ST. LOUIS - Game 6 of the World Series was postponed Wednesday because of a wet forecast, further dampening a rainy baseball season and delaying the Texas Rangers' bid to clinch their first championship.
Major League Baseball announced the decision about 4½ hours before the Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals were set to play. At the time, no rain had fallen at Busch Stadium, but heavy precipitation was expected.
Texas leads the Series 3-2. Game 6 was rescheduled for Thursday night at 8:05 p.m. EDT. If Game 7 is necessary, it would be played Friday night.
CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler says that theoretically the postponement could help the Cardinals, since now Tony La Russa could start ace Chris Carpenter in a possible Game 7. But Carpenter would be pitching on three days' rest and the only time he has done that was earlier this month against the Phillies - and he got hammered.
Knobler says the rainout could actually benefit the Rangers more.
"Besides giving more rest to a tired Texas bullpen, it would also allow manager Ron Washington to use Game 4 winner Derek Holland," Knobler writes.
Colby Lewis had been set to start for Texas, with Jaime Garcia ready to go for the Cardinals. If anything, the extra day likely will lead to more intrigue over who might pitch should the Series go to a Game 7 for the first time since 2002.
The forecast for Thursday was much better clear enough with a gametime temperature in the low 50s.
Rain has hovered over the majors all year with more than 50 washouts, baseball's highest total since 1997.
This was the first Series rainout since 2008 at Philadelphia. That year, Tampa Bay and the Phillies were tied in the sixth inning when rain and snow turned the field into a quagmire, forcing a suspension. It rained the next day, too, and the game finally resumed two days later, with the Phillies winning to take the crown.
Because of the debate about how to handle that situation MLB adopted a rule a few months later mandating that any postseason game stopped in progress would be resumed at the point of suspension, rather than being postponed and starting over.
Before that, the previous Series rainout came at Busch Stadium, when Game 4 between Detroit and the Cardinals was pushed back by a day.
A few hundred fans already were milling outside Busch Stadium when the Rangers-Cardinals game was called. The tarp was on the field at the time.
Bad weather has lingered throughout the big leagues since opening day. Even before that, actually, as the Milwaukee Brewers and Reds worked out in snow flurries a day before their March 31 opener at Cincinnati.
Wicked weather intruded earlier in this postseason, too. So did the threat of storms.
A game in the AL championship series between Detroit and Texas was postponed for a day because of a dicey forecast. The players left Rangers Ballpark and went home the rain, however, never came.
The opener of the AL playoff series between Detroit and New York was halted after 1½ innings by showers that lasted all night. The game at Yankee Stadium was suspended and picked up the next day at the point when it was stopped.
The only other suspension in postseason history was that Rays-Phillies game in 2008.
Baseball began the playoffs a week earlier this year than last season, intending to have the World Series conclude before November. MLB also hoped the adjustment could help avoid a chilly finish for the championship. It was in the 40s and raw last week for Game 1.
It was in the 70s and clear at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. A perfect night to play, but it was a travel day for Texas and St. Louis. Rangers manager Ron Washington was aware of the shaky forecast.
"If it's possible we can play, of course we want to play. You don't want to sit down. We're here to play baseball," he said Tuesday. "But if the forecast says that it's going to be bad weather and we're going to play and start and stop ... We want to make sure the conditions are correct, and if we have to wait a day, then we have to wait a day."