The heavy rains that washed away last night's game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox raised an interesting hypothetical question.
What if the rain, which is expected to continue through today, were to push the series back again . . . and again?
The Red Sox are right in the thick of the American League East race. The Orioles have a major celebration planned for the final regular-season game at Memorial Stadium, Oct. 6 against the Detroit Tigers, but it is within the realm of possibility that a game might have to be made up at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 7 -- the day after the much-celebrated final game. What happens then?
"We'd have some tickets available for the last game, right?" general manager Roland Hemond said jokingly. "I guess it would be the last, last game."
It remains a laughing matter because the odds against two more rain-outs are exceedingly high and because a rained-out game would be played only if it were to have bearing on the pennant chase. Last night's rain-out has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader that begins today at 5:05 p.m., weather permitting.
Red Sox ace Roger Clemens (17-8), who originally was scheduled to face Bob Milacki tonight, will instead pitch against Dave Johnson (4-6) in the first game of the doubleheader. Johnson originally was scheduled to pitch against Tom Bolton last night, but Bolton will come back to face Milacki in the nightcap.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms is forecast for tonight. The National Weather Service predicts that tomorrow will be mostly cloudy.
Orioles manager John Oates wasn't thrilled with the postponement or the prospect of a doubleheader today.
"No one likes rain-outs," Oates said. "You get this close to the end of the season, you want to play them. I'm sure they would want to play them, too. I would think that in a pennant race, you don't want any doubleheaders, because it has an effect on your bullpen."
But the rain-out might actually have worked to the advantage of the Red Sox, who would have had to get by last night without bullpen stopper Jeff Reardon. He is suffering from a muscle strain in his upper back and is day-to-day.
Fans holding tickets for last night's game can exchange them for tickets for today's doubleheader, available tickets for the Oct. 4 and 5 games against the Tigers or tickets for any home game next April or May except Opening Day.