Game called off due to rain threat

DETROIT  — Shockingly, Major League Baseball postponed a playoff game that did not involve Justin Verlander.

The Detroit Tigers had a chance to finish off the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS in front of their home fans but Mother Nature wasn’t about to cooperate.

Neither Tigers starter Max Scherzer nor Yankees starter CC Sabathia warmed up before the scheduled 8:07 p.m. start and it was announced that the game was being delayed due to inclement weather in the area.

As soon as a light rain started to fall around 9:15 p.m., the game was called and postponed until Thursday at 4:07 p.m., which was the original scheduled time for Game 5. People holding tickets for ALCS Home Game #2 (which was supposed to be Wednesday) can use those tickets for Thursday afternoon’s game.

“Based on the forecast for inclement weather for the remainder of the evening, Game Four of the 2012 American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park has been postponed in an effort to preserve the integrity of an uninterrupted full nine-inning game,” MLB said in a statement.

The Tigers saw Verlander’s starts spoiled more than once in last year’s playoffs so they didn’t mind the postponement.

“We went through it last year,” catcher Alex Avila said. “A lot of people were pretty upset that Verlander didn’t get to finish his start so I think people would be pretty upset if they didn’t get to see Scherzer and Sabathia finish their starts as well. Major League Baseball is trying to protect not only the pitchers but also play a clean game without having to stop and stuff like that. To be honest with you, my opinion doesn’t matter. I don’t really care. If they tell us we can play, we play. If not, then we don’t play. It’s not really up to us.”

For the Yankees, facing an elimination game, it would have been unacceptable to start Sabathia, their best pitcher, then have a lengthy rain delay take him out of the game.

“I think they made the right call,” Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. “You want your ace to be able to go out there and throw his game.”

Scherzer said the postponement had “absolutely zero” effect on him. He made sure to go out and play some catch before the rain came.

“I like pitching so I would have played at 1 a.m.,” Scherzer said. “I don’t care. Whenever they want to give me the ball, that’s great.”

Scherzer said the players knew there was rain in the forecast.

“I mean, it’s rain,” Scherzer said. “They kept saying it was going to come and it never came. So go figure.”

The rain started coming down harder after 10 p.m.

The postponement could have further ramifications for the Yankees. If they were able to force a Game 7, Sabathia would now be unavailable since he has to pitch Thursday.

The Tigers, on the other hand, might gain a benefit. Manager Jim Leyland said left-handed reliever Phil Coke, who has saved the last two games, was not available to pitch Wednesday. Now with the extra day, he might be.

“I was available in my own mind anyway,” Coke said. “It doesn’t matter. The Skipper says no and I’m thinking, uh-huh, yes, I am. It frees up options. It gives everybody an extra day of rest, obviously unplanned. Probably not as much fun as it could have been, just because there’s no baseball today as far as we’re concerned. But that’s the way it played out.”