Orioles put off by lost day off

Late postponement irks Mussina

game reset for tomorrow

'It stinks,' says player rep

But O's pitching plans likely to be unaffected

June 07, 2000|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - The persistent rain that hammered Shea Stadium yesterday finally persuaded the New York Mets to call off the second game of their interleague series against the Orioles, but that didn't meet with the approval of the guys in the visiting clubhouse.

The weather forecast was never good. The game could have been called much earlier In the day, but the Mets waited until 15 minutes after game time to reschedule it for tomorrow - which was a scheduled day off for both clubs.

"It stinks," said Orioles player rep Mike Mussina, but he didn't have a whole lot to say about it.

Baseball's labor agreement allows ownership discretion in scheduling rain makeups as long as the lost day off does not force either team to play more than 20 days in a row. The Orioles have another day off scheduled for Monday, and Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies will be their 20th straight - since last night's postponement counts as a playing day.

If the makeup game had put the Orioles in position to play more than 20 straight days, the players would have had to approve it, something Mussina indicated would have been very unlikely. The Mets instead would have had to schedule a doubleheader today to get in all three games.

It would have been all the same to Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, who said before the game that his pitching plans would not be significantly affected regardless of whether the game was rained out or rescheduled for today or tomorrow. If anything, the postponement served his purposes.

Since the Orioles had two days off scheduled over the next five days, he was going to be forced to pitch two starters on extended rest over the next 10 days.

Scott Erickson, who was scheduled to start last night, would not have appeared again for seven days. The rainout moves him back a day and closes the gap between starts to five days -- still one day longer than he likes.

Right-hander Jason Johnson moves back to tomorrow night, but still will be forced into the bullpen temporarily because his following start will be at least 10 days later.

The rest of the rotation will be unaffected.

Things could get more complicated if one of the next two games is rained out, but the weather is expected to improve dramatically today and remain warm and sunny through the rest of the week.

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