The Houston Astros will have to wait at least another day to find out their opponent in the AL Championship Series.
Major League Baseball made the announcement just after 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday, adding that the decisive Game 5 now will be played Tuesday at 4:07 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.
Monday’s game was scheduled to begin at 7:07 p.m., but MLB initially announced at about 6:20 p.m. that the start was being delayed due to a forecast of rain. The league then called it off for good over two hours later.
Aaron Civale was scheduled to pitch for the Guardians against Jameson Taillon. But New York announced after the washout that All-Star Nestor Cortes will start on three days’ rest Tuesday. The left-hander started Game 2 and allowed two runs in five innings (92 pitches) but did not factor into the decision, as Cleveland won in extra innings.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona had said earlier Monday that Civale would start Game 5 even if it was pushed back a day.
Speaking after MLB’s announcement, Yankees manager Brian Cashman said there were multiple video calls throughout Monday night between the teams and the commissioner’s office as they weighed whether to play against the forecast, which initially looked like it would clear by 9 p.m. at the latest.
“We expected to play,” Cashman said. “It was supposed to be, not a window, it was supposed to clear. And then a new system popped up. We were actually wrestling with a first pitch time and then a new system popped up, with moderate rain, that’s going to hit us in another 25 minutes and now we couldn’t start it again. And now we had a new whole new weather system that was not in the forecast whatsoever. And that’s obviously what eventually took us down.
“Weather is tricky. It’s very unpredictable, but the full intention was an expectation every step of the way, was we were playing the game tonight. Both teams wanted to play tonight. And then unfortunately, weather took us down and it’s becoming more and more unpredictable.”
The grounds crew at Yankee Stadium covered the infield with the tarp just before 6:40 p.m. A steady rain started at 7:30 p.m.
Cleveland outfielder Myles Straw, who got into an angry confrontation with Yankees fans in April, exchanged football tosses with fans in the first and second decks during the delay, as did backup outfielder Will Brennan.
The center field video board showed split screen coverage of New York City’s 3-0 win over Miami in the MLS playoffs, the New York Rangers‘ game against the Anaheim Ducks and the Denver Broncos‘ matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.
Cleveland has been contending with inclement weather all season. The young Guardians were rained out nine times at home and had two more postponements on the road, one because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The rainout gives the Yankees a day to rest their banged-up and beleaguered bullpen. New York used Clay Holmes for 17 pitches and Wandy Peralta for seven on Sunday, a night after Peralta threw 27, Clarke Schmidt 12, Jonathan Loaisiga 15 and Lou Trivino seven. Peralta had pitched three straight days.
The Yankees are missing Chad Green, Scott Effross, Zack Britton, Michael King and Ron Marinaccio because of injuries, and Aroldis Chapman was left off the series roster after failing to show up for a mandatory Oct. 7 workout.
Cleveland has not used its top relievers since Friday, when All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase threw 33 pitches after Trevor Stephan tossed 21 and James Karinchak 29. The Guardians used Sam Hentges (31), Enyel De Los Santos (19) and Eli Morgan (12) on Saturday, and Morgan (23), Cody Morris (22) and Zach Plesac (11) on Saturday.
The ALCS is scheduled to begin Wednesday night in Houston, which swept the Mariners in the other ALDS. That series ended Saturday.
Cashman downplayed any idea that the winner of this series is at a disadvantage against the rested, 106-win Astros.
“I don’t want to speak for anybody, but I would generally think that no one’s going to feel anything other than joy if they have a chance to move on to continue their season,” the Yankees GM said. “I think everybody understands that it’s a difficult road going through this thing to navigate, and you’re never going to be at full strength or 100% or lined up the way you want it. But that’s the way postseason’s meant to be, right? You still have to find a way through it.”
Information from ESPN’s Marly Rivera and The Associated Press was used in this report.