- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers waited out another patch of rain in the AL championship series Wednesday, finally starting Game 4 after a delay of 2 hours, 13 minutes.

The game was supposed to begin at 4:19 p.m. EDT, but the rain didn’t let up until around 5:30. Fans then began filling the seats closest to the field and, about 20 minutes later, the grounds crew came out to remove the tarp.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, baseball officials kept an eye on the weather before Game 3 of the NL championship series between the Cardinals and Milwaukee.

“Their concern is they do not want the starting pitcher to start this game, and then pitch an inning or two and then have an hour-and-some delay,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “So they have brought in a bunch of people to look at the radar.”

Roenicke said officials will try to make a determination if the game will begin on time about a half-hour before the 8:05 p.m. start.

Game 1 of the ALCS at Texas was interrupted twice by rain, and Game 2 was postponed from Sunday to Monday.

Detroit’s playoff opener against the New York Yankees in the division series was also halted by rain and suspended for a day.

Tigers ace Justin Verlander has had two of his three starts this postseason ended by bad weather, including Game 1 against the Rangers. Verlander isn’t scheduled to pitch again until Game 5 on Thursday, but he was already anticipating more precipitation when asked about the forecast for his next start.

“I’m sure it involves rain,” he joked.

Wednesday’s rain delay didn’t affect Verlander. Manager Jim Leyland decided against bringing the right-hander back on three days’ rest for Game 4, starting Rick Porcello instead with the Tigers trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Verlander won 24 games during the regular season and also led the American League in ERA and strikeouts, but he hasn’t been as dominant in the playoffs.

“I think he’s a little tired. That’s why he’s not pitching today,” Leyland said. “He wants the ball. I admire that. But when I had a meeting with my coaches, we sat down and talked. We really, truly believed that this is the best way to go because we think this is the best thing for Justin Verlander, and in turn that means it’s the best thing for the team.”

Verlander said he told Leyland he would be ready to pitch Wednesday, but the manager didn’t take him up on the offer.

“I feel good,” Verlander said. “It’s just a matter of getting my mechanics right.”

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