PHILADELPHIA — Major League Baseball, not wanting Game 3 of the World Series to be played in even light rain and looking at the favorable forecast the next few days, decided to postpone the game Monday, and will resume the series Tuesday with the next three games scheduled at 8:03 pm ET at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
MLB also determined that it was unfair for teams to lose a travel day, so if the World Series goes at least six games, the teams will travel on Friday to Houston with Games 6 and 7 at Minute Maid Park, which has a retractable roof.
“We had one band of rain come through, and maybe could have played through it if it had stayed there,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “but a pretty solid forecast that we have another band coming that’s going to persist in the early morning . I didn’t want to play a World Series game in that.
“For me, the risk of playing less than a complete game was not worth it.”
Monday’s postponement also puts the World Series up against the NFL on Thursday night and forces Philadelphia and Houston fans to choose between watching their local baseball or football teams. The undefeated Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to play the Houston Texans on Thursday night in Houston.
“For the World Series, an important consideration for us (is) to have the biggest audience we can possibly get,” Manfred said, “and that’s a prime-time audience. That’s the reality. Obviously, we weren’t scheduled to do that, we thought it was the best window for us going forward.”
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The World Series could have been played in the afternoon on Thursday, but Manfred believed it was important to preserve the off-day for the game’s integrity so players don’t arrive at home in the wee hours Friday morning and play perhaps the most important game of their lives that evening.
“The best case, the players go to bed at maybe 3 in the morning, and to ask them to come back,” Manfred said, “and play that night. We do it in the regular season, I know that, but to do it in a World Series just didn’t seem like a good plan to me.
“I’d like to play the game as close to the conditions they thought they were going to get at the beginning as possible without disrupting rotations and bullpens and all of that.”
The two managers agreed with the decision and were grateful there is still an off-day between Games 5 and 6.
“If it had been a day game,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said, “maybe you could understand. But the fact that we would have both gotten in at 4, 5, in the morning. That’s going to take away, I think, from the quality of the game.”
The rainout allowed Phillies manager Rob Thomson to adjust his rotation, and instead of going with Noah Syndergaard in Game 3, he will now start Ranger Suarez, who pitched in relief in Game 1. He will use Game 1 starter Aaron Nola in Game 4, likely Syndergaard in Game 5, Game 2 starter Zack Wheeler in a potential Game 6, and Suarez in a potential Game 7.
The biggest surprise is that the Phillies will use Wheeler in Game 6, giving him two days’ extra day rest instead of pitching in Game 5.
“He’s fine,” Thomson said. “It’s just, it’s late in the season, velocity’s dropped a little bit, he’s tired. I just feel like he needs more time.”
The Astros will stay with Lance McCullers in Game 3, Cristian Javier in Game 4, Justin Verlander in Game 5, Framber Valdez in a potential Game 6 and McCullers in a potential Game 7.
The Astros could have moved Verlander up to Game 4 on regular rest but opted to keep the rotation intact since Javier has not pitched since Oct. 21 in Game 3 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees.
“Javier’s been really good, Number one,” Baker said. “And number two, we feel that extra day off wouldn’t hurt Justin. It would probably be to his benefit.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Astros at Phillies: World Series Game 3 postponed, moved to Tuesday