World Series rainout sets up rare NFL-MLB duel Thursday

The Phillie Phanatic, Dr. J and Mike Schmidt are ready — as are the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies — to hit the field at the World Series after a rainout.

Game 3 was postponed Monday night with the teams tied 1-all, the washout at Citizens Bank Park pushing the entire Fall Classic schedule back by a day.

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. is still set to pitch Tuesday night. The Phillies changed their pitching plans, with Ranger Suárez now set to start instead of Noah Syndergaard.

The Astros and Phillies both worked out on the field Monday before the tarp was put down around 5 p.m. It started to rain soon after that and the game was called an hour before the scheduled first pitch.

“I’m glad we took some batting practice and played some balls off the wall. That’s their real home-field advantage,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson was fine with the decision by Major League Baseball to postpone the game.

“Everybody would rather play in dry conditions. It’s going to be fair for everybody,” he said.

The wildly popular Phanatic didn’t get to put on a Halloween performance — instead, the mascot will be in action when the calendar rolls over to November.

Philadelphia sports greats Julius Erving — Dr. J — and Schmidt had been set to throw out ceremonial balls, along with former Flyers star Bernie Parent and Eagles Super Bowl champion Brandon Graham.

SERIES SCHEDULE (All times ET)

Game 3: Tuesday in Philadelphia, 8:03 p.m., FOX

Game 4: Wednesday in Philadelphia, 8:03 p.m., FOX

Game 5: Thursday in Philadelphia, 8:03 p.m., FOX

Game 6 (if necessary): Saturday in Houston, 8:03 p.m., FOX

Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday in Houston, 8:03 p.m., FOX

LET’S PLAY TWO!

Monday’s washout set up a juicy night of sports in Philly and Houston on Thursday.

While the Astros and Phillies square off for Game 5 in Pennsylvania, the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles will play in Houston against the Texans.

There has not been a World Series day game since 1987, and it appeared there was little discussion about turning Game 5 on Thursday into a late-afternoon start and keep it away from the NFL as it reigns as a ratings juggernaut. The Eagles-Texans game will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. The World Series airs on Fox.

“For the World Series, an important consideration for us is having the biggest audience we can possibly get, and that’s a prime-time audience. That’s the reality,” Manfred said. “We think we have a great product that fans want to see. And we’re going to put the games on when it makes sense to play the games and hope to get a good audience.”

Major League Baseball opted to push the entire Fall Classic schedule back a day, meaning Games 6 and 7 in Houston will move from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday, if necessary. All games will start at 8:03 p.m. ET.

WEATHER OR NOT

The weather forecast looks good for Game 3 on Tuesday night, with clear skies and temperatures in the low 60s at Citizens Bank Park. It’s supposed to be fine for the rest of the games in Philly.

Inclement weather has intruded on previous World Series in Philadelphia.

In 2008, the Phillies had a 3-1 lead going into Game 5 at Citizens Bank Park. The Rays tied the score at 2 in the sixth inning on Oct. 27 when play was suspended with Philadelphia about to bat. The game began in light rain, but showers turned to a steady downpour and the field became a quagmire.

The Rays had to relocate to a hotel in Delaware because their room block only was reserved through that afternoon. Rain and snow showers didn’t let up the next day and play resumed on Oct. 29 after a 46-hour suspension. “God Bless America” was sung rather than “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

With fans bundled in parkas and blankets, Jayson Werth hit a run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth, Rocco Baldelli tied the score with a seventh-inning homer off Ryan Madson, and Pedro Feliz hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. The Phillies held on to win 4-3 for their second Series title and first since 1980.

The start of World Series games in Philadelphia were delayed by rain in 1993 against Toronto at Veterans Stadium and 2009 against the Yankees at Citizens Bank Park.

A PERFECT PLATE

Alex Bregman, Zack Wheeler and Yordan Alvarez were among those on the field who got attention in Game 2. Pat Hoberg wasn’t — and for an umpire, that’s always a good thing.

Hoberg called balls and strikes in Houston’s 5-2 win Saturday night and delivered a perfect plate performance, going 129 for 129 on taken pitches, according to the web site umpscorecards.com. The site tracks every pitch of the season and uses advanced methods to analyze them.

Hoberg is 36 and joined the full-time umpiring staff in 2017. It would usually take an ump much longer to get such a plumb World Series assignment, but he ranked as the best pitch caller in the majors this year among umps with at least 30 games behind the plate. Umpscorecards said he had a 95.4% accuracy rate going into his first World Series.

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