Temp at game time could set postseason record

DENVER: The Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies bundled up Sunday night for Game 3 of the NL playoffs, wearing stocking caps, gloves and thick, hooded sweat shirts while taking batting practice in the biting cold.

The forecast called for a temperature of 33 degrees at first pitch, which would break the record for the coldest postseason game.

That distinction, for now, belongs to Cleveland and Florida, who played Game 4 of the 1997 World Series in 35-degree weather.

It could be worse at least the snow flurries and icy mist have cleared out.

The snowstorm that blew through the Mile High City on Saturday brought bone-chilling temperatures and led to the Phillies and Rockies getting postponed. The series is tied at one game each.

"There's no precipitation, just a cold and damp feeling," said Carl Burroughs, a hydrometeorological technician with the National Weather Service.

By game's end, the temperature could plummet into the mid 20s.

Good thing the dugouts are heated. At least, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hoped his team had that same luxury as the Rockies.

"As far as warmers in the dugout, Rockies got 'em, we better have 'em," Manuel said, grinning.

They do, and extra heaters, too.

Still, Manuel didn't think the cool conditions would be much of a factor once the game gets started.

"A player might say something about his ears being cold," Manuel said. "But most of the time they'll stay pretty warm once they get into it."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy thinks the chilly weather favors the starting pitchers, Philly lefty J.A. Happ and Jason Hammel of Colorado.

"Hitting in very, very cold weather, that's not the easiest thing in the world to do," Tracy said. "In this type of weather, it makes it a little more difficult to hit, believe me."

For a batter, connecting with a pitch off the wrong part of the bat can lead to hurting hands for innings to come.

"The thing is staying warm, keep your hands warm," Phillies slugger Ryan Howard said Friday. "Try to put the barrel of the bat on the ball. If you don't get it on the barrel, it really stings."

Mostly, battling the elements boils down to a state of mind. That's the take of left-hander Cliff Lee, who will start Game 4 on Monday when the temperatures could be just as cool.

"I don't want to go into it saying, 'Oh, it's so cold, blah, blah, blah,'" Lee said. "I don't care if it's 120 or 20-below, we're both playing with the same elements. It's equal for us. It's equal for them ... Everybody's playing with the same elements."

Just have a plan to deal with the cold, Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs recommended.

"Stay loose, drink some water and sit by the heater when you're not playing," he said.