A general view of the exterior of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The playoff-chasing Texas Rangers are trying to beat the rain.
The Rangers and Los Angeles Angels will be up early Saturday after the starting time for the third game of their series was moved up eight hours to 11:05 a.m. CDT. That would be the earliest start in the 20-season history over Rangers Ballpark, an hour earlier than any other game.
Saturday's forecast called for moderate showers and thunderstorms in the area by early Saturday afternoon and increasing in intensity throughout the day. The game had been scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
"Wake-up call early," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I know they're expecting rain, so we've got to do what we have to do to make sure we get the game in. I certainly don't want to play a doubleheader on Sunday."
Major League Baseball and the Angels had to agree to the time switch.
"We would do what we had to do," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The integrity of the season is important."
Texas is still in the hunt for a wild-card spot and this is the last weekend of the regular season, so all 162 regular-season games need to be played. Saturday's game is No. 161 for both the Rangers and Angels.
The Rangers would like to avoid the possibility of a doubleheader Sunday to end the regular season since there is still a chance of having to play a wild-card tiebreaker game Monday.
There have been several noon starts at Rangers Ballpark, including postseason games. The earliest start came just weeks ago, at 12:06 p.m. for a game against the Oakland Athletics which came following a 4-hour, 9-minute game the night before that was one of the longest nine-inning games ever played there.
Derek Holland, the scheduled Rangers starter Saturday, said he found out about the time change on Twitter earlier before getting to the ballpark Friday.
"It is early, but it is what it is," Holland said. "I'll treat it like a day game. I'm not going to do anything different really."
Holland wanted to be with his teammates as much as possible, but said he would be leaving the Ballpark before the end of Friday night's game to stay on his "normal routine of food and everything."
Scioscia said the Angels also planned to send Garrett Richards back to the team hotel early Friday.
Tickets for Saturday night's game will be good only for admission to the 11:05 a.m. game. The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington parking lots will open at 9:00 a.m. with the Ballpark gates opening at 9:30 a.m.