to delay the game or proceed. He opted against a delay, though the rain continued on and off all evening, and the Cardinals won, 3-2. Torre said the complication of Game 6 being a potential elimination contest was one of the reasons that MLB viewed Wednesday's game differently. "What makes it easier for me as far as giving my opinion is the fact that, here we are, we're at Game 6," Torre said. "Earlier in the series, you can still make up the game, but you lose your [travel] day. It was less complicated now just to [postpone] it."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.