CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 08: The scoreboard alerts fans that the game between the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs has been postponed because of rain on August 8, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
• Wrigley Field Rain Delay Top 3:
3. Nats vs Cubs: The Washington Nationals are 9-9 against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field since relocating to the nation's capital in 2005. Tonight's starter, Chien-Ming Wang, has never pitched in the 98-year-old park which the Cubs have called home since 1916. Chicago's starter Matt Garza got knocked out in 2.0 innings in his one start so far against the Nationals as a member of the Cubs' staff. It was the right-hander's shortest start of the season in his first year in the NL Central after the Cubs acquired the 27-year-old, then-5-year MLB veteran from the Rays this winter after the Nats (at least) entertained the idea of dealing for the Minnesota Twins' '05 1st Round pick who was acquired by Tampa Bay in the winter of 2007. Away from home the Cubs' starter is (2-5) with a 5.20 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 8.30 K/9 and 3.74 BB/9 in 10 starts and 55.1 IP. On the North Side of Chicago this year, Garza's (3-3) with a 2.70 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 9.57 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9 in 11 starts and 73.1 IP.
After splitting the four-game series against Colorado with Sunday's win, Washington's 23-36 on the road this season. The start of the Nats' 60th road game of 2011 and their 19th as the nation's capital's Nationals since 2005 was delayed by rain...and eventually postponed to be replayed on Thursday at 2:20 pm EDT in Wrigley...According to reports from Chicago, the pitching will just be pushed back a day with Chien-Ming Wang throwing tomorrow, Ross Detwiler on Wednesday and Jordan Zimmermann on Thursday afternoon in Chicago...
2. The Mike Rizzo Show: Mike Rizzo was on 106.7 the FAN tonight for this week's edition of The Mike Rizzo show with Danny Rouhier, who asked the question I'm most interested in hearing an answer to right now, and it's not about the Nats' first 1st Round pick Anthony Rendon, it's a question about 3rd Round pick Matt Purke. Will he sign? Will he be in the organization after the deadline?:
Mike Rizzo: "Well, we hope that he is. We've had great discussions with his representative. We've had him at the ballpark. He's taken a full physical for our medical people who've examined his shoulder, given him an MRI arthrogram and he passed all those tests with flying colors. We've been in attendance at each and every one of his workouts that he's having in the Houston area. So, we've done our work with him on his health.
We all know what his ability level is and his skill level is. He was one of the top draft picks coming out of high school then went on to TCU and went (16-0) as a freshman. Was one of the top players in all of college baseball. Not only the top freshman in college baseball, but one of the top players in all of baseball and as a sophomore eligible this year had some shoulder problems and still had a magnificent season with an ERA in the 1.00's. So this is a special type of ability guy and we certainly would love to have him in the fold. We think it's a good fit for him and for us. So, again we're optimisitic that we can get something done."
1. Jayson Werth: It would have been easy to dismiss it as mere positive reinforcement, said, as it was as Jayson Werth had just finished the first half of the 2011 schedule with a .215/.319/.362 first-half slash, 16 doubles, 10 HR's and 11 stolen bases in 88 games and 382 plate appearances to begin his 7-year/$126M dollar deal with the Nationals. It would have been had he not said what he did so convincingly after the conclusion of the team's final game before the "Break."
"I'm not worried about Jayson," Nats' Skipper Davey Johnson said when a reporter asked if Werth could use the break that the mid-Summer classic provided, especially after he'd ended the first-half by going 1 for 10 with a walk, two K's and a game-ending double play in Washington's three-game series with Colorado in Nats Park. "Jayson's going to be fine in the second-half," Johnson continued, "Some other guys are standing up, and I think everybody could use [a break]. I'm sure Jayson's going to come back smoking."
Smoking? .256/.370/.449 in 21 games and 92 plate appearances? Not exactly smoking, but in the last few weeks, Werth's picked it up at the plate and in the eighth inning on Sunday the Nats' middle-of-the-order bat made Rockies' right-hander Matt Belisle pay for walking Batting Title contender Michael Morse in front of Werth with Danny Espinosa on third in a 2-2 game in which Werth drove in the winning run and collected what was somehow, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore heard on SportsCenter, Werth's first game winning RBI this year after the driven in after the 3rd inning...
Rizzo, on the Mike Rizzo show said, "Jayson's a real student as a hitter. He's one of those prototypical hitters that sees a lot of pitches each and every at bat so he has a good log and a good background on each pitcher that he faces and he's staying within himself, [and] still seeing a lot of pitches per at bat..."
"I think you're going to see him be the hitter that he's always been and he's always been a guy that saw a lot pitches, he's always been a high on base percentage guy. He's starting to center the ball much more frequently now. He feels really good about himself and we feel real good about where he's at in his approach right now."