The decisive Game 5 of the AL Division Series between the Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees was postponed by rain and rescheduled for Tuesday at 4:07 p.m.
Both teams took batting practice Monday ahead of the scheduled 7:07 p.m. start. Major League Baseball announced a delay at 6:20 p.m., rain started falling at 7:30 p.m. and the postponement was announced at 9:38 p.m.
“If weather is an issue, I don’t want to be powering through that necessarily,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said around 4 p.m.
Cleveland center fielder Myles Straw, who got into an angry confrontation with Yankees fans in April, tossed a football with fans in the first and second decks during the delay, as did backup outfielder Will Brennan.
The center field video board showed split-screen coverage of New York City’s 3-0 win over Miami in the Major League Soccer playoffs, the New York Rangers’ NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks and the Denver Broncos’ NFL matchup vs. the San Diego Chargers.
It was the second postponement of the series following Game 2 at Yankee Stadium getting pushed back a day until Friday afternoon.
Cleveland or New York will start the AL Championship Series at Houston on Wednesday night.
Aaron Civale had been scheduled to start Monday for the Guardians and Jameson Taillon for the Yankees. The postponement allows the possibility for New York All-Star Nestor Cortes and Cleveland ace Shane Bieber to start on three days’ rest — although the Guardians are expected to stick with Civale.
A strained right shoulder limited Bieber to 16 games last year, and manager Terry Francona said last week the team was hesitant to start the 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner on short rest — even before the series rainouts.
“You don’t ever want to just say no. But I think (pitching coach Carl Willis) and I, both our thoughts were that we weren’t leaning towards that as an option that we really wanted to do, just because of what he’s been through and everything,” Francona said last Thursday.
Cleveland has been contending with inclement weather all season. The young Guardians were rained out nine times at home and had two more postponements on the road, one because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
After losing last week’s series opener, Cleveland won Games 2 and 3, overcoming a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to win Game 3 by 6-5. The Yankees won 4-2 on Sunday night in Cleveland to force the playoff back to New York.
The rainout gives the Yankees a day to rest their banged-up and beleaguered bullpen.
New York used Clay Holmes for 17 pitches and Wandy Peralta for seven on Sunday, a night after Peralta threw 27, Clarke Schmidt 12, Jonathan Loáisiga 15 and Lou Trivino seven. Peralta had pitched three straight days.
The Yankees are missing Chad Green, Scott Effross, Zack Britton, Michael King and Ron Marinaccio because of injuries, and Aroldis Chapman was left off the series roster after failing to show up for a mandatory Oct. 7 workout.
Cleveland has not used its top relievers since Friday, when All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase threw 33 pitches after Trevor Stephan tossed 21 and James Karinchak 29.
The Guardians used Sam Hentges (31), Enyel De Los Santos (19) and Eli Morgan (12) on Saturday, and Morgan (23), Cody Morris (22) and Zach Plesac (11) on Saturday.
Cortes threw 92 pitches over five innings Friday. Bieber threw 101 pitches over 5 2/3 innings in the same game, which Cleveland won 4-2 in 10 innings.
PLAYING THE FIELD
New York slugger Giancarlo Stanton could see time in left field in Houston if the Yankees advance. He has been limited to DH and pinch hitting, and he last played the outfield on July 21, before he went on the injured list for a month with left Achilles tendinitis.
Yankees: Marinaccio (right shin) and fellow RHP Frankie Montas (right shoulder inflammation) could be available if the Yankees face Houston. Marinaccio last pitched Oct. 2 and Montas on Sept 16. … OF Andrew Benintendi, who hasn’t played since Sept. 2, had an injection for his right wrist and probably would not be available against the Astros.