|World Series Game Five - A Suspended Game|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on October 28, 2008
Somehow this almost seemed scripted.Â Â Talk about figuring out a way to add drama to a series that already has been one of the most interesting of recent years.Â The boys of summer were played to a standstill by Mother Nature.Â Anxious Phillies fans were waiting to celebrate, while Rays fans crossed their fingers and hoped to play another day.
The Rays fans got what they wanted, sort of.Â Rain forced MLB to suspend game five of the World Series and weather permitting the game will resume tomorrow.Â If not MLB and both the Rays and Phillies will face some dilemmas.Â Â For MLB the question will be what to do with the suspended game.Â Because if the game is delayed again, then the first window to play the game would be Wednesday (where possible snow is predicted), the same day, game six - if needed, is scheduled to be played in Tampa Bay.
Potentially they could finish game five outside of prime time, by playing in the afternoon and then catch a flight down to Tampa for game six (assuming that the Rays manage to win in the afternoon).Â But running a World Series game or even the last three and a half innings of one would be poor afternoon TV.Â Â It would be a fizzle rather than a sizzle, especially if the Series ended, largely unwatched that afternoon.Â
MLB must be scrambling to make sure that doesnâ€™t happen, but so is the Fox network who potentially needs to clear another programming evening to run what could be the eighth night of baseball in a World Series.Â Â For baseball fans it would be a bonus, a throwback to the earliest history of the World Series - when the series was not the best of seven but instead the best of nine.
Yet for the Rays and Phillies the problems are totally different.Â Both teams are stuck with their lineups as they are already set, but just who is going to pitch the rest of the way?Â The Phils are clearly in a better position as they can hand this game off to the bullpen and even if the worst happens theyâ€™ll get two more chances to close the deal on a long awaited championship.
For the Rays and manager Joe Maddon itâ€™s decision time.Â While he has to be optimistic, after all his big bats finally got off the snide and managed some hits tonight, he has to make a decision about who he will send to the mound to finish the game. The best single pitcher that the Rays have left is James â€śBig Gameâ€ť Shields, who is supposed to start game six.Â But if Maddon throws Shields for the rest of game five, heâ€™ll leave a gaping hole in his rotation for game six, a hole which the Rays might be unable to fill.
Time might be their greatest ally in deciding what do.Â Scott Kazmir is the only pitcher that isnâ€™t available (since he was pulled from this game already) but if a delay of more than a single day occurs theyâ€™d be able to throw Shields on extra rest, Garza on normal rest, and have Kazmir ready again for any potential game seven.
Even if the weather doesnâ€™t cooperate with the boys from Tampa - you can be sure that Joe Maddon will make the decisions to throw whoever he thinks is best for the last three innings of game five.