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10/28/08 11:17 AM EST

MLB monitoring weather forecast

Resumption of Game 5 between Rays, Phillies uncertain

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies and Rays will know what to do when they cross the white lines and resume Game 5 of the World Series. They just are not completely sure when they'll be permitted to do so.

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Major League Baseball planned to examine the weather forecast for resuming the suspended contest as the first order of business on Tuesday, determining if baseball can be played during the evening at Citizens Bank Park.

Early afternoon approached presenting overcast skies, continuing precipitation and medium winds on a gray day in Philadelphia.

"We have to watch the weather. It just is tricky," Commissioner Bud Selig said on Monday night after the Rays and Phillies suspended play in the sixth inning. "The thing that's been so difficult is that the weather, it just keeps changing. It changed during the game. Obviously, we're very sensitive to that, and we'll bend over backwards to be sensitive to the Philly fans, who have been tremendous."

Commissioner Bud Selig cited rule 4.12a, section 6, in explaining the suspension of Game 5. According to the rule, "a game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date" for a number of reasons, with section 6 specifying "a regulation game that is called with the score tied."

In this scenario, the rule (4.12c) for suspended games is enacted: "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup."

Prior to the introduction of this rule following the 2006 season, the suspended game would have reverted back to the beginning of the inning, with the Phillies leading 2-1, since Philadelphia did not bat in the bottom of the inning. But that is no longer the case and therefore Game 5 will resume with the score tied at 2.

Weather.com, the Web site of The Weather Channel, called for it to be windy with rain showers early on Tuesday, turning partly cloudy overnight. An hour-by-hour breakdown predicts showers and wind at 8 p.m. ET, when the potential resumption would occur. With temperatures at 29 degrees and a 50 percent chance of precipitation for first pitch, the chance of precipitation drops to 40 percent at 9 p.m. and drops to 30 percent an hour later.

Weatherbug, which provides weather updates to MLB, said that a 100 percent chance of precipitation all day will taper into 40 percent at 8 p.m., with temperatures in the low-40s and high-30s.

The National Weather Service is calling for "a chance of showers," mainly before 1 a.m., with cloudy skies and a low around 35 degrees. The forecast chance of precipitation is 40 percent and new rainfall amounts of less than one-tenth of an inch are possible.

Accuweather predicts evening rain or a snow shower in spots of Philadelphia; otherwise, it will be mostly cloudy, windy and cold, with winds out of the west at 22 mph. Rain is expected to clear by 9 p.m.

Ultimately, the decision on when and whether to play remains in the hands of Selig. During the regular season, pregame postponements are controlled by the home club, and then after a game begins, by the umpires. Selig makes those decisions during the World Series, and he said he made the ruling to start Game 5 with some trepidation.

Up to this point, there had never been a rain-shortened game in Series history, and this was the first suspension.

"I had a nagging fear, because these forecasts have changed so much," Selig said. "I don't want to speculate now; we'll see what happens. But we're not going to resume until we have decent weather conditions."

Game 3 of the World Series, played Saturday evening, was delayed one hour and 31 minutes by rain. The Phillies and Rays played uninterrupted after the delay, with Philadelphia winning, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth on Carlos Ruiz's bases-loaded infield hit.

The field at Citizens Bank Park is playable in a steady rain. The system in place allows the grass to drain and a sand-like substance is used to keep the dirt portion of the infield from saturating. As a backup, the system is equipped with a vacuum that pumps tons of water out of the drainage pipes.

Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would take place in the domed confines of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.