NEW YORK -- Both teams were primed to continue what has already been a highly entertaining American League Championship Series, but the Angels and Yankees will have to wait one more day. Mother Nature's mind was made up, and rain was set to pour on the tarp-covered Yankee Stadium deep into Saturday night.
The answer to that question seemed to differ depending on who was asked. In truth, nobody shy of Nostradamus will know until the game -- or games -- actually takes place. The Yankees lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2. "I would think [it's good] for us," said Angels closer Brian Fuentes. "They were going to have CC [Sabathia] going for them [in a Game 7] either way. I don't think it changes anything for them. I'd like to think it's more in our favor." Perhaps that would have been different if Yankees manager Joe Girardi had used the rainout as an excuse to move his $161 million ace up to Game 6 since, after all, that is the night Sabathia would have pitched Game 7 if the series had stayed on the original schedule. Instead, Girardi thinks his team's best chance to win this series is to keep Andy Pettitte on his regular turn and give Sabathia an extra day of rest if the series stretches to the limit. "The extra day, we think, could physically help him," said Girardi. "He was on short [rest] the last time. He's been good on the extra day, too. So I don't really worry about him going on an extra day. We're going to stick with Andy." Angels manager Mike Scioscia will also stick with Joe Saunders for Game 6. However, the best wrinkle the rainout creates for the Angels is that they now have the option of using ace John Lackey on full rest if they can win Game 6. Originally, Jered Weaver would have faced off against Sabathia in Game 7. "We're getting too far ahead of ourselves," said Lackey. "We've got to win [Game 6]." Along those lines, Scioscia didn't even definitively commit to Lackey for a Game 7. He first wants to make sure he doesn't need the big righty out of the bullpen Sunday, when all hands will be on deck.
"John Lackey is -- he's still in play [Sunday]," said Scioscia. "We'll get through Game 6. There's no sense talking about a Game 7. We'll have some more options and we'll obviously know better after tomorrow's game." But if the Angels can win with Saunders -- while perhaps using Weaver out of the bullpen in Game 6 -- they suddenly have a better chance of neutralizing Sabathia and the Yankees in a winner-take-all contest if Lackey is the man on the mound. While the fans and media will dissect such matters all day long, the teams at least say they keep a more tunnel-vision approach. "You worry about Game 6 for us," said Girardi. "Our focus is completely on Game 6. Does it give one team an advantage or not? I don't know. Maybe the extra day helps us more. I'm not really sure. I'm sure there will be a lot written about it, depending on what happens tomorrow night. But I don't know." "Actually, I think [the rainout is] to both teams' advantage," said Saunders. "Some guys felt a little tired down the stretch -- position players and pitchers. I think this is good for both teams. You can wake up when you want tomorrow and come out and play a game. It's a beautiful thing." The Angels -- who were within seven outs of their season ending in Thursday's Game 5, only to answer a stirring Yankees comeback with one of their own -- clearly are amped just to still be in this series. "I can only tell you guys in our clubhouse are ready to play," Scioscia said. "I'm sure it's the same way in the other clubhouse. And again, as we talked about a little bit before, momentum is nice after you win a good game. But you've got to come back and rebuild it pitch by pitch. That's what we're going to have to do tomorrow." And they'll get to do it under what should be dry skies. As damp as it was Saturday, the Yankees were still hoping to play and punch that ticket to their first World Series appearance in six years.
POSTSEASON POSTPONEMENTSSince Wild Card era began in 1995
|1996||ALCS, Gm. 1||BAL at NYY|
|WS, Gm. 1||ATL at NYY|
|2003||ALCS, Gm. 4||NYY at BOS|
|2004||ALCS, Gm. 3||NYY at BOS|
|2005||ALCS, Gm. 4||LAA at NYY|
|2006||ALDS, Gm. 2||DET at NYY|
|NLCS, Gm. 1||STL at NYM|
|NLCS, Gm. 5||NYM at STL|
|2008||WS, Gm. 5*||TB at PHI|
|2009||NLDS, Gm. 3||PHI at COL|
|2009||ALCS, Gm. 6||LAA at NYY|
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.