Win­ter weather caus­ing havoc on MLB sched­ule

West Hawaii Today - - Sports - BY JAY CO­HEN

CHICAGO — April show­ers — and snow, sleet and wind — are wreak­ing havoc on ma­jor league base­ball.

No Oh­tani in Kansas City. No Judge in Detroit. One less off day for a cou­ple more teams this sum­mer.

Six more games were wiped out Sun­day, run­ning base­ball’s to­tal num­ber of post­pone­ments to 21 just 2 1/2 weeks into the sea­son. It’s base­ball’s high­est num­ber through the end of April since it had 26 in 2007, and there are still a cou­ple weeks to go this month.

The last time six games were post­poned in a sin­gle day was Sept. 12, 2008, and that sit­u­a­tion was partly caused by Hur­ri­cane Ike bat­ter­ing the Gulf Coast. There was more dicey weather in the fore­cast for Mon­day, and Bos­ton post­poned its an­nual Pa­tri­ots’ Day game for the first time since 1984.

“If it was up to me, no one would play north of At­lanta or east of Colorado in the first few weeks, but that’s not go­ing to hap­pen,” Braves re­liever Peter Moy­lan said.

An­gels sen­sa­tion Sho­hei Oh­tani was slated to pitch for the third time be­fore their game against the Roy­als was called off be­cause of sub­freez­ing tem­per­a­tures. Aaron Judge and the Yan­kees were set to play a dou­ble­header against the Tigers af­ter a rain­out on Satur­day, but the twin­bill was wiped out, too, with ici­cles all over Comer­ica Park. The last three games of Min­nesota’s series at Tar­get Field against the Chicago White Sox were wiped out by rain, then a bliz­zard.

No ac­tion for Blue Jays at In­di­ans, and Braves at Cubs one day af­ter the teams played through mis­er­able con­di­tions at Wrigley Field.

“Driv­ing out again, it was re­mark­ably bad,” Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “It’s just the right thing to do. It’s not about just get­ting games in. You want to be able to play the game on a ma­jor league-cal­iber, cham­pi­onship-cal­iber level.”

Tough to do on Sun­day. The start of St. Louis’ game at Cincin­nati was de­layed for more than 2 hours be­cause of the weather. Fans and play­ers wore ski masks at Citi Field, and there was free hot cho­co­late at the con­ces­sion stands at Fen­way Park.

It was 31 de­grees in Kansas City with an 18 mph wind, mak­ing it feel like 20 de­grees. A night ear­lier, the An­gels and Roy­als fin­ished up in snow.

“Just the sim­ple fact that I was go­ing to be pitch­ing in cold weather, that was a lit­tle wor­ri­some for me,” Oh­tani said through a trans­la­tor.

“Also, I was wor­ried my fin­ger­tips might lose the feel for the ball. That was one of the things I was wor­ried (about),” he said.

In St. Pe­ters­burg, Florida, the Philadel­phia Phillies beat Tampa Bay 10-4 in­side the domed Trop­i­cana Field. Out­side, se­vere weather prompted a tor­nado warn­ing for the ball­park area dur­ing the mid­dle in­nings. An an­nounce­ment made at the sta­dium said po­lice and fire of­fi­cials were mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

This ma­jor league sea­son be­gan on March 29 for its ear­li­est start ever, ex­clud­ing spe­cial openers in in­ter­na­tional sites such as Ja­pan and Australia. It also spans 187 days, in­stead of 183, as part of the la­bor agree­ment be­tween play­ers and own­ers, but that ex­tra room to ma­neu­ver is tak­ing a hit.

Chicago’s game against At­lanta was resched­uled for May 14, creat­ing a stretch of 11 games in 10 days for the Cubs and 16 straight games for the Braves with­out an off day. Cleve­land plays 18 games in three cities over 17 days af­ter its week­end against Toronto was resched­uled for a tra­di­tional dou­ble­header on May 3.

The An­gels get to re­turn to Kansas City on June 25, be­tween a home series against Toronto and a visit to Bos­ton. The Yan­kees had a nine-game, three-city trip turn into 11 games and four cities when they were resched­uled for a dou­ble­header June 4 in Detroit, but at least that stretch con­cludes back in New York at the crosstown Mets.

“Some­times we talk about our game — only the strong sur­vive,” Min­nesota man­ager Paul Moli­tor said. “It’s men­tal tough­ness, and this has re­quired a lit­tle more than normal.”

Moli­tor and the Twins were set to es­cape chilly Min­nesota for the warmth of Puerto Rico and a two-game series against Cleve­land be­gin­ning on Tues­day night. Moli­tor planned to hold an op­tional work­out Mon­day in Puerto Rico af­ter the lost week­end against the White Sox.

“Base­ball’s all about a rou­tine, de­vel­op­ing a rou­tine and go­ing about your­self ev­ery day at the park, know­ing when you’re go­ing to play and all that stuff,” Twins sec­ond base­man Brian Dozier said. “It does throw you for a loop, I guess, in that sense. At the same time, we make a liv­ing ad-lib­bing. You got to ad-lib in this game and you got to take it in stride.”

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