In a week of rain events and long delays in Atlanta, Chicago and Minneapolis, the most dramatic and spectacular developed in Cleveland Saturday night as thunder crashed the summer night and rain drops drummed steadily on Progressive Field.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with his team tied 1-1 with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. As rain fell around him, Lindor sent a pitch soaring high and deep into the night, spinning through rain drops toward the Cleveland skyline. Four-hundred and thirty-eight feet later, the ball splashed into the right field bleachers where hundreds of Tribe fans, a few clad in rain gear, celebrated their team’s much-needed walk off win.
The scene was set in the top half of inning as thunder roared through downtown and around the ballpark, but the rain held off until two pitches into Lindor’s at bat.
“Believe it or not, my first reaction when it started raining was like ‘Oh, the ball is going to go nowhere now,’” Lindor said after the game. “Then I stepped out and thought if I hit it hard on the ground, it will go through. And it went up and it carried.'”
The game-winner was Lindor’s first-ever walk-off homer in the rain… OK, it was first ever walk-off home run, period.
The Reds and Marlins began their three-game series Friday night with an hour and 47-minute delayed start at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. After things got going, Christian Yelich drove in two runs to help the Marlins to 3-1 win. It was the Reds’ fourth rain delay of the season.
Rain struck hard and fast in Chicago Wednesday night, leading to the game between the White Sox and Dodgers to be called after seven innings. It was as good as over anyway as the Dodgers held an eight-run lead at the time of the delay.
Umpires sent the players off the field and called for the tarp at 10:09 p.m. Chicago time with the Dodgers batting in the top of the eighth. Thirty-seven minutes later, the game was called at 10:46 p.m. with the ballpark mostly empty of spectators.
Los Angeles won 9-1 and went on to sweep the brief two-game series.
[Photo of White Sox head groundskeepers Roger Bossard covering the field in the eighth inning as rain began to fall.]
If there was moaning coming from SunTrust Park early Monday evening, it wasn’t the usual incessant sound coming Braves fans performing that annoying Tomahawk Chop. The sound more likely was grumbling from Atlanta fans having to wait out an hour-long rain delay before watching their team lose to the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubbies, who are climbing back into the National League Central race, slapped the Braves 4-3.
Also on Monday, the Twins finished off the Yankees 4-2 just before a heavy rain zeroed in on Target Field. Twins’ closer Brandon Kintzler pitched a perfect ninth inning as rain began soaking the ballpark.
First-pitch temperature hit 88 degrees and may have caused some difficulty for Minnesota starter Aldaberto Mejia as he battled six innings effectively through the humid night.
“I was throwing hard overall,” the Dominican pitcher said. “I think the temperature got to me a little bit. Other than that, it was a good outing.”
— Mace Michaels (@macemichaels) July 18, 2017
Twins’ meteorologist Mace Michaels posted the above photo showing a soaked Target Field moments after the game. Michaels, by the way, is a great Twitter follow for all your Twins weather news and updates.
Moments after the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia struck out swinging in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night, umpires motioned for the tarp as a hard rain peppered Minnesota’s Target Field.
As it turned out, that was the last baseball act of the night between the Twins and the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. After a lengthy 2:06-minute rain delay – the game lasted just 2:21 – umpires consulted with managers of both squads and called the contest, giving the Twins a 7-4 victory, their fourth in a row.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 19, 2016
Rain had poured well before the tarp was placed on the field, and had it stopped, more time would have been needed to allow the field to dry. That’s time neither team had, particularly with game two of the series scheduled for 12:10 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
“The umpires were in a tough spot tonight,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after the game. “It wasn’t going to stop raining, the severity of it. They did a good job and they held off as long as they could. It just gets to a point where it’s not going to stop and you’ve got to decide where you’re going to put the players out there, and they just decided not to do it.”
The forecast for Monday night’s game predicted a good chance of rain, and a pre-game tweet from the Brewers showed menacing clouds hanging over the teams’ batting practice.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 18, 2016
What was left of the announced crowd of 21,078 weren’t left to sit bored and soaked in their seats. The Target Field staff put on the scoreboard the Stanley Cup playoff game between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars. The Wild won 5-3 to take a 2-1 series lead.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 19, 2016
The forecast for Tuesday’s game calls for a 46 percent chance of rain at first pitch and through 2 p.m. The rain chance dips to about 37 percent at 2 p.m.
Elsewhere… Looking at the forecast for the Cubs and Cardinals tonight in St. Louis shows a 54 percent chance of rain at the time Jaime Garcia is scheduled to throw out the first pitch for the home team. I’m not into making weather predictions on games… ah, what the heck? Who’s going to call me on it if I’m wrong? I’m saying the start of the game will be delayed by at least 25 minutes.
The New York Yankees have waited since October to get another crack at Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel.
The rematch of last year’s American League Wild Card game, in which Kuechel dominated Yankees hitters and won 3-0, was scheduled to happen today in the Bronx, Opening Day for the two clubs and most of Major League Baseball.
However, a slight rain was falling in New York this morning and there is about 75 percent chance it would continue at 1 p.m. when Masahiro Tanaka was scheduled to toss the first pitch for the Yankees. Weather projections have the chance of rain up to 100 percent at 3 p.m.
— Simone Eli (@SimoneEli_KPRC) April 4, 2016
The game has been postponed until 1:05 p.m. Tuesday, giving the Yankees one more day to figure out that baffling Kuechel fella. The New York batters failed to score a run off the lefty in the 22 innings they faced him in 2015.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland…
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 4, 2016
Snow could be flying around Progressive Field today when the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox at 4:10 p.m. Temperatures will be around 33 but feel like 23 at game time.
It could be worse. The game could be in Boston…
— Fenway Park (@fenwaypark) April 4, 2016
Orioles fans may want to pack ponchos for today’s opener against the Twins at Camden Yards. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. That’s also about the time rain could hit the area, about an 80 percent chance. That goes up to near 100 percent at 4 p.m.
Everything else, weather wise, looks nice around the league. Sunday marked the official start of the 2016 MLB season with three games. No weather problems, but Pirates fans at PNC Park welcomed the new season with 39 degree temperatures at the ballpark.
UPDATE: As snow blows around the ballpark and temperatures feel like December at a Browns game, the game between the Indians and Red Sox today in Cleveland has been postponed. The game is scheduled to be made up Tuesday at 1:10 p.m.
Temps on recent holidays/event days:
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 4, 2016
Minnesota Twins pitcher Tommy Milone talks in this MLB.com video about throwing a simulated game after his scheduled start against the Pirates was rained out last Saturday. Twins manager Paul Molitor and bench coach Joe Vavra stood in as batters as Milone tossed 75 pitches.
The Twins were hoping to use Saturday’s game to get a look at lefty options for the bullpen, but rain soaked that idea, too, as LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune explains:
The travel roster for Saturday’s game included four lefthanded relievers: Buddy Boshers, Logan Darnell, Dan Runzler and Taylor Rogers. The chance each pitcher has of making the team varies.
Indications remain that the Twins will have at least one lefthanded set-up man to help bridge the late innings to closer Glen Perkins. Fernando Abadentered camp as the frontrunner, and he has given up only one earned run over 5⅓ innings to justify that position.
Twins pitching coach Neil Allen said he is still open to anything — one lefthander to set up, two or none. He would like to settle on his bullpen with four or five games left in spring training, so this is another area to watch over the next week.
“We’re just looking to see who can prove to be consistent day in and day out,” Allen said.
Saturday could have been a day to look at a few lefthanded candidates, but the rain spoiled it.
“We’ve talked about [looking at] some of the guys in the mix pitching on the same day,” Molitor said, “but it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Let’s look on the bright side: Yeah, we lost three baseball games to rain Tuesday night, but all three of those games will be made up today, giving us three doubleheaders.
Only a few days remain in the MLB regular season – that’s a bummer – and all three double dips today involve teams that are somehow in the thick of the playoff races. So today we have St. Louis at Pittsburgh, Minnesota at Cleveland and Toronto at Baltimore.
Oh, and you’re welcome for sparing you the “It’s Raining in Baltimore” headline on Tuesday night. That one’s been used a lot on The Rainout Blog because… well, it’s one of my favorite Counting Crows songs.