Players prepared for windy, cold Game 4
Forecast calls for 17-mph wind blowing out to right field
DETROIT -- Much has been made about the chilly, blustery conditions in Detroit during the World Series. To the players, the matter is a bit overblown.
The Tigers are hoping to storm back with a historic World Series resurgence, but they'll have to attempt such a feat amid the widespread wrath of Hurricane Sandy. No team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the Fall Classic, and 20 of the 23 clubs succumbed to a four-game sweep.
The Giants and Tigers already adjusted to a 15-degree drop in game-time temperature when the Series shifted from San Francisco to Detroit. Sunday's forecast brings a hearty, 17-mph wind, with gusts approaching 27 mph, blowing out to right field.
"We play in San Francisco," said Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. "It's pretty cold and windy out there. We know it's the same for everybody out there. It's cold for everybody out there. You know, we don't think about it a whole lot. We get used to it."
The direction of the wind could benefit left-handed sluggers adept at pulling the ball, such as Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder or San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
For pitchers, however, perhaps nothing trumps the significance of comfort on the mound, which can be more difficult to attain in frigid weather. The brisk conditions -- according to weather.com, the wind will make Sunday's first-pitch temperature of 45 degrees feel more like 38 degrees -- can hinder a hurler's ability to find a rhythm while warming up each inning.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander said that unless the temperature dips to 25 degrees, he envisions pitching in short sleeves on Monday night should Detroit force a Game 5. Monday's forecast calls for a first-pitch temperature of 42 degrees, with a wind chill of 32 degrees.
"It just makes it a little bit harder to warm up between innings," Verlander said. "The first couple pitches of the inning are a little bit more difficult. But in these big stages you have a little bit longer between innings, too. We've got almost three minutes in between innings, so if I wanted to get out there in a hurry, I could probably throw 12 pitches if I wanted to, so that might be something I could do."
Gray skies, forceful wind and bitter temperatures might not form ideal conditions for a critical baseball game, but the players know they are simply at Mother Nature's mercy.
"We're used to playing in some chilly weather in San Francisco," Giants Game 4 starter Matt Cain said. "It's a little bit cooler temperature wise, but cold is cold. You kind of just have to get through it."