By Joe Christensen
PHILADELPHIA — The clouds are breaking here at Citizens Bank Park, and while there’s a 20 percent chance of rain through the evening, according to weather.com, it does look like the Phillies and Rays will resume Game 5 tonight.
It’s already cold and windy out there, and the “Feels like” temps are expected to drop below freezing during the game.
(*) If the Phillies win, it will snap Philadelphia’s 25-year drought without a championship in any of the four major sports. Philadelphia’s last championship came with the 76ers in 1983. That’s been well-documented.
But did you know which four-sport markets have the next longest droughts? Both of them claimed their last championships in 1991.
Minnesota and Washington, D.C.
The Redskins defeated Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI and the Twins defeated Atlanta in the 1991 World Series. So technically Washington’s drought is longer.
(*) Armchair managers, let’s hear your predictions for how things start (or, I should say, resume) tonight.
It’s the bottom of the sixth inning. Grant Balfour is pitching for Tampa Bay. Cole Hamels is due up for Philadelphia.
I predict David Price will be warming in the bullpen for the Rays. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will send lefthanded hitting Geoff Jenkins to pinch-hit, but Rays manager Joe Maddon will stick with Balfour.
Balfour will face Jenkins, switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins and the right-handed hitting Jayson Werth. Then, we could see Price face Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
Listening to Maddon and Manuel at the pregame (in-game?) press conference, I gleaned the following: 1) Balfour will start the sixth for the Rays, 2) Ryan Madson will start the seventh for the Phillies, 3) Price will likely be a factor and Manuel expects to see him, 4) Maddon sounds hesitant to burn Price in the sixth because the pitcher’s spot is due up fourth for the Rays in the seventh.