Will the open roof at Globe Life Field again produce an ill wind for the Dodgers?
The roof opened and the winds came swirling in, giving Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night a new set of natural elements with which to contend.
But the obstacles the wind created early on left some players frustrated.
“I don’t know what the weather was doing last night,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “On the field you couldn’t tell if the wind was blowing in or out or across. Whatever happens [tonight], that’s out of our control.”
Globe Life Field’s Twitter account announced four hours before Friday’s game that the retractable roof atop the newly built $1.2 billion stadium will again be open. If the conditions are anything like Thursday night, it could have an affect on the Dodgers’ elimination game.
According to Weather.com, wind conditions in Arlington should be milder Friday. Its forecast predicts a breeze of less than 10 mph by the 6 p.m. PDT first pitch, similar to the first six open-roof playoff games held at the Texas Rangers’ home ballpark this month.
Thursday, however, began with a recorded wind speed of 15 mph. Players’ jerseys were flapping as though a fan had been turned on behind them. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman’s contact lenses appeared to dry out during his first at-bat, requiring him to wear glasses when he took the field the next half-inning. Atlanta center fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. also put on eyewear mid-game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts isn’t worried about having Dustin May, a rookie, pitch in Game 5 of the NLCS with the team on the brink of elimination.
“It tears you up,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “But after they’re out there they got used to it. You deal with the elements and go from there because there’s really nothing good about it. It’s not the first time we’ve played wind and things like that. So, you know, it kind of didn’t bother them after they got settled in.”
Braves rookie Bryse Wilson noted the breeze influenced his pitches in the early innings.
“The first, second inning was definitely an adjustment period mostly on my breaking balls,” he said. “Just because the wind was definitely pushing them a little bit more. So I had to adjust the release point. But once we got used to that and got adjusted to that, it was smooth sailing.”
With the Dodgers playing not too far away from where Clayton Kershaw grew up, it gives them a chance to see the Dodgers pitcher in the playoffs.
Dodgers veteran Clayton Kershaw didn’t notice that level of impact, but wondered why the roof stayed open the whole game.
“If you have a roof I don’t know why [you wouldn’t] close it,” he said. “I understand the COVID pandemic and all that. I don’t know if wind is any worse for it, but it seemed like it was crazy enough to where they might have wanted to close the roof, but it didn’t affect me much.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said plate umpire Cory Blaser was having trouble seeing pitches with his contact lenses and wondered if some of the Dodgers’ long fly outs would have otherwise cleared the wall.
“It was really windy,” Roberts said. “But there’s certainly no excuse there.”
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