Phillies vs.  Astros: How World Series Game 3 rainout affects plans for both teams

Phillies vs. Astros: How World Series Game 3 rainout affects plans for both teams

PHILADELPHIA – For the first time since Games 6 and 7 were postponed a day back in 2011, the World Series has been postponed. Game 3 was set to be played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Monday, but with rain expected for most of the night, Major League Baseball decided it was best to push everything back one day.

Instead of cramming in the remaining scheduled games, MLB decided to take a day off on Friday for travel. The series could end in Philadelphia, of course, but if both teams win at least one game in Philly, the series will return to Houston with Game 6 now set for Saturday and a possible Game 7 for Sunday.

In terms of how this affects each team, eyes immediately turn to the team with a pair of aces and only a small number of others they would like to use in high leverage spots. Rain, in theory and on paper, helps the Phillies. It doesn’t hurt the Astros, obviously, but they have so much pitching depth that a streak without days off would have benefited them by hurting the Phillies.

Ranger Suárez, who pitched in relief in Game 1, is now set to start Tuesday’s Game 3. Not only that, but Game 1 starter Aaron Nola can now play Game 4 on regular rest. Noah Syndergaard (originally scheduled to start Monday in Game 3) will likely be the Game 5 starter and that clears the way for Zack Wheeler to go in Game 6 for extra rest. If there is a Game 7, they would have Suarez ready and Nola available in relief.

In the bullpen, the Phillies would like to rely heavily on José Alvarado and Seranthony Domínguez with little Zach Eflin and David Robertson. They’ll be able to more easily rely almost exclusively on those four relievers now with Suárez and Wheeler getting an extra day along with Nola who can play Game 4.

Of course, Phillies manager Rob Thomson said it’s possible they’ll use Syndergaard in relief in Games 3 and/or 4, so Kyle Gibson is an option to start Game 5.

On the Astros end, he’s so deep with pitching that he doesn’t move the needle a ton. They remain with Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 3 and, according to Dusty Baker, “probably” Cristian Javier in Game 4. That leaves Justin Verlander for Game 5 on extra rest and Framber Valdez for Game 6 on extra rest. Game 7 would then likely be McCullers if we get that far.

The Astros have such a deep bullpen that, as noted, this day doesn’t do much for them while giving the Phillies additional ways to rest their relievers and manipulate the rotation to their advantage.

We’ve got a long way to go, and this was probably a long shot in the weeds before we see how Game 3 plays out — and one of the teams could win the series in five games! — but we had nothing else to do. It is of course the first postponement in 11 years. Enjoy the evening and we’ll be back after Tuesday.

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