DETROIT — One win from the World Series. Rainy or not, the Detroit Tigers will have to wait.
Game 4 of the A.L. championship series between the Tigers and New York Yankees was postponed because of a stormy forecast Wednesday night — although Comerica Park was still dry when the decision was made.
“They kept saying it was going to come and it never came,” Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer said. “So go figure.”
With the Tigers leading the best-of-7 series 3-0 and seeking a sweep, Game 4 was rescheduled for Thursday at 4:07 p.m. New York will send ace CC Sabathia to the mound against Scherzer. The Tigers will have lefty Phil Coke, who saved Games 2 and 3, available after a day of rest.
Under the original schedule, there was a good chance Sabathia would pitch a potential Game 7 on three days’ rest if the Yankees rallied in the series. Now, he might be limited to one start in the series.
“You cannot think about Game 7 when you need to win a game,” New York second baseman Robinson Cano said.
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, who was benched along with third baseman Alex Rodriguez by manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday before the game was called, said the unplanned night off might actually help him and his slumping team.
“It’s definitely not going to hurt by any means,” Granderson said. “We haven’t played well to this point. Who knows? Change is always a good thing.”
The first pitch Wednesday night was slated for 5:07 p.m. PDT. But shortly before the scheduled start, the crowd was informed of a delay. A radar forecast for the Detroit area was eventually posted on the scoreboard video screen, as if to explain to fans why there was no baseball despite what was still pleasant weather at the ballpark.
The postponement was announced after a delay of about 70 minutes. A misty rain finally began about 15 minutes after the postponement was announced and heavy, steady rain followed shortly thereafter.
The Tigers are no strangers to rain in the playoffs. Last year, ace Justin Verlander had two starts cut short by bad weather — although both were on the road.
“A lot of people were pretty upset that Verlander didn’t get to finish his start,” Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. “So, I think people would be pretty upset if they didn’t get to see Scherzer and Sabathia finish their starts as well. Major League Baseball is trying to protect not only the pitchers, but also play a clean game without having to stop and stuff like that.”
After Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS at Texas was delayed twice for a total of 1 hour, 50 minutes, Game 2 was called off well before the scheduled first pitch because of a forecast calling for more wet weather. Then, it didn’t rain that night.
There wasn’t an immediate announcement about when Game 5 would be played if the Yankees extend the series by winning Game 4. If Game 5 is simply moved to Friday’s scheduled off day, then New York could have to win four games in four days to advance.
There is also a chance of rain in Detroit during at least parts of Thursday and Friday, but the forecast calls for mostly sunny and partly cloudy skies late afternoon and early evening Thursday that would allow the teams to play ball.