The game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday evening was suspended in the middle of the fourth inning due to thunderstorms in Buffalo. The Blue Jays were trailing the Rays 1–0 with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. due up—and that the game is scheduled to resume at that exact point at 1:07 pm Eastern on Saturday.
The plan is that two teams will complete the suspended game through nine (or more) innings. They will then take a 30-minute break before they play Sunday’s scheduled game, which will be seven innings long under Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 rules. With that said, forecasts show that there is a 90% chance of rain every hour between 3 and 9 pm in Buffalo.
Both the Rays and the Jays are also able to call up an extra player, who will only be eligible for the second game on Sunday. That extra player must be on the 40-man roster but need not have spent the usual minimum 10 days on an optional (or outright) assignment.
Manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters that Thomas Hatch will be pitching the top of the fifth inning of the resumed game. The seven-inning game that will follow is expected to feature starters Matt Shoemaker from the Blue Jays and Yonny Chirinos from the Rays. Chirinos will have to be activated prior to game 2.
Home field delays are a rarity for the Blue Jays since they moved out of Exhibition Stadium and into SkyDome / Rogers Centre. Saturday’s one-hour-and-57-minute delay was by far the longest rain delay since 1989. Their previous delay at home was a 26-minute affair on July 26, 2003 when a sudden storm in Toronto poured through the open dome when the Jays were playing against the White Sox.
The longest delay since 1989 was a 35 minutes, when thousands of gnats descended on to field level on August 27, 1990 in a game against the Brewers. The longest home rain delay in Blue Jays history was three hours and 34 minutes when they hosted Cleveland on August 2, 1987.
Only five suspended games (including this one) have been played in Blue Jays franchise history. The last one played was against the Orioles in Baltimore on July 23, 2008. The game was suspended in the 7th inning with the Blue Jays leading 2–1 and was resumed the next day with Toronto winning 5–1.
The last time the Blue Jays played a suspended game at home was all the way back on August 28, 1980 against the Twins. The game was in the 14th inning when it reached 5 pm and the game was suspended because of the Canadian National Exhibition. The CNE used Exhibition Stadium as a concert venue and The Cars was playing that night as part of their Panorama tour.
Blue Jays first baseman Otto Velez was in the passenger seat of a friend on the Twins and fractured his cheekbone in a collision with a car that ran a red light (Toronto drivers, am I right?). Because the Jays had already used their entire bench, Garth Iorg, who was in left field, was brought into play first and Dave Stieb was placed in left field. Stieb then started the second game that day and threw 8.2 innings in a losing effort.
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