DENVER -- The road to the Fall Classic may be in for a wintry chill. Players warmed up for Game 3 of the Rockies-Phillies National League Division Series on Saturday night in pleasant 70-degree conditions. But the wind picked up and the temperature dropped as an anticipated front neared Denver -- it was 73 degrees at the 7:30 p.m. local time first pitch, falling to 55 by the third inning. And if there is a Game 4 on Sunday night, the forecast is for the temperatures to stay low. According to weather.com, the conditions for an 8 p.m. MT Sunday start will be 50 degrees, but it will feel like 47 at Coors Field.
Throughout the night, the readings are projected to drop to as low as 42, if it's a three-hour game. "We haven't played in cold weather since early May, when it was still cold in Philly," Phillies infielder Wes Helms said. "We had a really warm September, so we're not going to be used to it. These guys [the Rockies] aren't going to be used to it. "If we go to a Game 4, the guys on the bench are going to have to bundle up to stay warm. You have to keep moving." Under both benches in both dugouts at Coors Field are heaters. One trick the Rockies do when the conditions get extremely chilly is they head into the team sauna, in full uniform. Eric Young, a former 15-year veteran and now ESPN analyst, remembers playing with snowflakes falling in Colorado back in 1994. "I remember it being really cold and wondering, 'How are we going to play this game?' You've got to do what you've got to do," Young said Saturday. "You've got to go out and just play. What helps is a packed house. If you're cold, and everyone is bundled up and cheering for you and the adrenaline is flowing, it makes it easier for you to go out and play." Extreme cold can be especially rough on the hitters, especially if they have their bats sawed off on inside pitches. "You want to make sure you don't get jammed," Young said. "Your hands could be stinging for a little while. You want to make sure you don't do that." If there is a fourth game, the Rockies are slated to start veteran left-hander Mark Redman, no stranger to pitching in unseasonable weather.
When he was with the Tigers in 2002, he made an early April start with snow falling at Detroit.While with the Pirates in April 2005, Redman squared off against Greg Maddux and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The wind-chill factor was 24 degrees that day. "You don't work up a sweat and keep a sweat," Redman said of pitching in frosty conditions. "I don't change my dress attire any. I might wear sleeves, but you want to be free and loose."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.