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MLB: Options for schedule despite rain havoc

From ESPN - April 16, 2018

As Major League Baseball endures one of its worst runs of weather in more than three decades, the historically early start to the 2018 season might turn out to be a blessing.

Scheduled matchups between the Red Sox and Orioles in Boston and the Cubs and Cardinals in Chicago on Monday became the 22nd and 23rd games to be postponed because of inclement weather this season, and Monday night's game between the Blue Jays and Royals in Toronto is at risk because falling ice from the CN Tower has landed on the retractable roof at Rogers Centre.

Since MLB began keeping continuous track in 1986, the only season to endure more weather-related postponements in March and April was 2007, when 25 games were lost to inclement weather. With two weeks left in the month, MLB is on the verge of an ignominious meteorological standard.

The lone saving grace for baseball: The 2016 collective bargaining agreement increased the length of the season from 183 to 187 days to ease the physical burden on players. That extra wiggle room has allowed MLB's schedule-makers to plug in postponed games later in the season with a minimum of havoc and stress.

"The fact that we started the year earlier gives us more off-days throughout the year, so there are a lot more options for us to make days up this year," said Chris Marinak, MLB's executive vice president of strategy, technology and innovation. "Four days may seem small, but it's actually pretty significant. We are having many more options in terms of finding agreeable dates that work.

"As bad as it's been to have the number of games we have lost so far, I ca not think of a game we have lost where I am really concerned about the makeup date burdening a club or causing an issue. That's sort of the silver lining in what we have had so far."

Along with rain, sleet and snow, teams have had to play their way through a brutal stretch of cold weather. According to ESPN Stats & Information, a total of 22 games in the first three weeks have begun with a temperature below 40 degrees. That's already the most for an entire season since 2001.

The most controversial weather-related start came Saturday in Chicago, when the Braves and Chicago Cubs began their game at Wrigley Field with a temperature of 38 degrees and a wind chill of 28. The teams combined for 18 walks, four wild pitches, two hit batters and four errors before the Cubs prevailed, 14-10.

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