After a three-hour wait, the Washington Nationals announced that the series finale with the Chicago Cubs has been postponed and rescheduled for Thursday, September 13th at 4:05 PM EDT in D.C.
Earlier this afternoon, with weather reports forecasting a day of heavy rain, the Washington Nationals released a statement explaining the situation to fans:
“We are expecting more inclement weather today. We are in communication with Major League Baseball and awaiting direction from the Commissioner’s Office regarding today’s game. Because the Cubs do not return to Nationals Park this season, all weather related decisions are in the hands of MLB. The league will want to make every effort to play this game today or tonight. We will communicate updates today as we receive them from MLB.”
It’s been a frustrating long-weekend for fans and players (coaches and managers) alike, with more hours spent waiting out rain delays than actually playing as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted on Twitter before last night’s doubleheader, which was a result of Friday’s postponed game:
I've spent 15 hours at Nationals Park in the last 2 days and seen 23 minutes of baseball. (Which, officially speaking, never happened.)— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) September 8, 2018
The first of two games on Saturday started at 5:15 PM, instead of 3:05 PM, and the second game of the day started at 9:00 PM, was delayed by rain, and finally ended at around 1:42 AM EDT.
So how did everyone involved deal with all the delays and stops and starts? How did they get through it all?
“Patience,” Davey Martinez told reporters. “Really. It was nasty. It’s nasty for both teams you know. We’re pretty much at the mercy of the league and the rain really and I’m proud of the guys just sticking in there and finishing the job.”
Maddon was less impressed with the way Friday night’s game, which was postponed in the end, was handled, with a 1-hour, 21-minute delay to start of the game and 2-hour, 55-minute delay before it was eventually scrapped with the inning-plus played wiped from the books.
“We played when we shouldn’t have, and we didn’t play when we should have,” Maddon said Saturday, as quoted by Chicago Tribune writer Mark Gonzales.
“I voiced my opinion at the appropriate moment, and we wanted to play. We wanted two one-gamers. We waited as long as we could, and the skies were absolutely cleared from that moment on. And they said they cannot be sure there [wouldn’t] be another popup. I’m beyond an amateur meteorologist. I can see it wasn’t going to rain anymore. So it’s kind of confusing to us.”
“It was just unfortunate. We made it clear in the beginning we wanted to wait and play. We were willing to wait and play. And about 10 o’clock it didn’t look good, but all of a sudden it started to look better and we had no issues with starting at 11:30. None.”
“MLB took control of the game right away,” Martinez said before Saturday’s games, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“They deemed that we could start the game. We started the game, and next thing you know it started pouring. They pulled the tarp, and we sat there. Because we knew it was going to rain. But they wanted to wait.”
When they finally did play the games on Saturday, the Nationals took the first of two, 10-3, then outlasted the Cubs for a 6-5 win in the nightcap (which, again, ended at 1:42 AM).
“We battled to the very end after that long delay,” Maddon said after the Cubs dropped both ends of the doubleheader on Saturday. “Again, I can’t say how proud I am of our guys. It’s been a very difficult weird trip. Last night really highlights the whole thing. We could have concluded last night’s game about the same time we concluded this one. But they beat us, they got us. They got our bullpen tonight, our bullpen has been outstanding and they got us tonight, so you’ve got to give them credit.”
Before the start of Sunday afternoon’s series finale was delayed, Martinez talked once again about how he’d tried to keep everyone focused throughout the weekend.
“The best way I could describe it is perseverance,” he said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“Like I said yesterday, for those guys to sit there all day [and] rain, not rain, rain, not rain, we’re going to play, we’re not going to play and then go out there and do what they do? It’s a testament to what kind of team we have and I’m proud of them. They came out yesterday and they were fired up and they decided, hey, if we’re here we’re going to win so let’s win.”
The Nationals won both ends of the doubleheader, taking two of three from the Cubs, who were left with a 2.5-game lead in the NL Central after the back-to-back losses. They’ll play the series finale on later this week, which means the Nationals will travel to Philadelphia for a three-game set starting tomorrow, then stop back in D.C. on Thursday for one before they head back out on the road to Atlanta and Miami.
#Nationals: Today’s game has been postponed. The game has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 13th at 4:05pm ET.— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) September 9, 2018