Nearly a decade after the last American League game played in Milwaukee, the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels begin a three-game series Tuesday at Miller Park after a Midwest snow system made field conditions unplayable in Cleveland.
The series was originally scheduled for Jacobs Field, but after 10 inches of snow led to the postponement of Cleveland’s four-game weekend series with the Mariners, the Indians announced the relocation on Monday. There will be no weather concerns in Milwaukee, where Miller Park has a retractable roof.
“Considering the combination of the weather forecast, the playing conditions at Jacobs Field, fan comfort issues and a concern about the length of inactivity for our players, a change of venue for the three-game series is the most logical option,” Indians president Paul Dolan said on the team’s official Web site. “We would like to thank Major League Baseball and the ownership groups for both the Angels and Brewers for their support during this unique situation.”
The last game between two AL clubs in Milwaukee was Sept. 28, 1997, when Baltimore beat the Brewers. Milwaukee moved to the National League the following season.
It’s the first time weather has forced a series to be moved since the Florida Marlins played the Montreal Expos on Sept. 13-14, 2004, in Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field because of Hurricane Ivan.
On Sunday there was talk the series would be moved to Anaheim, Calif., but the Angels (2-1), who have a two home series with the Indians (2-1) later this season, were unable to flip-flop the locations because of scheduling issues.
“It’s a compromise that does not allow an unfair advantage,” Angels vice president Tim Mead said.
Cleveland hasn’t played an official game since last Thursday, when the team closed a three-game series against the White Sox at Chicago with a 4-3 loss. On Friday, the Indians played four innings with the Mariners and had a 4-0 lead, but the game was called one strike away from being official.
Attempts at playing doubleheaders on Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all unsuccessful due to the snow.
Catcher Victor Martinez strained his left quadriceps while running to first base during the Friday game and his status is uncertain, although manager Eric Wedge said he was feeling a bit better Monday. The Indians are bringing minor league catcher Mike Rose to Milwaukee in case Martinez needs to go on the disabled list.
C.C. Sabathia (1-0, 4.50 ERA) will make the start Tuesday. Sabathia, who was scheduled to pitch on three different occasions against the Mariners, gave up three runs and eight hits on April 2 in a 12-5 season-opening win over Chicago.
“It is weird waking up one day and saying, ‘We’re going to play three games in Milwaukee,” said Sabathia, who is 3-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 starts against the Angels. “It’s going to be tough.”
Los Angeles will counter with Ervin Santana (1-0, 2.57), who allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 5-3 win over Texas on Wednesday. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 14.54 ERA in two starts against the Indians, lasting a combined 4 1-3 innings against them. However, last season’s start against Cleveland was abbreviated after he was hit inside his left knee with a line drive on the sixth pitch of the game.
The Angels split a four-game series with the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, dropping Sunday’s contest 2-1. Third baseman Maicer Izturis hit an RBI single in the sixth inning, but Oakland retired the final 11 Angels batters in order.
Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero visited Milwaukee each season as a member of the NL’s Montreal Expos before joining Los Angeles in 2004. He has four homers in nine career games at Miller Park to go with a .364 (12-for-33) batting average.
Los Angeles won five of the nine meetings last season between the teams.