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Rained-out Tampa Bay Rays unhappy with day-night doubleheader scheduled for Thursday

Wade Davis is scheduled to start for the Rays tonight, though cold and snow threatens that game as well.

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Wade Davis is scheduled to start for the Rays tonight, though cold and snow threatens that game as well.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays were quite happy the Twins made the decision to postpone Tuesday's game in early afternoon given frigid temperatures and a forecast for the daylong rain to turn to snow.

But they were rather unhappy that the Twins scheduled the game to be made up on Thursday night as part of what is now a split doubleheader rather then when the Rays return in July.

"That would make a lot more sense," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "Obviously it's not up to us. We've got to do it, I guess."

The Rays had two primary objections: that the weather will still be inclement and uncomfortable on Thursday; and that the additional game will be taxing as they won't arrive home until 4-5 a.m. Friday, then have to face the Angels that night and again at 1 p.m. Saturday, playing four games in a span of about 51 hours.

"I would like it the other way," Rays manager Joe Maddon said, "but whatever we have to do."

The decision on rescheduling is made with input from officials and players from both teams and MLB. Player rep Evan Longoria said the Rays wanted the makeup to be during the July 4-5-6 visit, but the Twins players wanted it this week, and when there is a split the home team prevails.

Twins GM Bill Smith told the Star-Tribune that their thinking was that both teams are well-rested now (having been off Monday and Tuesday), that neither team has a day off in July outside the four-day All-Star break and that there could be further rescheduling issues due to other potential rainouts.

The plan could be further impacted because tonight's game could also be in jeopardy as the forecast calls for rain and snow showers, with temperatures in the low 40s and a feels-like in the mid 30s.

If the Rays play tonight, they will start Wade Davis, who was to pitch Tuesday, against Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano. They are holding off on setting Thursday's starters, but most likely it would be Jeremy Hellickson in the day game and Jeff Niemann.

The rain is expected to continue through Thursday afternoon then taper off, with temperatures still in the 40s for the first game, at 12:10 local time, then actually warming to the low 50s for the 7:10 nightcap.

Longoria said the weather was his biggest concern: "You want to play doubleheaders when the weather is nice, when you don't have to worry about playing in the elements."

Maddon had two concerns. One is the carryover effect from the late-night arrival home (their second in a week) and then the quick turnaround. "That can have a negative impact on your energy level," he said.

The other is the cumulative effect on his relievers from the volume of games in such a short period. "You go from a really well-rested bullpen to a very taxed one very quickly if the games don't play out well," he said.

Plus, he doesn't like the idea of day-night doubleheaders anyway — "an absolutely ridiculous concept," he said recently — as he feels they not only make for extremely long days (for the financial benefit of the home team since they are considered separate games) but also increase the risk of injuries for players.

Upton said he also had safety concerns about the conditions.

"Too many things can go wrong for both sides in the cold," he said. "Guys can't get as loose as they normally would, the ground might still be wet. … Too much can go wrong."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com

Rained-out Tampa Bay Rays unhappy with day-night doubleheader scheduled for Thursday 04/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:34pm]
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