Rain Out on Thursday Creates Potential Schedule Chaos for Tribe
Bob Toth | On 29, Sep 2016
After a rain delay of more than four hours on Thursday afternoon, the game between the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers was postponed.
It was the second time this week that the weather had interfered with the Tigers and Indians completing their season series with one another and the second year in a row bad weather in September caused scheduling issues for the clubs. On Wednesday, the game between the two was limited to just five innings as the Tigers won 6-3 on a Miguel Cabrera homer in the bottom of the fifth. The rains started early again Thursday and did not take it easy on the eastern Michigan area, dumping as much as a reported six inches of precipitation over the last two days while making the playing surfaces at the ball park unplayable.
In many circumstances this late in a season, a cancelled game would be forgotten about, with no need to be made up. This game, however, proved to be much different than the norm as the missed game could have serious playoff ramifications on both Cleveland and Detroit.
As it stands, the game will now be made up on Monday, October 3, back at Comerica Park. The Indians left Detroit for a three-game series this weekend with the Kansas City Royals, while the Tigers headed south to Atlanta for a three-game set with the Braves.
The Tigers are in a battle for the American League Wild Card. After the current second wild card team, the Baltimore Orioles, defeated the first wild card team, the Toronto Blue Jays, in a 4-0 decision on Thursday, the two clubs now have the same record. Detroit trails the pair by a game and a half in the standings.
If the Tigers are within a half game of clinching a wild card spot when the regular season schedule concludes on Sunday afternoon, it would force Detroit and Cleveland to return to Comerica Park to make up Thursday’s contest.
If the Tigers are eliminated from the AL Wild Card race prior to Monday, there is still a chance that the two clubs would have one final regular season head-to-head battle.
While the Indians have already clinched the AL Central Division, the battle for playoff seeding is still very much up in the air. The Tribe trails both of the other two division winners, the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. Texas, idle on Thursday, currently holds a two and a half game lead over Cleveland, but Boston’s lead is just a half game after losing to the New York Yankees, 5-1.
If the completion of a game between Cleveland and Detroit would alter the AL postseason landscape, it will be replayed.
Making up the game on Monday would reduce the amount of downtime between the end of the regular season and the start of the ALDS for the Indians, which could be seen as both a positive and a negative with less rest for players being a bad thing, while playing a competitive game and staying in some sort of a rhythm being beneficial to the club. It might be unlikely in any circumstance that the Indians play many of their regular starters if such a scenario arises.
Regardless, manager Terry Francona took a positive attitude when asked after the cancellation about the notion of returning to Detroit one more time on Monday.
“We’d still get two days [off],” said Francona. “Besides, I don’t know, it might be fun to play in a game like that, with something at stake.”
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images