October 12th, 2011
Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Tigers and Rangers is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET after a weather system parked over metro Detroit all afternoon finally made its way east.
It marked the third time this series that weather has played a role in this series. Two separate rain delays in the fifth inning of Game 1 Saturday night knocked starters Justin Verlander and C.J. Wilson out of the game. A day later, forecasts of a rain-soaked Sunday night in Texas pushed back Game 2 to Monday afternoon and cost the two teams a workout day in Detroit and forced Detroit fans to channel surf for a stretch between the Tigers game and the Lions’ return to Monday Night Football.
The forecasts called for a 30 percent chance of showers going into the day Wednesday, but Mother Nature had other ideas with a rain system just west enough to keep raining on Comerica Park as it moved northward. The rain began in the morning and didn’t let up until shortly after 5 p.m. ET. The tarp came off the infield around 5:50 p.m.
Because the game was delayed from the outset, Game 4 starters Rick Porcello and Matt Harrison didn’t lose any pitches and were at full strength for the start.
One likely factor of concern for Major League Baseball in its Wednesday delay was the forecast for the next couple days. The National Weather Service calls for a 60 percent of rain Wednesday night, 30 percent chance of rain on Thursday afternoon, then rising to 70 percent Thursday night. Friday is scheduled to be an off-day between Games 5 and 6, allowing the teams to travel from Detroit back to Texas.
It might sound like a repeat, but weather has once again put the American League Championship Series on hold, forcing Game 4 into a rain delay.
A rain system parked itself over southeast Michigan and southwestern Ontario Wednesday afternoon, just west enough to keep Comerica Park under showers for much of the afternoon. Though FOX tentatively said on Twitter that they were hoping to start the game around 5:15 p.m. ET, then 5:45, the tarp was still on the field as of 5:25.
Rain has already been a problem in this series. Game 2 of the series was pushed back a day from last Sunday due to forecasts of a rainy evening in Arlington, Texas. The postponement forced the two teams to play Game 2 on Monday, which was originally slated to be a workout day, but the extra day gave some injured Tigers an extra day to recuperate.
Tigers relievers were spotted long-tossing in the outfield Wednesday afternoon, but there was no sign of starter Rick Porcello loosening up.
One factor of concern for Major League Baseball is the forecast. The National Weather Service calls for a 60 percent of rain Wednesday night, 30 percent chance of rain on Thursday afternoon, then rising to 70 percent Thursday night. Friday is scheduled to be an off-day between Games 5 and 6, allowing the teams to travel from Detroit back to Texas.
Victor Martinez woke up alive Wednesday morning, rolled out of the bed and rolled back into the Tigers lineup for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. So, apparently, did Delmon Young.
As a result, the Tigers are about as close to full strength in their lineup as they can be for what shapes up as a critical swing game in this series, which took a turn with Detroit’s win in Game 3 Tuesday night.
“It looks like Victor’s a go,” Leyland said Wednesday afternoon, “and Delmon [Young] is a question mark.”
At that point, Leyland was waiting for final word from the Tigers medical staff. Once he got it, Young was ruled in. The only change in his situation is that he’s batting fifth instead of third.
Martinez strained an intercostal muscle on his right side on his home-run swing in the fourth inning Tuesday night, which left him hobbling around the basepaths. He seemed on his way out of the lineup, having slammed his helmet and limped down the stairs into the training room as soon as he reached the dugout.
“The only way I don’t play [in Game 4],” Martinez said Tuesday night, “is if I wake up and I’m dead.”
Nobody seemed to doubt him.
“Victor Martinez is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around,” Leyland said. “I’m talking about tough. I take my hat off, and Delmon Young the same. … Players on both teams are tough, and I think they’re showing that. And I think they’re showing why they’re who they are. Big time players, they expect to be in a lineup. They know the fans want to see them in the lineup. They know it helps their team.
Even with Young back, Miguel Cabrera is staying in the third spot, with Martinez batting cleanup. That seems to be an acknowledgement of Young’s limitations with his left abdominal strain. He had been batting third in front of Cabrera while he was healthy.
If Martinez couldn’t play, Leyland said, Young could have been an option at designated hitter. However, Leyland said he wasn’t willing to do that Tuesday night when it appeared Martinez might have to leave the game. Wilson Betemit had a bat in his hands in the Tigers dugout, and would have hit for Martinez if he couldn’t go.
“You really have to sit down and think about if the guy wants to play,” Leyland said. “I appreciate that, but if his effectiveness is not good because of this, just to put him in there, maybe you’re not always doing the right thing. So that’s a little bit of a tough situation.”
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Ryan Raburn, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Delmon Young, LF
- Alex Avila, C
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Ramon Santiago, 2B
- Brandon Inge, 3B
P: Rick Porcello
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Elvis Andrus, SS
- Josh Hamilton, CF
- Michael Young, 1B
- Adrian Beltre, 3B
- Mike Napoli, C
- Nelson Cruz, RF
- David Murphy, LF
- Yorvit Torrealba, DH
P: Matt Harrison