PHILADELPHIA -- Arguably the most unusual game in World Series history is set to resume at 8:37 p.m. this evening, with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay tied 2-2, and the most fascinating thing of all is that the tactical moves will begin immediately.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said just before batting practice Wednesday that Ryan Madson will "start" for Philadelphia. The first Phillies pitcher will take the mound in the top of the seventh inning.
Before that, Manuel is expected to pinch-hit for pitcher Cole Hamels, whose spot in the order is up first when the game resumes in the bottom of the sixth.
Reliever Grant Balfour is in the game for the Rays, and the big question will be whether Rays manager Joe Maddon will immediately go with left-hander David Price or allow Balfour to face what is expected to be a left-handed pinch-hitter for Hamels -- likely Geoff Jenkins, possibly Matt Stairs or Greg Dobbs.
If Maddon does go to Price, the danger is this: The pitcher's spot in the lineup is up fourth when Tampa Bay hits in the top of the seventh. With the Rays only getting three at-bats and the Phillies four (barring extra innings), Tampa Bay can ill afford to give up an out.
Another option, of course, if Maddon elects to start Price is to double-switch right out of the gate.
"I think we're going to find out real early," Manuel said of the Price question. "He came in against us in Florida, of course, and he went through our left-handed hitters twice, ... I figure that, evidently, they gained confidence in him there.
"And I think we're going to see him."
Tampa Bay's Maddon declined to divulge whether he will stay with Balfour or switch pitchers immediately. He also declined to say whether he would even have another pitcher warming up when the game resumes, so stay tuned.
In addition to Price, the Rays will have starter Andy Sonnanstine available.
"David threw about 40-some pitches his last time out," Maddon said. "He has not pitched as a starter in awhile. I'm a little concerned about how many pitches he can throw. I would say, comfortably, 50 to 60 would be within my mental range.
"Andy, I have to check with him but I believe he's going to be fine. I've already had Hick (pitching coach Jim Hickey) start that conversation with him, but I have not heard back yet. But I would say Andy is good for the same number."
As for Manuel's decision to start with Madson, even though it surely will be an odd feeling for the right-hander to be pitching so early and right off the bat, the manager said he thinks it will be fine.
"He's got experience and, a couple of years ago, he was a starter," Manuel said. "He's been throwing the ball real good. I think from a mindset (perspective), he also knows that we've just got actually three innings of baseball for our bullpen to pitch."
Never before has a World Series game been suspended like this. There have been 40 postponements in World Series history, 29 because of rain, one because of cold (1903) and the 10-day postponement following the San Francisco earthquake in 1989.
The weather here in Philadelphia is cold and windy. Game-time temperatures are expected to be somewhere between 42 and 44 degrees, with a wind chill in the 20s.