ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Scouting is an important part of baseball, but it is not limited to what happens on the field.

Even before the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays played Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, Major League Baseball officials were monitoring the weather forecast for this weekend in Philadelphia.

Rain is expected today when the teams are scheduled to play Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park.

"We went over the forecast in our pre-series meeting with MLB," Phils assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Our latest reports are looking better."

First pitch is scheduled for 8:35 p.m.

Mike Boekholder, the Phils' head groundkeeper, has been in contact with MLB officials for several days.

"We're aware of the weather," said Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's senior vice president of baseball operations. "We've been getting updates every three hours for the past 24 hours. Obviously we want to play. We're hopeful that there will be no problem."

MLB gets specially prepared forecasts from WeatherBug for all its ballparks. The latest report, at 9 p.m. last night, called for rain to taper off by game time.

In the postseason, the commissioner's office, with executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon serving as the point man, makes the call on rainouts.

If there is a rainout tomorrow night, Game 3 would be pushed back to Sunday. Tickets for Game 3 would be honored for that game. A rainout could potentially cost the teams an off day on Tuesday.

MLB will do everything possible to get the game in, but historically has tried to avoid starting and stopping the game. That could cost a team a starting pitcher.

The last World Series rainout came in 2006 in Game 4 in St. Louis between the Cardinals and Tigers.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said it was premature to think about that possibility.

"What's today? Thursday?" Dubee said. "We're in St. Pete in Tropicana Field. That's all that we worry about. Why worry about something that might not happen?"

Contact staff writer Jim Salisbury at 215-854-4983 or jsalisbury@phillynews.com