Sports

Game 3 in Philadelphia is complete

PHILADELPHIA — In the City of Brotherly Love and the undefeated Eagles, Justin Verlander showed the flip side of the former and playfully gave Philadelphia Phillies fans another bird — his middle finger — as he exited the Houston Astros team bus on Monday.

One finger is certainly more than you’d need to count the World Series wins for the Astros ace, now 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight starts.

Also delayed was the number of days Game 3 of the World Series was postponed due to a 1-1 rainout, pushing the entire Fall Classic schedule back one day.

“We’ve waited long enough to see on the radar what’s coming,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “It was watched by three, actually four people with different weather conditions. Everyone was consistent about this second wave of rain.’

Rain postponed Game 3 to Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, when the weather should be clear and First Lady Jill Biden planned to attend Game 4. There were screeches on the field when it was announced an hour later that the washout before the scheduled first night at Halloween.

Game 4 will now be played on Wednesday, while Game 5 is set for a scheduled travel day on Thursday night – competing with an NFL game that, of all teams, features the undefeated Eagles in Houston against the Texans.

There will be a travel day on Friday if needed. This was the original date of Game 6.

Game 6 was moved to Saturday and Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday. All games will start at 20:03 ET.

There hasn’t been a daytime World Series game since 1987, and as it turns out, there hasn’t been much discussion about moving Game 5 to a late afternoon and keeping it away from the NFL, which reigns as a ratings powerhouse. The Eagles-Texans game will be broadcast exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. The World Series airs on Fox.

“For us, the big thing for the World Series is the biggest audience we can get, and that’s a prime-time audience. This is reality,” Manfred said. “We think we have a great product that fans want to see. And we’re going to deliver the games when it makes sense to play the games and hope to get a good audience.”

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. is scheduled to pitch against Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez in Game 3. Noah Syndergaard was slated to start for the Phillies before the rain hit.

“It affects both teams. You just have to shut him down, get a good night’s rest and be ready for tomorrow’s game,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s part of the game. You can’t control the weather, so you just deal with it.”

Phillies manager Rob Thomson agreed with MLB’s decision to postpone the game.

“Everyone would like to play in dry conditions. It will be fair for everyone,” he said.

For fans, tickets that were good for Monday night are now valid for Tuesday’s game as the calendar moves to November.

Game 1 starter Aaron Nola will start for the Phillies in Game 4 against Christian Javier. Either Syndergaard or Kyle Gibson will start Game 5 for the Phillies. Game 2 starter Zach Wheeler takes the mound for Game 6 on extra rest, allowing Suarez to start a possible Game 7 in Houston.

Thomson felt confident turning to Suarez in Game 7, even though the Astros gave him six runs in three innings on Oct. 4 in his final season opener.

“Some guys speed up, get a little excited,” Thomson said. “Some guys have a heartbeat that doesn’t change, and Ranger is one of those guys.”

Gibson could start Game 5 if the Phillies turn to Syndergaard in the bullpen for either of the next two games. After the delay, Syndergaard took the field to throw long in the rain.

It would be tough for Gibson after going 10-8 in 31 starts, but none since Oct. 1. His only postseason appearance was 1⅓ scoreless innings in Game 2 of the NLCS on Oct. 19 against the San Diego Padres. Gibson went 1-3 with a 9.79 ERA over his last six regular season starts. Thomson said he could get 60 to 65 pitches from Gibson.

The Astros and Phillies practiced on the field Monday before the tarp was put down around 5 p.m. About an hour later, it started to rain.

“I’m glad we got some batting practice and hit some balls off the wall. That’s their real home field advantage,” Baker said.

Once again, rain has invaded the World Series in Philly.

In 2008, the fifth clinch game took three days. The Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays were tied when play was suspended, and after a prolonged rainout the next day, the Phillies won the World Series a day after that.

The start of the World Series in Philadelphia in 1993 at Veterans Stadium and in 2009 at Citizens Bank Park were postponed due to rain. This year, the Phillies won the NLCS with a win over the Padres on a rainy, blustery Sunday.

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