Rain postpones Mariners-Indians again
The Cleveland Indians can only hope the magic they've regained at Progressive Field hasn't been washed away.
For the second straight day, the Indians' game against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday was postponed by rain. The consecutive rainouts came on the heels of perhaps the team's biggest moment of an already surprising season Friday night, when Travis Hafner's two-run homer in the ninth inning capped a three-run rally and gave the Indians a 5-4 win.
The comeback, which took place in front of 33,774 fans, the second-largest crowd of the season, looked to be a perfect opportunity for the Indians to build more momentum on a start that's already featured several memorable moments.
''We really wanted to use all that energy we got from that walk-off homer,'' manager Manny Acta said. ''It's too bad. It seems like ages ago since Travis hit that home run.''
The Indians are 24-13, their best start since opening the 2001 season at 26-11. Cleveland plays two-game series at Kansas City and Chicago this week before returning home Friday to face Cincinnati. The Indians, who had a 14-game home winning streak snapped by the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, are 15-4 at Progressive Field.
Unlike Saturday's game, which was halted in the bottom of the first inning, Sunday's contest never began. The original 1:05 p.m. start time was delayed while the grounds crew prepared the field, which had been hit by heavy rains since Saturday morning.
The postponement was announced at 3:15 p.m. No makeup dates have been decided. The Mariners return to Cleveland for a three-game series Aug. 22-24. Both teams are off Aug. 25 and Sept. 19.
Although steady rain was still falling, the umpires and grounds crew hoped to start the game at 1:50 p.m. Josh Tomlin, Cleveland's scheduled starter, was on the mound throwing his warmup pitches and the Indians' position players had taken the field when the rain picked up again, along with a swirling wind.
Acta and Mariners manager Eric Wedge spoke with the umpires before crew chief John Hirschbeck called for the tarp to be put back on the field.
''It was a tough decision,'' Acta said. ''The weather was so unpredictable. I don't think anyone did anything wrong. Once we were ready to start, (the rain) got a little harder. That wasn't the conditions to start a game. Basically (the rain) was going to be here all day.''
The weather problems brought back memories of the four-game series in Cleveland between the teams that was snowed out to begin the 2007 season. The Mariners had to return to Cleveland three different times for makeup games while the final game was played in Seattle in September with the Indians as the home team.
For Eric Wedge, who managed the Indians from 2003-09, dealing with the conditions in Cleveland is nothing new. Returning for the first time since being fired after the 2009 season as Seattle's manager, Wedge's homecoming consisted of a walk-off loss and two rainouts.
''I've seen a little bit of everything,'' he said. ''It's tough here with the weather. Its always been tough.''
Center fielder Grady Sizemore, who hasn't played since bruising his right knee sliding into second base on Tuesday, is still listed as day-to-day. The Indians want to be extra careful with the three-time All-Star, who had season-ending knee surgery on his left knee last June.
NOTES: Sunday was the 30th anniversary of Len Barker's perfect game against Toronto that took place on May 15, 1981 at the old Cleveland Stadium. Barker threw out the first pitch before the rainout. ... Acta said Tomlin will start Monday against the Royals. ... RHP Mitch Talbot (elbow) will pitch in a minor-league rehab game Thursday for Triple-A Columbus. ... The Mariners, who have lost six in a row, return home to begin a two-game series against Minnesota on Monday night. ... RHP starter Michael Pineda had taken his warmup pitches in the bullpen Sunday, but will be able to start Monday.