NEW YORK — Saturday's ALCS Game 6 was canceled hours before first pitch due to rain and bad weather, but it's hard not to think the Angels came out ahead.
Though they still trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, the delay allows them now to have ace John Lackey available to start a potential Game 7 Monday night, and even to pitch tonight in relief if there were a critical situation.
"We'll have some more options," manager Mike Scioscia said, trying to focus first on tonight's 8:20 game.
"You saw what (Lackey) did last game: He dominated the whole time," said Angels LHP Scott Kazmir, the former Ray. "If we get him in Game 7, we'll have a lot of confidence in that game, that's for sure."
Plus, they don't have to face Yankees ace CC Sabathia tonight. Sabathia, who has been dominant throughout the postseason, is on full rest, but the Yankees decided to stick with veteran LHP Andy Pettitte — saving Sabathia for Game 7 or, perhaps greedily, looking ahead to Game 1 of the World Series.
"We like the guy going (tonight)," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "CC has been great. But Andy will pitch (tonight)."
The company line in both clubhouses was that neither side actually benefited from the postponement.
"You worry about Game 6 for us," Girardi said. "Our focus is completely on Game 6. Does it give one team an advantage or not? I don't know. Maybe the extra day helps us more. I'm not really sure. I'm sure there will be a lot written about it. Depends on what happens (tonight)."
FORECASTING: The early decision was appreciated by all parties, especially given the alternative of beginning the game with the potential of a long delay or postponement that could cost each team its starting pitcher.
"The one thing is you don't want to stop and start," Girardi said. "I don't think any of us are exactly sure when the rain is going to get out of here, how late it's going to be. So I respect the decision that they made. I'm sure both clubs would have loved to have played. The weather is not permitting."
"Obviously with so much at stake in this game and the field (likely to be unplayable), the commissioner made the right call," Angels GM Tony Reagins said. "It didn't look like it was going to get any better any time soon. So it made sense to call it when they did."
UNUSUAL POSITION: A disadvantage for both teams is getting yet another day off: They've played just eight games in the past 20 days. "It's not what we're used to, but we have to learn to deal with it," Yankees 1B Mark Teixiera said.
Scioscia went further, saying the schedule needs to be adjusted because it takes away the advantage of having a deep team. The implication being, of course, that it benefits a team with a lack of depth — like, say, a certain pinstriped squad that has been getting through the postseason using just three starting pitchers.
HE KNOWS: After what the Rays went through last year in Philadelphia, Kazmir said it was definitely the right move to call the game: "You don't want to decide Game 6 like this. You saw the World Series last year; it wasn't pretty."
MISCELLANY: Girardi dropped struggling RF Nick Swisher to eighth in his Saturday lineup. … If Lackey is used in relief tonight, Kazmir could be the Game 7 starter. … Tonight's first-pitch forecast is for 53 degrees and no chance of rain. … Yankees RHP A.J. Burnett didn't throw his usual side session on Saturday so he could be available in relief.