Manager Terry Collins had heard the horror stories of three-hour rain delays and Jacobs Field games played in nasty weather, so he was pleasantly surprised when Saturday's game was postponed because of rain only 20 minutes after it was scheduled to begin.
The game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader July 28 in Cleveland, with the first game scheduled for 10 a.m. PDT and the second for 4 p.m.
"I'd rather have this than be here until 4 p.m. and then be told we're not playing," Collins said. "If they were going to start this thing, they needed to play it, because I didn't want [Mark] Langston to warm up and pitch an inning just so they can get their gate."
Because every game in Jacobs Field is a sellout, and because many fans travel long distances to attend games, the Indians in recent years have gone to great lengths to play on rainy days, often delaying games for hours.
Heavy rains that pelted Cleveland all morning subsided around Saturday's scheduled start time of 1 p.m. EDT, and the sun even came out for a while. But with showers expected throughout the afternoon, Indian officials decided it would be impossible to play the entire game in decent conditions.
It turned out to be the wrong move--the rains held off until 4 p.m., which would have given the teams at least three hours to get the game in.
Both Collins and Cleveland Manager Mike Hargrove will push Saturday's starting pitchers back a day, meaning Langston will square off against Jack McDowell in today's series finale.
Struggling right fielder Tim Salmon would have been off Saturday regardless of the weather. With two hits in his last 20 at-bats in five games and a career .151 average against McDowell, Salmon was not in Saturday's starting lineup, which had Orlando Palmeiro leading off and in right field.
"McDowell has been tough on him, and I just wanted to give Tim a chance to take a day off, relax a bit," Collins said.
Chuck Finley had another bullpen workout Saturday in preparation for his return to the Angel rotation Tuesday in New York. Finley, sidelined since March 15 because of a broken facial bone, is confident he'll be able to make at least 100 pitches in his 1997 debut.
"I need to be aggressive and not mess around," said Finley, who made two rehabilitation starts for Class-A Lake Elsinore. "I don't want to nibble. That's where you waste pitches."
The veteran left-hander carries a 14-8 career record and 3.56 earned-run average against the Yankees--and a life preserver--into Tuesday's start.
With Mark Gubicza probably headed for the disabled list because of shoulder problems and Angel starters getting hammered, Finley has been a sight for sore eyes--and arms--in the Angel clubhouse.
"I'm just glad to get back and contribute in some way," said Finley, who was 4-0 with a 0.58 ERA against New York in 1996.
"I've been getting tired of sitting on the bench with a pompom. We need some more innings out of our starting pitchers, or our bullpen is going to be shot by July."
The Angels' game against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, originally scheduled for 11 a.m. PDT, has been moved to 5 p.m. . . . The results of Gubicza's MRI are expected to be available today. . . . The Angels have lost five of six games and have given up 57 hits and 36 runs in the last three games.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
ANGELS' MARK LANGSTON (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. INDIANS' JACK McDOWELL (0-0, 12.60 ERA)
Jacobs Field, Cleveland, 10 a.m.
* Update--Manager Terry Collins will use Saturday's rainout to shuffle his rotation, which will result in Allen Watson getting pushed back two days. Jason Dickson, originally scheduled to pitch today against the Indians, will pitch Monday night in New York, Chuck Finley will start Tuesday, Watson will start Wednesday at Minnesota, and Shigetoshi Hasegawa or Dennis Springer will go Thursday against the Twins. Jim Leyritz (nine hits in 18 at-bats) and Garret Anderson (seven for 18, two home runs) have had success against McDowell.