The World Series Game 6 is now set to go on Oct. 27 after a rainout the previous day. It appears that Bud Selig has learned his lesson from the last World Series rain delay, which made my Philadelphia Phillies wait two more days to clinch the 2008 title.
That controversial weather delay ultimately didn't alter the course of that series, but it is a potentially different story going into Game 6 this year. In fact, although the Texas Rangers have a 3-2 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, the perception seems to be that they will have little chance to clinch in a Game 7 thanks to the potential starters.
Because Game 6 was put off by a day, the World Series is now expected to swing in the Cardinals favor if they even things up at 3-3. That is because ace Chris Carpenter can now go on three days rest on Oct. 28 - even though the Phillies destroyed him when he pitched on three days rest on Oct. 2. However, the Cardinals will likely be too tempted to bring him back for a winner-take-all battle to care.
What's more, Ron Washington is still refusing to let the Rangers' best World Series pitcher start in a seventh game. Instead of keeping the option of letting Game 4 winner Derek Holland(notes) return on full rest against a less rested Carpenter, he continues to insist that Matt Harrison(notes), who was pounded in Game 3, would start instead. On the surface, that looks like the worst decision possible for the Rangers - and if Washington sticks to it, it makes it more likely that Game 7 would end badly for Texas.
Therefore, it seems like Game 6 is the Rangers' best opportunity to win the World Series - particularly since the Game 7 pitching matchup of Carpenter vs Harrison would far from favor Texas. So even though this next battle can end St. Louis's season, it is starting to feel more like an elimination game for the team that is still up by 3-2.
Of course, if the Rangers lose Game 6, Washington can always reverse himself and finally go with Holland. It could be that he remains insistent on Harrison because he doesn't want to look ahead to a Game 7 when he can still win it all in Game 6. And as long as the Rangers can still clinch right now, Washington isn't facing the full brunt of doubt and second-guessing for continuing to favor Harrison. But it will be a different story if St. Louis wins Game 6.
With all the speculation about Game 7, it is easy to forget that the World Series still has to get to Game 6. But while the Rangers are ahead and have Colby Lewis(notes) ready to go, it almost feels like a foregone conclusion that the Cardinals will win and force a big decision from Washington. And if it comes to that, Texas might still be an underdog even if Washington relents and goes with Holland, thanks to Carpenter and St. Louis's home-field advantage.
If the Rangers actually win the World Series Game 6, all of this talk about Game 7 pitchers will be a mere footnote. But if the Cardinals survive, they will go from being on the brink to being heavy favorites to win it all - or so the perception would become.
Would Washington then help add to it by sticking with Harrison, or make a more promising dent by bringing back Holland? This makes Game 6 feel even more like a Game 7, since a win would keep Washington from making such a controversial, career-defining decision.