The delay started before the rain did. And no one in the Dodgers dugout seemed too pleased about it.
After just two innings at Progressive Field on Wednesday night, the Dodgers’ game against the Cleveland Guardians was delayed — and eventually suspended — because of rain.
The only problem: No rain fell until 28 minutes after the delay began, effectively wasting a start from Clayton Kershaw and forcing the Dodgers to play 16 innings Thursday — seven to complete Wednesday’s game, then the scheduled series finale.
“It was unfortunate,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I don’t want to get too much into how it was handled.”
The Dodgers were leading 3-1 on Wednesday night when Kershaw recorded a strikeout to end the bottom of the second inning.
As Kershaw and the Dodgers walked off the field, the Cleveland grounds crew suddenly stormed onto it, unrolling the tarp as umpires called for a delay.
Rain had been in forecast for Wednesday. Prior to the game, Roberts said the team was told that a delay could begin around 8:30, roughly an hour and a half after the first pitch.
Instead, in apparent anticipation of an approaching storm, the delay began at 7:46 — almost a half-hour before any rain actually fell.
For much of that wait, Dodgers players loitered in the dugout, wondering why they couldn’t try to complete as much of the game as possible.
“If we have an hour and a half, then we feel like we can get a good chunk of the game in,” Roberts said. “But yeah, we didn’t expect a 7:40 stop.”
The biggest consequence was Kershaw’s wasted start.
The left-hander looked sharp early on, bouncing back from a first-inning home run by José Ramirez to strike out four batters through two innings. When the game was called, Kershaw had thrown only 33 pitches.
“Obviously he was disappointed, because he was working through some things,” Roberts said. “I’m sure their guy is disappointed too. But it was out of our control.”
While Roberts acknowledged it would have been “very optimistic” for the Dodgers and Guardians to complete five innings before rain started to fall at 8:16 — games can become official if five innings are completed — the manager believed they could have gotten at least another inning or two from Kershaw.
“We could have got through four, considering the pace of play and the way the game was going,” Roberts said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t my decision. I wish we could have kept playing until we saw some rain drops.”
Instead, the Dodgers will have to piece together seven innings from their bullpen in Thursday’s first game, which will resume at 9:10 a.m. Pacific.
Ryan Pepiot will be added to the active roster to pitch the bulk innings of Thursday's second game, Roberts said, but could follow a left-handed opener.
Kershaw, meanwhile, likely won’t see the mound again until next Tuesday, according to Roberts. The Dodgers do have an opening in their rotation for Sunday’s road trip finale in Boston, but Roberts said it’s unlikely that Kershaw, who threw an extra inning in the bullpen at the start of the rain delay, would start on only three days' rest.
Pitching injury updates
While right-handed reliever Blake Treinen (shoulder) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with triple-A Oklahoma City this week, Roberts called it a “long shot” that Treinen will rejoin the club this season.
“I hope it works out,” Roberts said. “I hope he can come out of it and get a few under his belt and join us. But it’s still the shoulder, and when you’re talking about the shoulder, it always seems to be a long shot.”
Meanwhile, Walker Buehler (Tommy John recovery) is continuing to throw one-inning simulated games against hitters, Roberts said. His timeline for beginning a rehab assignment remains unclear.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.