With the Phillies and most of their minor league clubs being in close proximity to where Hurricane Irene is predicted to hit, the schedules are already being shifted. The idea is to avoid playing on Sunday, when the storm is expected to be at its worst throughout the eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey regions.
The Phillies opened up what they hoped would be a weekend series with the Florida Marlins Friday night, but that series has now become just a single game, which the Marlins won 6-5. Initially, the two clubs would have played a day/night double-header Saturday, but the night edition of that double-header was officially wiped out late Friday. Irene started hitting the Philadelphia area earlier than expected and Saturday's afternoon game was also officially wiped out. The two clubs will play a double-header on September 15 to make up for one of the lost games and they'll try to work out another date to make up the other game lost to the hurricane. The Phillies will now be off until Monday night when they next play in Cincinnati.
The schedule changes will now give the Phillies a stretch of 33 games in 31 days.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs trail Pawtucket by 1.5 games in the International League North Division, and don't have the luxury of pushing up Sunday's game, since they play on the road Saturday night in Louisville. The earlier arrival of the storm did force the 'Pigs to pushing Sunday night's game back from 5:35 to 7:05, with hopes that the effects of Hurricane Irene will also be gone earlier than expected. The 'Pigs open their final homestand of the season Sunday against Syracuse with a two-game set against the Chiefs, meaning a Sunday rain-out would result in a Monday double-header for Lehigh Valley.
The Reading Phillies were going to play a day/night double-header on Saturday as well, but changed that to a straight double-header starting at 1:05. Reading is currently locked in a tie with New Britain for a spot in the Eastern League post-season.
In Lakewood, the BlueClaws are in even greater danger of severe weather over the weekend and figured that from the start they wouldn't have the opportunity to play two games on Saturday. The 'Claws plan was to move Saturday night's game up to 12:05 rather than the originally scheduled 7:05 and then push Sunday's game to 5:05 pm on Monday as part of a double-header. On Friday though, Lakewood changed plans and scrubbed any idea of playing on Saturday and will now play double-headers on Monday and Tuesday against Hickory.
Ironically, the team that is normally affected by hurricanes, the Clearwater Threshers, haven't had to make any schedule changes - yet. The Threshers wrapped up a series at home against Brevard County Thursday night and opened a four-game series at home against Lakeland Friday night. Lakeland is managed by former IronPigs manager Dave Huppert.
There also have not been any changes made to the schedule for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, who also play in Clearwater.
And finally, the Williamsport CrossCutters, located well west of the Philadelphia area will be on the road when the bad weather hits. Williamsport will be even a little further west as they travel to State College to play the Spikes. It's not likely that Williamsport will have fallout from Hurricane Irene.