CLEVELAND: Back in the day, when rain failed to abate for a couple of hours, umpires called a halt to games. But that was before teams visited certain cities only once, and there were enough off days to accommodate postponements.
The schedule is more rigid now, so Friday night the Indians and Rays waited through 4 hours, 49 minutes of rain delays to complete a game that ended at 2:53 a.m.
Tribe President Mark Shapiro felt compelled to address through the media more than 29,000 fans who purchased tickets to the game.
He explained that the Rays were not scheduled to return to Cleveland this season, and that the weather forecasts for Saturday and today suggested that more rain was on the way. He also revealed that no viable mutual off day was available for the teams to play a makeup game.
“Officially, once the game starts, it’s the umpires’ call,” Shapiro said. “But I don’t want to throw them under the bus, because rarely have I seen a more collaborative level of getting everybody involved.”
However, there might have been a way to shorten the game: play through the final 2-hour 39-minute delay, when most of the rain was relatively light.
When asked if that course was suggested by the Indians, Shapiro said, “Those thoughts were conveyed, but the umpires did not want to play in the rain.”
Fans who attended Friday night should keep their tickets. Tribe officials are working on a way to compensate the customers for being inconvenienced.
“We feel badly about what the fans experienced,” Shapiro said. “We want them to have a better experience.”
Manager Terry Francona didn’t allow Ubaldo Jimenez to go out for the ninth and try for a shutout, but it wasn’t just a matter of his pitch count (108).
“He had enough after eight,” Francona said. “And we’re trying to keep Vinnie [Pestano] on a pretty good schedule as he makes his way back. So Vinnie was going to pitch. I think the biggest thing is for him to get consistent work.”
Pestano was sidelined with a sore elbow for two weeks, and the suspicion is that erratic activity led to the injury.
Saturday, Pestano’s fastball was clocked mostly at 92-93, which is his norm. In his last appearance it was 90-91, and in his first outing after resting the elbow, he was throwing 88-mph fastballs.
“He’s getting there,” Francona said. “He feels better about himself, and it shows in his pitching.”
The Indians summoned right-hander Matt Langwell from Triple-A Columbus to bolster their middle relief corps.
Langwell, 27, posted a 2-1 record with one save and a 2.30 ERA in 19 relief appearances and one start for the Clippers. In 27⅓ innings, he struck out 23 and walked 12, compiling an overall .243 batting average. Right-handed hitters batted only .186 against him.
This will be Langwell’s first trip to the big leagues. He was the Tribe’s 11th-round pick in the 2008 draft.
Lefty Scott Barnes’ awful outing in the Tribe’s 9-2 loss to the Rays that included 4 hours, 49 minutes of rain delays got him demoted to Columbus on Saturday.
After the third interruption of play, Barnes started the third inning and gave up five runs on four hits, including two home runs. Francona was hoping to get three innings from Barnes, who was removed after one.
In six games with the Indians, Barnes posted a 7.27 ERA in 8⅔ innings.
Lonnie Chisenhall doubled and singled, raising his average to .351 in Columbus’ 11-0 loss to Indianapolis. … Tyler Naquin had two hits, including a double, to lift his average to .300, as Carolina lost to Winston-Salem 8-3 in Class A. … Mason Radeke (1-0, 0.00 ERA) threw five scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out seven, as Lake County blanked Dayton 1-0 in Class A.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.