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Game 3 of Rox-Phils NLDS postponed

Game 3 of Rox-Phils NLDS postponed

DENVER -- Rocktober became a winter wonderland overnight, so Major League Baseball announced Saturday that Game 3 of the National League Division Series was postponed almost 12 hours before it was going to start.

With the series between the Rockies and Phillies tied at a game apiece, Game 3 has been rescheduled for Sunday at 10:07 p.m. ET/8:07 MT. Game 4 has been moved to Monday, with game time to be announced prior to the start of Sunday's contest.

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After the postponement, the Phillies announced a pitching change for Game 3. Left-hander J.A. Happ will start, replacing Pedro Martinez. He'll meet right-hander Jason Hammel.

Division Series
Gm. 1PHI 5, COL 1WrapVideo
Gm. 2COL 5, PHI 4WrapVideo
Gm. 3PHI 6, COL 5WrapVideo
Gm. 4PHI 5, COL 4WrapVideo

Snow began falling Friday night in the Denver metro area as the temperature dropped to 17 degrees in the Mile High City overnight, breaking the record low of 25 for the date, set in 1905. Coors Field was blanketed in snow by Saturday morning, and the white stuff came down into the afternoon, dissipating before nightfall. Since Coors Field is the only field in the Majors with an underground heating system, the snow might have been cleared away.

The cold is another matter, though.

Denver awoke to icy roads, multitudes of accidents on the highways and snow all around, with the updated forecast for the scheduled 7:37 p.m. MT game time calling for a temperature of 26 degrees -- which would have been by far the lowest for a postseason game in history. That distinction belongs to Game 4 of the 1997 World Series at Cleveland between the Indians and Marlins, with a game-time temperature of 35. The predicted high temperature for Denver on Saturday was 33, and indeed the temperature one hour before what would have been the first pitch was 27 degrees in downtown Denver, which actually was the high for the day.

In general, the Rockies and Phillies applauded the decision to push the game back to Sunday, when a high of 49 is predicted, though temperatures still figure to dip into the 30s at night.

POSTSEASON POSTPONEMENTS
Since Wild Card era began in 1995
Year Game Matchup
1996 ALCS, Gm. 1 BAL at NYY
WS, Gm. 1 ATL at NYY
2003 ALCS, Gm. 4 NYY at BOS
2004 ALCS, Gm. 3 NYY at BOS
2005 ALCS, Gm. 4 LAA at NYY
2006 ALDS, Gm. 2 DET at NYY
NLCS, Gm. 1 STL at NYM
NLCS, Gm. 5 NYM at STL
2008 WS, Gm. 5* TB at PHI
2009 NLDS, Gm. 3 PHI at COL
2009 ALCS, Gm. 6 LAA at NYY
*- Rain forced the suspension of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. The game was completed two days later.

"I tip my cap to Major League Baseball," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy, whose team evened the series with a 5-4 victory in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. "The conditions are not conducive to baseball, No. 1, and No. 2 it's not conducive for our fans who have loyally supported us all year long. Plus, when you look at the type of baseball that has been played in the series so far, I think it was a good decision. You don't really want to spend the whole offseason talking about a ball that fell because this person slipped."

The Phillies, whose World Series-clinching victory in Game 5 last year was split into two days after it was suspended in the sixth inning due to rain, were glad to see Saturday's game postponed in favor of better weather the next day.

"Hopefully, Game 5 last year kind of set the tone for future events like that," Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth said.

Added reliever Chad Durbin: "There's no need for a game of this type of importance to come down to 22-degree weather or a guy possibly getting injured or something like that. Hitting, running bases, fielding ground balls would have been tough. Anything athletic. Skiing up in the mountains is athletic, but to play baseball it's not conducive."

In an interview with FOXSports.com, Commissioner Bud Selig said it was a "no-brainer" to postpone the game, considering the circumstances.

"To play a game with temperatures below 30 degrees, that's silly," Selig told FOXSports.com. "When I heard the forecasts on Friday, I alerted all parties involved that there was a very strong possibility the game would be postponed. What happened overnight only reinforced the decision."

Selig said last year's World Series Game 5 convinced him to err on the side of caution by pushing the game back a day.

Fans with tickets for Game 3 will now be able to use them only for Sunday's game. Those fans with tickets for Game 4 will be able to use them for Monday's game. Game 5, if necessary, will still be played on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

The Rockies actually have played in colder conditions than the 1997 World Series game, which was played on Oct. 22 that year. The coldest game-time temperature in Rockies history was 28 degrees for when the Rockies met the then-Montreal Expos on April 12, 1997. Colorado won that game, 12-8.

More recently, a Rockies-Braves game was snowed out April 10, 2008, when 1.6 inches fell on the city.

Sunday's game-time temperature won't be ideal, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Thaler told the Associated Press.

"It's still not going to be a delightful time [Sunday] night," Thaler said. "Baseball is 70s and 80s and 90s weather. It's not going to be that. By the end of the game, it might be sneaking into the mid-to-upper 30s. You're still going to want to bundle up, but it will be warmer than today."

You didn't need to be a meteorologist to figure that out Saturday.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is no meteorologist.

"I think when I got up this morning kind of early I walked downstairs and I walked outside, it was pretty cold," Manuel said. "It was snowing. And somebody told me it was 17 degrees. And I thought to myself, 'Well, how much can it warm up today?' And the smart guy that I am, I said, 'Well, it's probably going to get to 20.' So I figured it might be a little bit too cold to play baseball."

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

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