The second game of the American League Division Series between the Guardians and New York Yankees was postponed Thursday because of steady rain in the forecast and rescheduled for 1:07 p.m. on Friday.
Major League Baseball called the game more than seven hours before the first pitch was supposed to be thrown at 7:37 p.m.
Baseball’s youngest team, the surprising Guardians were rained out nine times at home this season due to Cleveland’s inconsistent and unpleasant weather.
They had two more postponements on the road, one because of a COVID-19 outbreak. That forced the Guardians to play eight doubleheaders — they even had to push back a celebration and flag-raising ceremony late last month to salute their AL Central championship due to a rainy forecast.
“Never in my life,” he bemoaned with a helpless grin. “And it sounds like when we get back to Ohio, it’s not perfect. They think it’s going to be OK, but we’ll be dodging some raindrops both days it looks like.”
“Play a doubleheader. We’re used to it,” he joked.
New York won Tuesday night’s opener in the best-of-five series 4-1, and the rainout followed an unusual scheduled off day between Games 1 and 2.
Now, the clubs could play four days in a row.
Game 3 and a potential Game 4 are scheduled in Cleveland this weekend. If Game 5 is needed, it would be Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
The winner advances to the AL Championship Series against Houston or Seattle.
All-Star lefty Nestor Cortes (12-4) remains scheduled to pitch Game 2 for the AL East champion Yankees against 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber (13-8).
The latest rainout wipes away any chance the Guardians would start Bieber on short rest late in the series. Without the postponement, he would have had three days of rest between Game 2 and a potential Game 5. Now, there will be only two days in between.
“It takes out the possibility of Bieber coming back early. Which, to be totally honest, I don’t know how I felt about that to begin with,” Francona said.
“I think the way I worded it the other day was like, if he had gone maybe two innings because of rain or something, you don’t ever want to just say no. But I think (pitching coach Carl Willis) and I, both our thoughts were that we weren’t leaning towards that as an option that we really wanted to do, just because of what he’s been through and everything.”
A strained right shoulder limited Bieber to 16 starts last year. He rebounded this season with a 2.88 ERA in 200 innings across 31 starts, and threw 7 2/3 innings of three-hit ball in a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay last Friday in the wild-card round for his first postseason win.
“Nobody wants to win more than we do, believe me. But we just — right is right,” Francona said. “So that one’s off the table.”
Triston McKenzie (11-11) is slated to start Game 3 for Cleveland against Luis Severino (7-3) on Saturday night, and then the Guardians will adjust from there if the series is still going.
Cal Quantrill would be on full rest Sunday for Game 4. He took the loss in the series opener at Yankee Stadium, ending his 11-game winning streak.
“We need to win a couple, but we’ll see what we do the last couple games, which order it would be,” Francona said. “Some of that may be determined by how much we’ve used our bullpen.”
Cleveland held an optional workout Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium for players to throw outside and hit in the indoor batting cage.
New York held no media availability.
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