The St. Louis Cardinals won a twi-night doubleheader Wednesday and took a two games to one lead over the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 NL Championship Series. Thanks to a rain delay of over three hours St. Louis and San Francisco had to take the field twice. The first game lasted 6 2/3 innings. The second was 2 1/3. The combined final score was Cardinals 3 Giants 1.
Rain delays are always a problem in the post season. Because of the importance of the games and television schedules umpires and MLB personnel must come up with the best way to get games in. Wednesday, there were two rain delay situations. St. Louis and San Francisco got their game in. The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers sat through an expected rain delay and their AL Championship was postponed to Thursday.
In a preview I wrote that the Cardinals and Giants would play a six inning game and a three inning one. The six inning game would be between starting pitchers Kyle Lohse and Matt Cain. The three inning affair would pit the bullpens. I had no idea that a rain delay almost made this literally possible.
Once the game got to the bottom of the seventh with St. Louis ahead 3-1 there was no choice but to wait out the rain delay. The umpires tried to get the seventh inning in and were one out away, but the rain was too heavy and they had to halt it. If this had been a regular season affair it may have been called. However, in post season it is unfair to both teams to have any game not go nine innings. So rain delays must be tolerated.
If the game had not been completed Wednesday then it would have been picked up in the bottom of the seventh today. Thankfully, the skies cleared enough to finish the contest.
After sitting for close to three and a half hours, the bullpens made short work of both lineups. The Cardinals Jon Jay stranded two runners when play resumed. St. Louis closer Jason Motte pitched two complete innings and the Giants never really threatened.
Fortunately for MLB, the game began at 4:00 and was able to end in a reasonable time despite the delay. If it had started at 7:30 the tarp would have been on the field. The game would not have started until after 10:00 eastern time.
One never knows what will happen when teams return from a lengthy delay. The Cardinals were able to keep their composure and end game three quickly. St. Louis continues to handle every post season situation with poise.
They must continue to do so as San Francisco will come back for game four Thursday ready to even the score.
Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will have one nine inning game without delay.