DETROIT The New York Yankees survived another day in the postseason, thanks to help Wednesday from Major League Baseball and Mother Nature.
MLB delayed the start of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series because of a threat of rain, and then postponed it a little more than an hour later because of a forecast of inclement weather.
A statement from MLB said the postponement was decided upon "in an effort to preserve the integrity of an uninterrupted full nine-inning game."
Rain finally began to fall almost two hours after the initial game time and was expected to last for some time. The forecast for today calls for a chance of rain.
The Detroit Tigers, who have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, will send Max Scherzer to the mound today at Comerica Park against the Yankees' CC Sabathia.
Game 5, if necessary, would be Friday in Detroit, the starting time undetermined.
The Yankees could have lost the services of their ace if the game began and later was postponed.
Under the initial series schedule, there was a chance Sabathia would pitch a potential Game 7 on three days' rest if the Yankees rallied. Now, he might be limited to one start and New York might need to win four games in four days to advance.
"You cannot think about Game 7 when you need to win a game," New York second baseman Robinson Cano said.
The managers were not available for comment afterward, so it's unknown if they will go with the same starting lineups they had for Wednesday. New York manager Joe Girardi had benched Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson. Rodriguez is 3 for 23 in this year's playoffs.
"I really feel in my heart, any time I'm in that lineup, the team is a better team, without question," Rodriguez said before batting practice.
Girardi was asked if Rodriguez was "shot" and couldn't be used.
"No, no, I don't think he is a shot player," he said. "He's a guy who's going through struggles, similar to what (Granderson) has gone through the last month and a half or whatever."
The decision to bench Rodriguez was Girardi's idea, but general manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees' brass backed him. With five years left on his contract, Rodriguez could make life difficult if he holds the postseason snub against Girardi. But Girardi made the gutsy call for the team, taking Rodriguez's brittle ego out of the equation.
"This is not something that is easy to do," Girardi said. "I think as a manager and as a team at this time you have got to think about today, and you think about today only. You look at Scherzer and how tough he has been on right-handers during the course of this season, and he has been tough on Alex."
Granderson, who is hitting .103 in the postseason (3 for 29), took his benching with more grace than Rodriguez.
"You do whatever you need to do to win," he said. "This isn't the first time we've made changes to the lineup. This isn't the first time I haven't played."
Granderson said the unplanned night off might help him and his slumping team.
"It's definitely not going to hurt," he said.
The Tigers are no strangers to rain in the playoffs. Last year, ace Justin Verlander had two starts cut short by bad weather although both were on the road.
"A lot of people were pretty upset that Verlander didn't get to finish his starts," Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. "So, I think people would be pretty upset if they didn't get to see Scherzer and Sabathia finish their starts as well. Major League Baseball is trying to protect not only the pitchers but also play a clean game."
After Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS at Texas was delayed twice for a total of 1 hour, 50 minutes, Game 2 was called off before the scheduled first pitch because of a forecast calling for more wet weather. Then, it didn't rain that night.
Jeter surgery Derek Jeter will have surgery on his broken left ankle Saturday, and the Yankees say the shortstop will need four to five months to recover to the point of being able to play in a game.
The timetable the team announced means Jeter likely would be ready to return sometime between the start of spring training in mid-February and late spring training in mid-March.