DETROIT: The final game of a four-game series between the Indians and Detroit Tigers on Thursday was postponed because of rain and poor field conditions.
The game was called after a delay of more than four hours. The postponement came after Wednesday’s game was cut short after five innings because of rain, which continued through the night, Thursday morning and into the afternoon.
The rain warranted a flash flood warning and closed some highways near Comerica Park. One of the Indians’ team buses couldn’t make it to the ballpark, leaving many players to search for cabs.
Around 2 p.m., both managers walked the field and determined that it couldn’t take any more water. It then rained for the better part of three hours with more on the way before the game was finally called off.
“We walked the field once and I think we all knew the situation,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “So put your seatbelt on and either play cards or watch TV. I think this is one of the days where you’re glad that you’re not 20 games out as opposed to being in it. All it is, is an inconvenience. We can live with that.”
For both the Indians and the Tigers, not being able to play Thursday opens up a couple of scenarios. The Indians travel to Kansas City for a weekend series and the Tigers travel to Atlanta to play the Braves. That means Thursday’s game would have to be made up, if necessary, on Monday in Detroit.
It could also be washed out, which would make it the second consecutive season in which the Indians played only 161 games. If it doesn’t affect either the Indians’ seeding for home-field advantage or the Tigers’ wild card race, there will be no need to play it.
If it does have potential playoff implications in any way, the Indians and Tigers will be back in Detroit on Monday.
“I don’t think it’s that big [of a deal],” Francona said. “We have three days off, [and] we’d have two instead. I think it’d be a fun game to play, actually.”
The Indians entered Thursday 2½ games behind the Texas Rangers for the No. 1 seed in the American League and one game behind the Boston Red Sox for the No. 2 seed. Both of those teams have the tiebreaker over the Indians. The Tigers entered one game back of the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card spot.
For the Indians, the postponement means that Thursday’s starter, Ryan Merritt, will be pushed back to Friday. Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin will start on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. If Monday’s makeup game is needed, the Indians will go with another bullpen game.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ