Tigers, Blue Jays happy to stay inside
DETROIT (AP)—This was no weather for baseball.
With light snow falling, the temperature in the mid-20s and the wind chill dipping into single digits, Thursday’s game between the Detroit Tigers and was postponed until Sept. 10.
The teams played Monday, had an off day Tuesday, played Wednesday and had another off day Thursday—not exactly the routine they had hoped to get into in the first week of the season.
“Obviously, you don’t want this to happen,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “But these conditions are just brutal.”
On Wednesday, cold and 40 mph wind gusts turned fly balls into adventures.
“That’s just not baseball,” said Placido Polanco, who spent most of last year’s postseason playing in a hooded sweat shirt.
Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander’s turn in the rotation was pushed back to Friday in Kansas City. He acknowledged that the switch would mess with his routine, but said it would be worth it to avoid the cold.
“I know that conditions like this probably benefit me more than the hitters, but I still don’t want to go out there,” Verlander said.
Verlander knows the conditions for some of Detroit’s games in the postseason were almost as bad, but the atmosphere helped him.
“I saw a picture of myself pitching in short sleeves, and now I’m wondering what in the world I was thinking,” he said. “I think Polanco had the right idea.”
Unfortunately for Verlander and his teammates, things won’t be much better in Kansas City. The game-time temperature is forecast to be 36 degrees with a wind chill in the 20s.
The three-game series pits the Tigers against the team that cost them the AL Central title with a three-game sweep on the final weekend of the regular season. Detroit manager Jim Leyland expects the Royals to be better this year following last year’s 62-100 record.
“They are going to turn things around over there, there’s no question about that,” Leyland said. “And that’s a good thing, because it upgrades this division even more. That’s good baseball.”
The off day will give Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe an extra day to rest following a leg injury. He was scheduled to have Thursday off.
“I was going to play Marcus (Thames),” Leyland said. “It’s a slight strain, and no big deal—he’s ready to play. But why risk it in this weather? It was a perfect opportunity to get Marcus four at-bats.”
Both teams shifted their pitching rotations because of the postponement. The Blue Jays will start Gustavo Chacin, Tomo Ohka and Roy Halladay in Tampa Bay, while the Tigers have Verlander, Mike Maroth and Jeremy Bonderman going against the Royals.