Previewing World Series Game 5.5
Though Hamels is still technically the active Phillies pitcher in this suspended Game 5, he won't participate in the resumed game, no matter when it's played. That saves Philadelphia manager
Yet, Maddon could have an ace up his sleeve in
The one problem with the Price plan is that the pitcher's spot is due up fourth for the Rays in the top of the seventh, and Maddon is not about to double-switch with any of his top five hitters. Giving Price the "start" when the game resumes would require Maddon to value having Price pitch multiple innings over having a pinch-hitter bat either in the seventh or possibly even leading off the eighth. His other option would be to leave Balfour in the game, or replace him with a short-relief lefty, pinch-hit when the pitcher's spot next comes due, and then put Price in the game. It's tricky business with very little room for error given that a quick Phillies run could put the Rays just a handful of outs from elimination.
On the other side, Manuel has it pretty easy. It's a no-brainer to pinch-hit for Hamels to restart the game, and the top of the order will follow. If the Phillies get a lead, he can go straight to relief aces
The Phillies' ability to get that quick run is now once again in doubt as their struggles with men on base returned last night. They loaded the bases in both the first and fourth innings against Rays starter
The suspension of this game represents an opportunity for the Rays, a team that didn't seem to have much hope left heading into last night's game. Suddenly they have the opportunity to steal a win and push the Series back to Florida without having to face Hamels, creating a major shift in momentum in the process. The Phillies could be World Champions three innings after Game 5 resumes, but it suddenly seems just as likely that these two teams will still be playing on Thursday in Florida.