Rain makes Rangers-Tigers Game 2 a matinee

Posted Sunday, Oct. 09, 2011  comments  Print Reprints

Bullpen challenge

Sunday's rainout means the Rangers and Tigers will play four consecutive days, which could have an effect on how the teams manage their bullpens. A look at how much both teams' key relievers have worked this postseason:





Alexi Ogando



Mike Gonzalez



Darren Oliver



Mike Adams



Neftali Feliz







Daniel Schlereth



Phil Coke



Al Alburquerque



Joaquin Benoit



Jose Valverde



Who will win the American League Championship Series?

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ARLINGTON -- The threat of rain Sunday night and the potential for multiple game stoppages forced the postponement of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

The game between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers is scheduled to be played at 3:19 this afternoon at Rangers Ballpark on the first of two scheduled off days in the best-of-seven series.

The forecast calls for scattered showers this morning but then some sun this afternoon.

Parking lots at Rangers Ballpark open at 10 a.m. Gates open at noon.

Major League Baseball decided to postpone the game around 2 p.m. Sunday, more than four hours before the scheduled first pitch and just as a steady rain that started falling overnight had stopped.

But the forecast for the rest of the day called for conditions similar to the ones that plagued Game 1, and the No. 1 interest became preserving the integrity of the game. As it turns out, no more rain fell.

"We didn't want to experience what we did last night," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said. "With the forecast for this evening, it appears that it's going to be a duplication of what we saw last night.

"The one thing we're concerned about is the integrity of the game and not putting either team in a situation where possibly the elements could affect the outcome of the game."

The Rangers took the opener Saturday night in a game that was stopped twice in the top of the fifth inning for a total of 1 hour, 50 minutes. Rangers starter C.J. Wilson returned after the first delay, which spanned 42 minutes, but Tigers ace Justin Verlander didn't throw another pitch.

Managers Ron Washington and Jim Leyland were forced to tax their pitching staffs. Eight relievers finished the game, including the Tigers' scheduled Game 4 starter, Rick Porcello.

"It is tough," Washington said. "But it becomes how mentally tough are you. I don't think any of us can do anything about Mother Nature when she decides to open up. You just have to make adjustments.

"They are doing an excellent job today to keep the integrity intact. Hopefully, Mother Nature will bless us where we can go out there and play a ballgame."

The postponement would seem to have an immediate positive impact on the Rangers' bullpen, which would have been without right-hander Alexi Ogando on Sunday.

He continued his terrific postseason with two scoreless innings in Game 1, but threw 32 pitches and wouldn't have been asked to pitch on back-to-back nights.

But the potential of playing four consecutive days, beginning today through an if-necessary Game 5 at Detroit, puts demands on both bullpens and also both catchers.

Relievers often throw on back-to-back days, occasionally going three in a row, but rarely four straight. The starting pitchers can provide the relievers with some relief by working deeper into games."

"As a bullpen, it's going to make it a little more tough," right-hander Mike Adams said. "Four in row can get a little tricky sometimes. Hopefully, we can get a couple lengthy starts in there to save the bullpen a little bit."

Mike Napoli, who has been the Rangers' starting catcher in all five postseason games, said that he is prepared to catch the next four in a row if needed.

"I can do it," said Napoli, who caught four straight once in the regular season. "Both teams have got to deal with it, so there's not any advantage and there's not any disadvantage."

The rain didn't alter either team's rotation plans. Left-hander Derek Holland will start for the Rangers today against Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.

Holland, for one, was glad that he didn't have to deal with the possibility of rain delays Sunday night.

"If they all of a sudden say it's been pushed back from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., now you've got to change everything again," he said. "And you've got to continue to do that every time you've got to wait. For me, that's the hardest thing about waiting everything out."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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