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 Rays, Phils to resume Game 5 tonight

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PostSubject: Rays, Phils to resume Game 5 tonight   Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:06 pm

Rays, Phils to resume Game 5 tonight
Clubs will pick up suspended contest in bottom of sixth inning
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The bottom of the sixth inning is set to resume on Wednesday, approximately 46 hours after Shane Victorino squinted through the raindrops and squeezed Evan Longoria's wind-blown fly ball to end the top half.

Major League Baseball announced that Game 5 of the 2008 World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies will resume at Citizens Bank Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:37 p.m. ET.

Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would take place in the domed confines of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Major League Baseball announced that, in the event of a Rays victory in Game 5, there would be no travel day as Game 6 would be played Thursday evening.

The Phillies will be coming to bat to start the bottom of the sixth inning with the score tied, 2-2. Grant Balfour is the pitcher in the game for Tampa Bay, while Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth are due up for Philadelphia.

Thus, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will have had two full days to consider a pinch-hitter for his pitcher, who limited the Rays to two runs over six innings when Game 5 began on Monday. A victory for the Phillies would clinch their first championship since the 1980 season.

"That's all that's important to us, that's all that we think about," Manuel said. "We've got 3 1/2 innings of baseball -- we get to bat four times, they get to bat three. We get 12 outs, they get nine. We're definitely coming with the mindset that we're going to win that game."

The game was tied in the top half of the sixth inning when, with conditions growing increasingly sloppy, B.J. Upton legged out a two-out infield single to Rollins at shortstop, stole second base on the muddy infield, and scored when Carlos Pena singled to left field.

Throwing only fastballs, Hamels got Longoria to fly out for the final out of the top of the sixth before the tarpaulin was dragged across the field at 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday. The game was officially suspended 30 minutes later, leaving a battle of the bullpens to decide Game 5 and possibly the entire World Series.

"He has been so good, and to scratch out the runs that we've had has been very difficult," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Hamels. "Of course their bullpen has been magnificent, also, so it's not going to be an easy task by any means."

Weather.com, the Web site of The Weather Channel, is forecasting considerable clouds this evening, with a low of 29 degrees and winds from the west at 10 to 20 mph. According to them, it would be mostly cloudy and 39 degrees at 8 p.m., with a 20 percent chance of precipitation.

Weatherbug, which provides weather updates to MLB, said that there is a 14 percent chance of precipitation at 8 p.m., dropping to 5 percent at 9 p.m., with temperatures in the low-40s and high-30s.

The National Weather Service is calling for mostly cloudy skies with a low around 35 degrees, and a west wind between 6 and 9 mph. Accuweather predicts partly cloudy skies and 42 degrees at 8 p.m., with a 50 percent probability of precipitation between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. After 9 p.m., the probability of precipitation drops to 31 percent.

Ultimately, the decision on when and whether to play remains in the hands of Commissioner Bud Selig. During the regular season, pregame postponements are controlled by the home club, and then after a game begins, by the umpires.

Up to this point, there had never been a rain-shortened game in Series history, and this was the first suspension. Game 3 of the World Series, played Saturday evening, was delayed one hour and 31 minutes by rain. The Phillies and Rays played uninterrupted after the delay, with Philadelphia winning, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth on Carlos Ruiz's bases-loaded infield hit.

The field at Citizens Bank Park is playable in a steady rain. The system in place allows the grass to drain and a sand-like substance is used to keep the dirt portion of the infield from saturating. As a backup, the system is equipped with a vacuum that pumps tons of water out of the drainage pipes.

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