UPDATE: Tim Brown of Yahoo sports is reporting:
As rain and chilly temperatures rendered Citizens Bank Park unplayable again, commissioner Bud Selig pushed the continuation of the Philadelphia Phillies’ potential clincher to 8:37 p.m. (ET) Wednesday.
Wednesday is expected to be cold and wet with a possible break later in the afternoon.
Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman said by email Tuesday afternoon the Rays would leave the game in the hands of their bullpen, rather than come back with a starter. The Phillies are expected to do the same.
Lefthanders Cole Hamels and Scott Kazmir faced-off in a rematch of game 1. But after the Phillies loaded the sacks and notched 2 first inning runs on centerfielder Shane Victorino’s leftfield single, the Rays came back with single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to tie amidst increasing rain and increasingly torrid playing conditions before commissioner Bud Selig suspended the game in the mid-sixth inning.
The Phillies hoped to end the series on Monday in Philadelphia.
ESPN is reporting;
The game has tentatively been scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, weather permitting.
I’m not going to take Selig to task for the game suspension, or when the game was called. I’m just dealing with the game as it is. The Phils had scoring shots in both the fourth and fifth innings — bases jammed in the fourth, but couldn’t deliver. Kazmir walked 6 Phils in 4 innings and the Phils had left 9 runners stranded through 5 innings of at-bats.
After Hamels quickly disposed of the Rays in the first, the Phils loaded the bases against Kazmir with two outs as rightfielder Jayson Werth walked, 2nd baseman Chase Utley was hit by a pitch and leftfielder Pat Burrell was walked on 5 pitches. Victorino then lined a 2-1 pitch to leftfield to put the Phils up 2-0. 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz singled to reload the bases as Phils fans chomped at the bit in eager anticipation. But Kazmir coaxed a fly out to leftfield by catcher Carlos Ruiz, who had been clutch in game 3.
Both Kazmir and Hamels breezed through the second and third innings.
Tampa Bay scored its first run in the fourth inning as 1st baseman Carlos Pena doubled to rightfield and scored on 3rd baseman Evan Longoria’s single to centerfield.
Amidst continuing steady rain, the Phillies tried to rally in the fourth laoding the bases with 2 outs as shortstop Jimmy Rollins and Werth both walked after Hamels reached on a fielders’ choice grounder. But Utley grounded out to 2nd base leaving everyone stranded.
The Phillies got their first two runners on as Kazmir walked both 1st baseman Ryan Howard and Burrell. But reliever Grant Balfour replaced Kazmir and got Victorino to fly out to leftfield and got both Feliz and Ruiz to pop out to 1st base. Kazmir had thrown 103 pitches through five innings,
As the Phils started the sixth up 2-1, it seemed obvious, rain or not, that they needed to score more runs to win this thing.
As the steady downpour of rain became heavier, the Rays tied the game in the sixth as centerfielder B.J. Upton singled and stole 2nd base as described by AP baseball writer Ben Walker for Yahoo sports;
Carlos Pena hit a tying, two-out single in the sixth for the Rays, and the umpires called it moments later. By then, every ball and every pitch had become an adventure because of the miserable conditions.
“The infield was tough. The ball would do funny things,” Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said. “It was in bad shape. It was not playable.”
There has never been a rain-shortened game in Series history, and this was the first suspension. Whenever this one resumes, it will pick up where it left off, with the Phils about to bat in the bottom of the sixth.
I hold that it was best that the game be called. And Hamels, as I understand MLB rules, still would be credited with the win regardless whether he bats, or is replaced by a pinch hitter IF the Phils score in the sixth and hold the lead. I would not want to conjecture or second-guess what could happen in the sixth when the game is resumed were it to have been stopped after the first 2 outs.
Here is a citing of the MLB rules for determining the winning pitcher;
WINNING AND LOSING PITCHER
10.19 (a) Credit the starting pitcher with a game won only if he has pitched at least five complete innings and his team not only is in the lead when he is replaced but remains in the lead the remainder of the game.
(4) The winning relief pitcher shall be the one who is the pitcher of record when his team assumes the lead and maintains it to the finish of the game.
EXCEPTION: Do not credit a victory to a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when a succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain the lead. In such cases, credit the succeeding relief pitcher with the victory.
(d) When a pitcher is removed for a substitute batter or substitute runner, all runs scored by his team during the inning in which he is removed shall be credited to his benefit in determining the pitcher of record when his team assumes the lead.
Whether Hamels bats, or a pinch hitter, and whether we see Ryan Madson, or Chad Durbin, or maybe even rookie lefthander J.A. Happ in the seventh — we’ll see what move Charlie makes.
I just hope that the Phils clubhouse gets over its’ anger and gets down to business. Otherwise, curses are self-fulfilling prophecies.
Fans should remember that the Phils still hold a 3-1 lead in games. We’re in the driver’s seat. Regardless of how the final 2 1/2 innings go down, there are still a maximum of 7 games to a World Series. I’ll just leave it at that.