10/12/2003 9:30 PM ET
Rain clouds may hold silver lining
Extra day of rest allows Lowe to start at Fenway Park
Wakefield eyes repeat performance
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The pouring rain and gloomy conditions at Fenway Park on Sunday night hid what was quite possibly a very positive development for the Red Sox.
The postponement means that Sox right-hander Derek Lowe will likely be able to pitch a game at Fenway Park after all, as he could go in Game 5, now scheduled to be played Tuesday.
In addition, veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield -- who mastered the Yankees in a Game 1 victory -- will start Game 4 in place of John Burkett.
As for Lowe, he is likely to get the nod in Game 5, which would push Burkett back to Game 6 (if necessary).
If the series goes to Game 7, it would still be Pedro Martinez against Roger Clemens in a rematch of their memorable Game 3 duel.
Lowe, who took the loss in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium, has been a far superior pitcher at Fenway Park this season than on the road. During the regular season, Lowe was 11-2 at home with a 3.21 ERA. On the road, he was 6-5 with a 6.11 ERA.
Red Sox manager Grady Little is currently listing Game 5 and 6 starters as "TBA," but Burkett may have accidentally let the cat out of the bag.
"He told me (that) Wake, then Derek Lowe and then myself in Game 6," said Burkett. "At least I'll get an opportunity again if we can get to Game 6. I was definitely looking forward to (Sunday night). I was getting fired up, ready to go."
Little said that the outcome of Game 4 won't have a bearing on his Game 5 starter. Instead, it will simply be a matter of how Lowe feels Monday.
Lowe has had a heavy workload in the postseason, pitching twice in relief during the five-game Division Series against Oakland in addition to a start. Then, just three days after saving Game 5 of the ALDS, he took the ball against the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALCS.
But Little sensed that Lowe would be ready whenever duty calls.
"I think he'll be fine," Little said.
The way momentum switched back to the Yankees with their victories in Games 2 and 3, the rainout might have been just what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox.
"I'm real happy about this day off," said center fielder Johnny Damon, who has played just one game since suffering a concussion last Monday in Oakland. "It gives me another day off to rest (and) it gives us some options with our rotation."
Burkett took the news in stride.
"It's over. You go home, have dinner and watch a football game, I guess," the 38-year-old righty said. "It won't affect me later on, but I definitely wanted to pitch tonight. That's what I'm here for."
Now Wakefield gets to step up a game ahead of schedule, albeit on his regular day.
"Tim is coming off that good game in Game 1 (and) he's on his normal rest, so we're going to send him out there again," Little said.
The Yankees changed their plans as well.
Mike Mussina, originally slated for Game 5, will move up a day and pitch against Wakefield for the second time in the series.
David Wells, who was going to face Burkett in Game 4, will be bumped to Tuesday afternoon's Game 5.
Andy Pettitte, as was already scheduled, will go in a potential Game 6 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
Though the rain tapered off within an hour of when Sunday's game was scheduled to start, the field was in rough shape after the wet weather all day long.
"The only way that this has any affect at all is that (Monday's) conditions will be much better," Little said. "It will be sunny outside, and it will be less likely for any field conditions to determine the outcome of any game. It was as bad as I've seen it, and we all know how slowly the (Fenway) field drains. Tomorrow, it will just be better to play a baseball game. The forecast is much better (and) the field won't be in the shape it's in now."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.