10/28/08 3:41 AM EST
Rays forced to scramble after Game 5
Club finds new lodging; looks ahead to resumption of Series
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Game 5 went to a rain delay at 10:40 p.m. ET after the Rays had just tied the game at 2 in the top of the sixth. At 11:10 p.m., the game was officially suspended by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
After the game, nobody could be sure when the final innings of Game 5 would be played, since bad weather is expected again in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, meaning it might be played as late as Wednesday.
"We don't [know when they will play] yet," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The Commissioner was very clear on that. He wanted to make sure that the weather would be appropriate for the next time we get after it. So we'll know more tomorrow."
Meanwhile, the American League champions were forced to scramble to make lodging arrangements. The Rays checked out of their downtown Philadelphia hotel on Monday afternoon thinking they would fly home to Florida following the conclusion of Game 5. The club couldn't get an extended stay after realizing it would be staying over, so Tampa Bay was forced to relocate the team hotel to Wilmington, Del.
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.
"I think this whole World Series has been kind of weird, to say the least," said Game 5 starter Scott Kazmir. "It's just something you've got to do. So we're just going to go to Delaware and hopefully play tomorrow. [It] doesn't look good tomorrow, but if not, we'll play the next day."
The Rays have more to worry about than sleeping arrangements, such as pitching arrangements. Reliever Grant Balfour was on the mound for Tampa Bay when the game was stopped prior to the bottom of the sixth. And Maddon sounded as if he planned to stay the course.
When asked who would be on the mound when Game 5 resumes, Maddon responded: "Well, Balfour is still in the game. The game still has Grant on the lineup card. So as of right now, Grant will be pitching."
The Rays' manager did not sound as though he intended to use James Shields or Matt Garza, who would be the scheduled Game 6 and 7 starters if the series continues to advance.
"Well, see, we don't have to do that," Maddon said. "This game, we're picking up at the point where it was left off. So we'll probably utilize our bullpen. I still want to use Shields in [Game 6] and Garza in [Game 7]. So we don't want to utilize those pitchers tomorrow or the next day. We have a pretty rested bullpen, based on today's events. Grant is in the game as of right now."
Inside the Rays' clubhouse, the topic of discussion was the weather, though the tone wasn't one of bellyaching about the misery of playing in such conditions.
"It was windy, it was raining, it was cold," Carlos Pena said. "But again, it's one of those things where it's kind of crazy. This is kind of cool. This is a great story to be a part of. The conditions were difficult. I remember looking at home plate my last at-bat, and all I could see was water. I couldn't even see home plate, because it was covered in water."
The conditions got so bad at one point that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins wasn't able to handle Rocco Baldelli's fifth-inning popup because the wind blew the ball so drastically.
"It was tough. The wind was blowing hard [and] it was raining," Carl Crawford said. "It was tough to catch the fly balls tonight.
"You couldn't do any of your normal stuff. [You] can't really run that well. You saw B.J. [Upton] was sliding, it was like a big puddle of water right there. You don't want to see anybody get hurt. We feel like we've got a little momentum going. We're going to be ready to play whenever the game starts again. But we definitely feel good about our chances right now."
Kazmir confessed that staying in the game mentally became a challenging assignment.
"You really did [have to fight to stay in the game mentally]," Kazmir said. "The weather just really wasn't looking good. You couldn't get good footing. [I] just didn't get that feel for the ball, with the cold and the wind and everything like that. It's just tough. But it was like that for both teams. It's just something you have deal with as a baseball player."
Balfour viewed the weather and the subsequent suspended game in another light.
"It keeps us believing that maybe this is a fairy tale for us -- that maybe this was meant to happen for us," Balfour said. "And we still believe that we can win this."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.