MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — The way the Los Angeles Angels have begun this season, an unexpected break in the schedule might not be so bad.
The Angels had their series finale at Minnesota on Wednesday night postponed by a cold rain that was turning to snow, a decision made about 15 minutes before the scheduled start. The Twins said a makeup date had not been determined.
The Twins’ corporate communications manager, Chris Illes, said the team had been watching radar all day and didn’t see anything in the area until about 5 p.m. — that’s when they noticed the storm started to grow.
Some fans who drove as many as three hours to see the game at Target Field. They say they would’ve appreciated a heads up.
“We were actually on our way over, and everyone was, like, coming out…and I’m like, ‘Is the game cancelled? Are you kidding me?’ And this is probably one of the only games we’re going to make it to,” said Ona Smart, a Twins fan.
The Twins won the first two games of the series to drop the Angels to 4-10, matching the worst start in franchise history set in their inaugural season of 1961. They’ve never been 4-11 after 15 games, so after an already-planned day off on Thursday they’ll try to avoid that mark when they host the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
“It’s neither here nor there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said in the visiting office at Target Field after the game was called. “At some point you want to play, because you know you need to play to get where you want to be, but it is what it is.”
The temperature at the time of postponement was 38 degrees. After a gray-but-dry afternoon, the rain started during batting practice, a session the Angels cut short. Scioscia said the precipitation turned to sleet and snow while the players were hitting.
“There’s definite documentation of snow,” he said. “We took a sample.”
Both teams had expressed confidence they’d at least be able to get started, but the radar shifted as the start time drew nearer.
The forecast was calling for snow later Wednesday night and all day Thursday plus strong wind, so despite the mutual off day there was no consideration given to waiting another day. The Angels were planning to fly back to Southern California, weather permitting, as originally scheduled Wednesday night. Scioscia joked he’d run the de-icing machine himself if necessary to fly the plane home.
This was the second postponement in four days for the Twins. They had their game on Sunday afternoon against the New York Mets washed out by inclement weather, too, a blend of rain, sleet and snow that prompted the decision more than four hours before that game was to begin.
Over the three previous seasons at Target Field, the Twins had a total of five postponements, plus one suspended game completed the next day. They also had a pair of April postponements in 2011.
“Everybody wanted to try to figure out a way to play this, but it’s just not conducive. It’s just going to do that rain all night long,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s not going to be a good situation for either team because they’re going to have to fly back in here, but it’s just the way it is. You can’t control that stuff. You have to do what’s right for tonight, and starting out there in that rain and stuff with the field getting like it is is not good.”
There are five other common off dates for these teams:
— June 24: The Twins play at Cleveland the day before and Miami the day after. The Angels play at home the day before and at Detroit the day after.
— July 18: Both teams would have to sacrifice a day of their All-Star break. Both teams play at home the day after.
— Aug. 8: The Twins play at Kansas City the day before and at Chicago the day after. The Angels play at home the day before and at Cleveland the day after.
— Aug. 26: The Twins play at Cleveland the day before and at home the day after. The Angels play at Seattle the day before and at Tampa Bay the day after.
— Sept. 9: The Twins play at home the day before and the day after. The Angels play at home the day before and at Toronto the day after.
Whenever this game is made up, the Angels hope to be playing better. With the sixth-highest payroll in the majors, they’ve been a flop so far, and the biggest problem is starting pitching. Their collective 6.07 ERA is the worst in the majors.
After Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas struggled on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, the Angels have played 14 games with only one starter pitching into the seventh inning. Garrett Richards made it there last Saturday. The Angels have allowed 10 or more hits in half of their games.
Tommy Hanson was the scheduled starter Wednesday, and Scioscia said the right-hander will pitch against the Tigers on Friday on six days of rest. The Angels, missing ace Jered Weaver for at least another three weeks because of a broken bone in his non-throwing arm, will start Richards on Saturday and C.J. Wilson on Sunday.
Third baseman Alberto Callaspo could use the extra break. He has missed five straight games because of tightness in his right calf muscle, but the team has been hoping to keep him off the disabled list.
The Twins simply bumped their starters back, too, for the three-game series in Chicago starting Friday against the White Sox. Vance Worley, the scheduled starter Wednesday, will pitch Friday.
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