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 FAQ's on the suspended MLB game 5

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PostSubject: FAQ's on the suspended MLB game 5   Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:11 pm

FAQs on the suspended Game 5

By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Rain continues to fall on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where the resumption of Game 5 has been pushed back to Wednesday. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

PHILADELPHIA -- With the World Series between the Rays and Phillies on hold and Game 5 in the balance, here's the answer to some Frequently Asked Questions about the current situation.

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When play resumes to open the bottom of the sixth inning, the score will be tied at 2, reliever Grant Balfour, who was in the game at the time of the suspension, could be pitching for the Rays and the Phils likely will be sending up a pinch-hitter for pitcher Cole Hamels, who is scheduled to lead off.

When will the game be resumed?

The continuation of Game 5 was postponed again on Tuesday due to continuing inclement weather and now is tentatively scheduled for 8:37 p.m. ET on Wednesday, weather permitting.

"While obviously we want to finish Game 5 as soon as possible," Commissioner Bud Selig stated in a release on Tuesday, "the forecast for today does not allow for us to continue the game this evening. We are closely monitoring tomorrow's forecast and will continue to monitor the weather on an hourly basis. We will advise fans as soon as we are able to make any final decisions with respect to tomorrow's schedule."

What is the forecast for Wednesday?

Early forecasts for Wednesday offer some hope for baseball. The Weather Channel predicts partly cloudy skies and a 20 percent chance of precipitation for 8 p.m., with temperatures in the low 40s and 15-mph winds from the west.

How does this affect the rest of the schedule?

That's still to be determined. With Game 5 unable to be completed on Tuesday, they will try again Wednesday, meaning Games 6 and 7, slated for Wednesday and Thursday if necessary at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, would have to be pushed back. Whether a travel day is inserted into the schedule if the Rays win Game 5 on Wednesday is a matter of consideration.

"We'll look at it on a day-to-day basis," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer. "No decision has been made as to the off-day yet, assuming Tampa Bay won, whether we would kill the travel day or whether we would have a travel day and then pick up the series in Tampa Bay.

"Some of that depends on the day we play and the ability to get accommodations and travel."

What would have happened if the Rays had not scored in the top of the sixth?

Selig stated after the suspension of play Monday that he is ardently opposed to shortened World Series games and said he would have put the game into a rain delay that would have continued until he felt it was appropriate to resume play.

"We would have gone into a rain delay, and that rain delay would have lasted until, weather permitting, we could resume the game," Selig said. "The game would have been in a rain delay until weather conditions allowed us to continue. And that might have been 24 hours, or 48 hours, or who knows?"

What if the game had been halted prior to 4 1/2 complete innings?

By rule, it would have started over.

"If the game hadn't gone five innings, it would have been wiped out and started from scratch," DuPuy said.

Why aren't they just starting the game over, rather than restarting where the game was left off?

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 called after becoming official would be declared a suspended game. Therefore, Game 5 will resume with the score tied at 2.

How might this affect each team's rotation?

When the resumption of Game 5 was tentatively moved to Wednesday, it created options should the Series return to St. Petersburg for Game 6 and perhaps Game 7.

Presuming Game 5 is completed on Wednesday, the Rays win and Game 6 is played on Thursday, Rays manager Joe Maddon would have a choice between James Shields and Matt Garza, who would have six and four days of rest, respectively. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel could choose Brett Myers or Jamie Moyer, who also would have six and four days of rest.

Shields beat Myers in Game 2 on Thursday. The Phillies beat the Rays when Moyer opposed Garza in Game 3 on Saturday.

If Game 7 was played on Friday, Maddon's choices would expand to include Game 4 starter Andy Sonnanstine, or, given the circumstances, Scott Kazmir on three days of rest. Manuel's options would include Game 4 starter Joe Blanton or his ace, Hamels, who pitched six innings in Monday's suspended game. Kazmir lasted four in that contest.

If the Series is pushed back further, either because of weather or a rescheduled travel day, the managers would have a full menu of choices and be able to throw Kazmir and Hamels on full rest in a Game 7.

Has this ever happened before?

No. No game in World Series history has ever been suspended or shortened by weather or for any other reason.

What is the ticket policy and procedure for Game 5 when it resumes?

If any Division Series, League Championship Series, or World Series game is officially rained out or postponed, an announcement regarding the rescheduled date, time and any other particulars will be made (a) on the Phillies' Web site at phillies.com, (b) on WPHT 1210 AM or KYW 1060 AM and/or (c) in local newspapers. In the event of a rainout, please retain your ticket, which includes a rain check stub. Replacement tickets will not be issued.

On Tuesday, DuPuy said fans were given ample notification on Monday night to retain their tickets in case of a rainout or suspension. Traditionally, stubs are needed to obtain tickets to another game during the regular season.

"Our tickets say that," DuPuy said. "The club announced it. They announced it as soon as we went into the delay. It went up on the board and they announced it again when the game was suspended. I think the club handled it very well, and I hope that the fans did in fact hold their tickets."

Who made the decision to start Game 4 in the first place?

During the regular season, the decision to start a game rests with the home team, and once play begins, the decision to continue or halt play is shifted to the umpire crew chief. This is not the case during the postseason, when the decision to start play rests with Commissioner Selig, who met before the game with the general managers and managers of both clubs and head groundskeeper Mike Boekholder.

"We had the forecast and all the information was there, and it didn't work out," Maddon said. "For me, I have no problem with it. I was a part of it, I was there, Charlie was there. We were all good with going forward. It just did not work out."

"We agreed on starting the game because the weather report was going to be a very light drizzle, similar to what was already going on," Manuel said. "It wasn't supposed to be a consistent rain. It was supposed to be very light, and there was a good chance that we could definitely get the whole game in."

Furthermore, once play begins, the decision to continue or to suspend play remains in the Commissioner's hands and does not transfer to the umpire crew chief as it does during the regular season. Selig twice went down to the field to confer with the umpires about conditions on the field before making the decision to suspend play after the top of the sixth inning.

Why did some of the players say they didn't realize the game would be suspended or played to its conclusion if it was stopped because of the weather?

Selig and DuPuy said that officials of the Phillies and the Rays were notified that the game would be played to its complete conclusion at a meeting just prior to the start of the game when it was determined that the game would begin as scheduled. Phils GM Pat Gillick and Rays president Matt Silverman agreed with the decision to play, and at that point, any decision to pass that information on to the players, or not, is in the hands of the clubs.

Will there be an attempt to codify Selig's interpretation of the rule during the offseason?

"That's the regular-season rule," Dupuy said of Selig's decision on Monday. "You don't have to call the game off. There's nothing in the rules that stipulate when it should be started again. It could be next Tuesday. Look, it's a liberal interpretation of the rule. But it's the same as the suspension rule."

With one implementation of this interpretation of the rule on the books, and Selig's statement on Monday that no World Series game will be decided by a weather-shortened affair on his watch, might the rule itself simply be changed to codify this approach?

"We're certainly going to look at it," DuPuy said.

Can Cole Hamels still get the win in Game 5?

Yes, he can. Currently a spotless 4-0 in the postseason, he still can tie the postseason record of five wins if the Phillies score a go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning and do not relinquish it for the remainder of the game. Randy Johnson went 5-1 for Arizona in 2001, with his final victory coming in relief against the Yankees in Game 7. Francisco Rodriguez won his first five decisions in 2002, all in relief, but then lost a game during the World Series. Hamels would be the first to finish with five wins and no losses, and the first to get five wins, all as a starter.

In addition, if the Rays win Game 5, Hamels could still get another chance to pitch, thus improving his record to 5-0. It has yet to be determined if there would be a travel day between Games 5 and 6. If not, then Game 6 would be played as early as Thursday, and Hamels would presumably be available on three days' rest for a potential Game 7 on Friday. And if there is a day off for the teams to travel to Tampa Bay, then Hamels could conceivably start on at least his regular four days' rest in Game 7.

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