A day later a few things have become clearer as the mist clears from the Fox TV cameras. Yes, the Phils were robbed of an abbreviated clincher. Yes, the culprit was Bud Selig. Commissioner Bud couldn't cotton to a world champion muddily celebrating after a umpire's signal rather than after a Tug McGraw-esque ninth inning-two out strikeout. So who cares about the rule book anyway?
Selig may have come to this decision before the game as he claims, but if so, he should have informed the players and media, who would have in turn alerted the fans when the situation became a reality.
Also, Selig should have suspended it earlier, clearly by the end of the fifth if not earlier (maybe after the Rollins lazy fly-cum-egregious error). If he is going to ignore the rules, why did they have to orchestrate the tie before suspending the game? They should have suspended after five with the Phils leading 2-1. Waiting for the tie calls into question Selig's supposed higher motives to avoid an abbreviated clincher.
The initial reaction by Phils fans was to bemoan the apparent loss of Cole Hamels for apparently the remainder of the Series unless MLB keeps the travel day between the completion of game five and the start of game 6 in Tampa (which is currently TBD).
But the news is not all bad. Of course, the Phils get one additional half-inning of offense in the resumed game: they lead off and get last ups.
The leadoff hitter will be Cole Hamels' spot meaning a pinch-hitter, and the Phils have a wide-range of options. Maddon, if he's smart, and given his moves so far in the World Series that is hardly a certainty, will send back out righty Grant Balfour to "start" the resumed game. The Phils will most likely counter with a lefty bat. Given Manuel's moves yet far, I would think Matt Stairs will get tabbed. He prefers to save Dobbs and Stairs can regain the lead with one swing. Of course, that will bring lefty J.P. Howell to the mound and then a right-handed bat for the Phils.
Manuel may just avoid the whole mess and go with a righty bat from the start, probably So Taguchi, who could set up the top of the lineup if he gets on and who was a better hitter (and was a better hitter vs. righties this year)though he is likely a wasted AB. But they do get to pick the matchup they prefer and get to keep the extra lefty bat for later.
The Phils also do not have to announce their "starter", again if they are smart. Hamels should be their pitcher until they pinch-hit for him, and a new pitcher does not have to be announced until the start of the seventh. I am thinking they will go with Chad Durbin (or dare I say, J.A. Happ?) unless they grab a lead in the bottom of the sixth, in which case, they might try to cover the last three innings with Madson and Lidge.
So unless Bud decides to add a new home team must swig a beer at each base rule, the Phils have a clear advantage going into the resumed game. Let's hope they put the Rays away. The Cubs have the curse of Bartman, but the Phils do not need to be handcuffed with the curse of Bud-man.