ATLANTA (AP) — The weather has been a stormy issue in the Atlanta Braves’ first season at their new suburban stadium.
Rain claimed another game Tuesday night — the second postponement in the brief history of SunTrust Park.
After waiting nearly 2 1/2 hours in hopes of starting an interleague contest against the playoff-contending Texas Rangers, the Braves finally called it off around 10 p.m. EDT.
By then, most fans had already headed for home, leaving only a few hundred people in the 41,000-seat stadium.
A day-night doubleheader will be held Wednesday, with the first game beginning at 1:35 p.m. ahead of the regularly scheduled contest at 7:35 p.m.
The pitching matchups will remain the same: Braves rookie Luiz Gohara making his big league debut against Texas newcomer Miguel Gonzalez (7-10) in the opener, followed by Cole Hamels (9-2) of the Rangers vs. Atlanta’s Julio Teheran (9-11) in the nightcap.
This was the 12th game affected by inclement weather in Atlanta’s 67 home games. The first postponement came during a May 4 game against the New York Mets , leading to a doubleheader the following month.
Another game against the Pittsburgh Pirates ended at nearly 2 a.m. following a stoppage of more than three hours .
By comparison, the first rainout at Turner Field — the Braves’ former home about 12 miles away near downtown Atlanta — did not occur until the sixth of 20 seasons in that ballpark.
The Braves called up Gohara, a 21-year-old Brazilian who began the season in Class A, to pitch the second game of the series.
Now, the heralded left-hander will have to wait a few hours longer — part of a six-man rotation that gives the Braves, long out of playoff contention, a chance to get a look at several of their top prospects heading into 2019.
Another youngster, Lucas Sims, was shifted to the bullpen to make room for Gohara in the expanded rotation.
“Going forward next year, we don’t know where these guys might fit,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We look at them all as starters, but it’s a situation where if we can better our team by having one of the young guys in the bullpen pitching out of there and getting experience, then that’s the way we’re going to go.”
The hard-throwing Gohara started the year in the Florida State League but quickly moved up the ranks, also pitching at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett before getting the call to the big leagues. Overall, he was 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in the minors.
While the Braves are looking ahead, the Rangers are focused firmly on this season.
Without playing, they climbed within 1 1/2 games of an AL wild-card spot when Minnesota lost 2-1 at Tampa Bay.
Gonzales will be making his first start for the Rangers since being acquired from the White Sox in a trade last week for infielder Ti’Quan Forbes.
The right-hander had 22 starts for Chicago, winning three of his last four decisions before the deal.
A line of severe storms moved over SunTrust Park about the time of the scheduled first pitch. Officials knew all along it would be a lengthy delay under the best of circumstances, given the massive line of storms moving in from the northwest, but held out hope the system would clear out in time to get the game in.
This is the Rangers’ only appearance in Atlanta and both teams wanted to avoid a doubleheader on the final day of the series — essentially the only option for making the game up.
The tarp never came off the field, however.
So, let’s play two.
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