Game 3 in Denver postponed, and Pedro Martinez out
October 10, 2009
DENVER – The snow in Colorado scrapped plans for Pedro Martinez’s first postseason start in five years.
Game 3 of the Philadelphia-Colorado playoff series was postponed a day because of weather Saturday better suited for cross-country skiing. That prompted a pitching switch by the Phillies, with left-hander J.A. Happ going to the mound Sunday instead of the 37-year-old Martinez. The Rockies are sticking with Jason Hammel.
The Phillies holed up in their hotel Saturday with no plans of working out at the ballpark. The Rockies summoned their players for a 90-minute workout inside Coors Field.
“We just want to keep ourselves on somewhat of a schedule,” manager Jim Tracy said.
Tracy suspected this might not be a night for baseball when even his dogs wanted to skip their morning walk. Major League Baseball agreed with Tracy’s beagles, pushing back Game 3 of this NL division series to Sunday night and Game 4 to Monday.
The playoff is tied at one game each. Game 5, if necessary, will be played as scheduled Tuesday in Philadelphia, without a day off for travel.
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“I think it’s a very wise decision,” Tracy told The Associated Press by phone. “You could have something happen in weather like this where you could lose a player for half a year in 2010. I don’t think that would be good for anybody.
“There’s no question about the type of play that you would see in this kind of weather vs. if you have better conditions that they’re calling for Sunday. To be cold and wet and rainy and sleety or snowy is completely different than cold and dry and clear.”
Surely any dog would know that. Well, at least Tracy’s.
“We got up to take the dogs for a walk and when two beagles don’t want to go outside, I don’t see how baseball players would see this as a real good day to be playing,” he said. “It was snowing and 18 degrees, not very conducive for baseball.”
With the day off Saturday, both teams could go back to Game 1 starters on Monday, Ubaldo Jimenez for Colorado and Cliff Lee for Philadelphia.
Happ, a rookie, said Friday that he felt better after being knocked out of Game 1. He had entered in relief and took a hard liner off his left leg in the seventh inning.
Before the weather changed things, Martinez was set to make his first postseason start since he won Game 3 for Boston at St. Louis in the 2004 World Series.
The postponement allowed manager Charlie Manuel to put Happ back into his rotation, two-fifths of which he had burned in Game 2 Thursday in Philadelphia. Joe Blanton pitched an inning of relief, allowing a run in Colorado’s 5-4 win, and Happ had to leave when Seth Smith hit a hard liner off the lower part of his left leg. X-rays were negative.
With Martinez on the mound, the Rockies would have used their most potent lineup with Ian Stewart at third base and Smith in left.
A cold front moved into Denver overnight, dropping temperatures into the teens with record lows for the date. Coors Field was covered with a thin layer of snow and ice Saturday morning and flurries were expected to continue through the night.
The National Weather Service said the cold front packed more punch than expected and easily broke the record low for the date of 25 degrees set in 1905.
“It’s not going to get as warm as we thought. It got much colder than we anticipated,” meteorologist Eric Thaler said. “We crushed the record: 17 today, 7:22 this morning. Up in the foothills it’s even colder.”
Thaler said the updated forecast called for temperatures in the mid-20s at game time, which would have been the coldest, by far, for any postseason game.
The lowest game-time temperature in the postseason was 35 degrees for Game 4 of the 1997 World Series at Cleveland between the Indians and Florida Marlins. The Rockies’ coldest game was 28 degrees on April 12, 1997, when they beat Montreal 12-8.
With the front moving out Saturday night, temperatures are expected to approach 50 on Sunday.
“It’s still not going to be a delightful time tomorrow night,” Thaler said. “Baseball is 70s and 80s and 90s weather. It’s not going to be that. By the end of the game, it might be sneaking into the mid-to-upper 30s. You’re still going to want to bundle up, but it will be warmer than today.”