The weather in the Bronx tonight did not cooperate for the opening game of a three game set between the Rangers and the Yankees. The game only lasted 6 innings giving C.C. Sabathia a complete game win to give him a 2-0 record in three games. At the same time C.J. Wilson took a complete game loss dropping his record to 0-1 after making his second start of the season.
The game was shortened to only six innings due to the weather, in turn robbing the Rangers of an opportunity to score more runs and win the game in the final three innings. In the MLB rule book, rule number 4.10c reads as such:
If a game is called, it is a regulation game:
(1) If five innings have been completed;
(2) If the home team has scored more runs in four or four and a fraction half-innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed half-innings;
(3) If the home team scores one or more runs in its half of the fifth inning to tie the score.
The entire MLB Rule book can be found here.
The Rangers were down 5-1 at the end of the sixth inning, so the game was qualified as a complete game and was called giving the Yankees the win which improved their record to 7-3 and the Rangers the loss which brought them back to .500 baseball with a 5-5 record.
Although the shortened game was disappointing for the Rangers, the reason for it makes sense. If a team is leading by after the five innings, chances are pretty good that they will finish the game with a win. The Yankees are outside of the Rangers division and they usually only make one trip to Yankee stadium every year.
If the game was unable to be completed while the Rangers were in town, they would probably have to play that game during a scheduled off day in the season. During the course of the season teams get 21 off days or 3 weeks. The season is 6 months long. So if they have to use an off day to make up a game they could end up playing 3 or 4 weeks straight with out an off day.
Then you have to take into consideration the cost of flying the team back to New York, and booking a hotel room for one night, because they will be either leaving after the game to go home or to another city. The stress of the short trip can be tough on a team, because they may fly in late the night before the game, fly out late the night of the game, giving two back to back days of arriving at their destination early in the morning.
All of these factors can affect a team greatly from a mental and physical standpoint and baseball is the most grueling sport in world considering its schedule. So even though its a lose, it could end up being a lose leading to more loses if the game had to be played a complete 9 innings sometime later on. One plus of this rule is that it does not apply to postseason play, postseason games will always be 9 innings, even if the game starts one day and finishes two days later such as the end of the 2008 world series between the Phillies and the Rays.