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Rainout makes Cards' rotation clearer

Rainout makes Cards' rotation clearer

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wanted to wait and see how Game 4 of the World Series played out before naming his starter for Game 5. Following Wednesday night's rainout, he's still waiting. But the pitching picture, unlike the weather, is starting to clear up.

Since the contest was pushed back a day due to rain, it's no longer possible for the Cardinals to bring back Jeff Suppan to pitch in Game 7. A scheduled off-day between Games 5 and 6 has been eliminated, meaning that only two days off exist between the fourth game and a potential seventh game. That sets off a backwards domino effect, and for the most part, settles the St. Louis rotation for the rest of the Fall Classic.

With Suppan unavailable for a seventh game, ace Chris Carpenter would start a winner-take-all game on regular rest. Carpenter would then likely be eliminated from consideration for a sixth game. As a result, Jeff Weaver and Anthony Reyes will divvy up Games 5 and 6, with only the order to be determined. Jeff Suppan will start Game 4 as planned. The Cards could consider using Carpenter on short rest if they trailed after five games, but such a scenario is improbable.

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On Wednesday afternoon, prior to the originally scheduled Game 4, the Cardinals brought both Weaver and Reyes into the interview room -- explaining that one or the other would start Game 5. If it had been Weaver, Reyes likely would have been sent to the bullpen. Instead, both men will start again, with Suppan getting only one game.

"I think going forward, it kind of precludes Supp from pitching again in the series if it goes to the end," La Russa said.

"We'll just do what we're doing now. Just watch tomorrow and see where the games are each day. We could pitch Carp on three days' rest in Game 6 if we had to stay alive. There's all kinds of possibilities."

The most likely possibility certainly features Carpenter in Game 7. Additionally, the club is likely to choose Weaver on his regular four days' rest for a Friday Game 5, while pushing Reyes back to six days' rest for Game 6 on Saturday in Detroit.

Pitching coach Dave Duncan called it "the logical decision" to go with Weaver in the fifth game, without actually confirming that's what the Cardinals will do.

The Cardinals and Tigers both waited nearly two hours before learning that Game 4 had definitively been called. At 9:18 p.m. CT, Major League Baseball made the announcement. In the interim, La Russa, Tigers manager Jim Leyland and both teams' general managers met with Commissioner Bud Selig repeatedly to discuss courses of action.

"We had one forecast that said that they thought that somewhere around 7:30 or 8, it was going to stop and we would be playing 30, 45 minutes later and it was a nice break," La Russa said. "And then all of a sudden it started filling in. By the next time we met, the weather had filled in."


Single-day postponements in World Series history
Date Postponed
Teams/Site
Game
Reason
Oct. 5, 1903 BOS (AL) @ PIT 4 Rain
Oct. 9, 1903 BOS (AL) @ PIT 7 Cold
Oct. 12, 1903 PIT @ BOS (AL) 8 Rain
Sept. 4, 1918 BOS (AL) @ CHI (NL) 1 Rain
Oct. 14, 1925 WAS @ PIT 7 Rain
Oct. 4, 1931 STL (NL) @ PHI (AL) 3 Rain
Oct. 1, 1936 NYY @ NYG 2 Rain
Oct. 3, 1941 NYY @ BKN 3 Rain
Oct. 7, 1951 NYY @ NYG 4 Rain
Oct. 4, 1956 NYY @ BKN 2 Rain
Oct. 9, 1962 SF @ NYY 5 Rain
Oct. 10, 1971 PIT @ BAL 2 Rain
Oct. 17, 1972 CIN @ OAK 3 Rain
Oct. 20, 1976 CIN @ NYY 4 Rain
Oct. 9, 1979 PIT @ BAL 1 Rain
Oct. 27, 1981 LA @ NYY 6 Rain
Oct. 26, 1986 BOS @ NYM 7 Rain
Oct. 19, 1996 ATL @ NYY 1 Rain
Oct. 25, 2006 DET @ STL 4 Rain

Weather permitting, Game 4 will start at 7:27 p.m. CT on Thursday night. However, the forecast doesn't look much better for the next two days, so the teams could be looking at a lengthy gap between games.

"You don't care what the conditions are now," said Cardinals outfielder Preston Wilson. "It's the World Series. You'd play it if it was in a swimming pool right now. We want to play. And both teams have to play in the conditions, so it's not like one team has an advantage over the other. You want to get out there and play. But as it is, we have to wait till tomorrow and go from there."

It was the 19th game in World Series history to be postponed due to weather, but the first in 10 years and the second since 1986. A total of 40 postponements have occurred in the World Series, 29 due to weather -- counting games that have been pushed back more than once.

The last World Series game to be rained out was Game 1 in 1996 between the Braves and Yankees. For the Cardinals, it was the second rained-out World Series game in franchise history, and the first in St. Louis. The other was Game 3 in 1931 against the Philadelphia Athletics.

The two Cardinals rainouts, 75 years apart, come with an interesting historical parallel. The day before the 1931 washout, Bill Hallahan threw a three-hitter that stands as the low-hit shutout game in Cardinals World Series history. Chris Carpenter and Braden Looper combined to equal the three-hitter on Tuesday, in the game immediately preceding the second rainout.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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