Rain fell at Kauffman Stadium throughout the day Monday, and the Orioles were going through their usual gameday preparations when Major League Baseball announced around 4:30 p.m. ET that Game 3 would be postponed until Tuesday. Games 4 and 5 also will move back a day, eliminating Thursday’s scheduled day off.
Peter Woodfork, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, said more than an inch of rain had fallen at the time of the postponement, with the forecast calling for storms to continue throughout the night.
“At some point, I think an inch and a half of rain on a field makes it difficult to play baseball,” Woodfork said.
Game 3 will be played at 8:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday, while Game 4 on Wednesday and Game 5 on Thursday, if necessary, both will be played at 4:07 p.m. ET.
So the Orioles must wait a day for the opportunity to climb out of their two-game hole in the series after dropping a pair of tightly contested games at Camden Yards.
“We’re just really anxious to get back out there and play,” Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce said after Monday’s game was postponed. “It’s unfortunate with the weather because we really wanted to play tonight. But we’ll just have to go out there tomorrow and get them.”
Monday’s postponement was the sixth time in last 19 ALCS games that a contest was either delayed or postponed by weather. And the Orioles are no stranger to bad weather, enduring more than 20 hours of delays and six postponed games during the regular season.
“That’s right on script, right?,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “But I’m sure our guys will be ready. We don’t worry about the other team’s guys, just our guys. I’m sure they’ll be ready to play ball.”
Since the postponement takes away Thursday's scheduled day off, the teams will play on five consecutive days if the best-of-seven series goes the distance.
“We’ve played 162 games in 180 days, so we’ve played five in a row more often than not,” Orioles reliever Andrew Miller said. “I think we’ll be fine.”
Asked whether the possibility of five games in five days will test bullpen depth, catcher Nick Hundley said both teams’ relief corps are battle-tested.
“It could for sure, but at the same time, I think both sides really, really trust all their guys,” Hundley said. “The depth and the quality of bullpens is second to none. I think whether it’s the closers or the middle relievers, I think both sides have very, very quality guys, and they’re very confident in all of them.”
Still, the postponement forces both teams to tweak their pitching.
Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who was scheduled to start Monday, still will pitch Game 3, manager Buck Showalter said. And the same is true with Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, according to Kansas City manager Ned Yost.
The Orioles and the Royals haven't announced who will start Game 4, but Game 1 starters Chris Tillman and James Shields are possibilities, according to both managers. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who unofficially was expected to start Game 4, also could remain in that slot.
If Tillman starts Game 4, it would be on normal rest after he pitched Friday. Tillman said Monday that it was news to him that he could start Wednesday, but since threw a bullpen session Monday, he thinks it's possible. Tillman lasted just 4 1/3 innings in Game 1, allowing five runs and seven hits.
“I want to get back out there,” Tillman said. “I want to get revenge for myself. I think it’s not fun coming out of the game early and watching the guys go out there and compete. Our guys are capable of doing it, but at the same time, you don’t like it.”
Gonzalez hasn't pitched since the Orioles' regular-season finale Sept. 28, but he pitched in a three-inning simulated game last Tuesday and had thrown several bullpen sessions, including one Sunday.
“You’ve got to be ready no matter what,” Gonzalez said. “This is the playoffs. This is exciting. We want to do our best at possible and perform.”
Even though history is not on their side — no team has ever lost the first two games of an LCS at home and won — the Orioles remain confident they can turn the series around here in Kansas City, even if they have to wait a day.
“I look at this as a three-game series,” Miller said. “We win this series, and [then] we play some games at home in front of our crowd again. That’s certainly our goal and our expectation. We’re capable of that. I don’t know how many series we’ve lost since I came over at the trade deadline, but there’s only been a couple at the most. … We’ve had our chances, we just need to capitalize on them this time around.”