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Rain shouldn't play a factor in Game 4

Rain shouldn't play a factor in Game 4

CLEVELAND -- Despite a drizzly day in Cleveland that canceled batting practice and included earlier forecasts of evening rain, the Indians' head groundskeeper said weather will not be an issue for tonight's Game 4 in the American League Championship Series.

"Looking good," Brandon Koehnke said just before his crew removed the tarp at 5:15 p.m. ET. "Nothing on the radar is telling us that [rain] is the case. We look at radar and determine what to do, we look at humidity and dew points and all that good stuff. Nothing is telling us there is any reason this game will be affected."

Officials announced that all pregame hitting by the Red Sox and Indians is being done indoors, while the crew works on the field. Unseasonably warm temperatures remain for this series, with a temperature of 63 and humidity of 81 percent forecast for the game's scheduled first pitch at 8:21 p.m. ET.

As for the field condition itself, Koehnke said, "Outstanding. It took a minimal amount of rain."

Major League Baseball built an off-day into the new postseason schedule for the LCS rounds. It was not needed in the National League, where the Rockies completed a four-game sweep of Arizona on Monday night to advance to the World Series. The Indians have a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven ALCS, and both clubs will take advantage of that off-day on Wednesday and then play Game 5 here on Thursday.

That off-day was created just in case of inclement weather, the kind that forced a record four postponements during the 2006 postseason. Last October, there was one rainout in the Division Series round (at New York), two in the LCS (New York and St. Louis), and one in the World Series (St. Louis). So far, so good in 2007. Temperatures were balmy in Chicago when Arizona came there to play the Cubs for one game in the NLDS, so hot in fact that they disrupted the ensuing Chicago Marathon.

Regardless of who Colorado faces in the World Series starting on Oct. 24, one would think there could be some pretty nasty weather. For Cleveland -- the last time the Indians hosted a World Series, it snowed. And you don't have to remind Koehnke and his crew about snow: Just remember what it was like at Jacobs Field back in April, when it snowed out an entire series against the Mariners and necessitated a subsequent Indians home series against the Angels in Milwaukee.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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