When the week begins, Munster baseball coach Bob Shinkan assigns his pitchers games, not days.
He knows that the days might not matter, with rain – or snow – postponing and moving games.
So he'll assign the first pitcher Game 1 of the Northwest Crossroads Conference schedule, the next pitcher Game 2 and leave the third as a reliever just in case.
A perfect case came this week against Griffith. Sam Bell pitched the Mustangs through the top of the fourth inning when the sky opened up. The game was eventually called and the two teams started over the next day.
But Bell was lost as a pitcher, even though NCC rules mandate that the teams would still play two games.
"He was done and we still had two games to go this week," Shinkan said. "My second pitcher this week was Conner Manous and (Jonathan) Azar was my reliever. So Azar goes (Thursday). If Azar had to come in relief (Wednesday) then I would have gone with the next pitcher in line that probably otherwise would have been a reliever in a conference game. If we play, and Azar doesn't go a complete game, I have two different guys in mind on who to have in relief."
With the rain also come delays in pitching rotations for area baseball teams. A perfect plan doesn't always follow intent. Thursday's Munster game against Griffith was postponed to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Teams with deeper pitching staffs have the greatest advantage because they are able to adjust faster to cancellations, delays and postponements.
At Class 2A Whiting, coach Kevin Lenz allows his staff to pick specific games they'd like to throw and then arranges a pitching schedule during the week.
"I arranged my rotation to fit, taking into account who had pitched in last Saturday's (doubleheader) and whose "turn" it was," Lenz said. "With the rain this week, we have had to adjust, possibly skipping the next guy up, to accommodate my top pitchers."
Crown Point has been able to get most of its games in, but even lost a pitcher last week when a game against Lake Central was started but not completed until two days later.
With eight games in eight days (including a doubleheader), the Bulldogs staff was kept on a tight leash.
"We usually schedule by days, but there are exceptions," C.P. coach Steve Strayer said. "We are blessed with a deep staff, so we have handled it well so far. Last week was pretty stressful because we played eight games in eight days."
Some of those exceptions include injured or tired arms, the pitcher's previous performance and which teams are on the docket. He said that he wouldn't put a fastball-heavy pitcher against a team that has hit the pitch well all season.
Like Munster, Griffith is focused on playing the games as they come.
Coach Brian Jennings doesn't want to over-plan knowing that a game might not even be played. With rain in the forecast three of the next 10 days, there are no guaranteed game days.
"We just try to worry about it one day at a time," Jennings said. "I try to have the approach that we have conference pitchers who are starters and non-conference starters who start weekend and other non-conference games, and use my conference starters as relievers.
"It just comes down to we worry about the day and not the future because in the end, we may not play tomorrow anyhow."
There are pitchers on staffs, however, that sit because nonconference games are moved or cancelled outright.
Shinkan said that while he's happy with the depth of his staff, some pitchers have had to be patient to wait for their innings of work.
"Grant Rademacher is 2-0 with a 0.0 ERA, but I haven't been able to pitch him recently," Shinkan said. "Trevor Brooks came in relief at Lake Central (on April 8) and I haven't been able to get him back in."
With the start of the sectional games a month away, letting pitchers put some time in is weighing on many teams.
"I feel most teams will get effected within the next couple weeks with packing in conference games, but most of ours have been played," Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said. "We have responded well with playing so many games so far in a short period. We are getting close to the point to start lining up our sectional rotation and working backwards from the end of May."