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Nationals fall to Braves following ridiculously long rain delay

Nationals fall to Braves following ridiculously long rain delay

The Washington Nationals told their fans to expect water Thursday night, and after three hours of waiting under storm-less skies, they finally delivered.

The Nationals delayed their series opener against the Atlanta Braves for 3 hours, 5 minutes despite negligible rain. As a reward for fans who stuck around, Washington gave away free soda, ice cream, and yes, water.

Atlanta beat Washington 5-2 when play resumed. The game ended at 1:20 a.m.

"For 15 minutes of rain, that's unbelievable," Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez said. "I'm talking to you at 1:30 in the morning right now for a 15-minute delay."

MORE NATS: HARPER TO PLAY IN 2018 HOME RUN DERBY

The Nationals' scheduled game Wednesday night against the New York Mets was postponed amid a downpour and after a delay of 1 hour, 55 minutes, but only a very brief shower hit Nationals Park on Thursday before first pitch was thrown at 10:10 p.m.

"That's a first for me," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Kind of frustrating."

The grounds crew didn't put the tarp on the infield until 74 minutes after scheduled first pitch. Light rain eventually fell, but only for a couple of minutes.

After the delay reached 2 1/2 hours, the Nationals posted a statement on the video scoreboard saying, "It is our sincere hope that we will be able to play tonight's game. The weather system that we have been monitoring is beginning to reach the ballpark & should pass through shortly. ... Thank you for your patience."

Despite the warning, the grounds crew removed the dry tarp 10 minutes later, and players began warming up in the outfield.

During the delay, a tweet from Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte read, "This No-Rain delay is something I've never seen before!!" When someone suggested he and his teammates take advantage of the break with some slip-and-slide fun on the tarp, Inciarte responded, "Can't. The tarp is dry."

Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz and Gonzalez pitched as scheduled with a smattering of fans remaining.

"It was a weird night, but we got through it with a win and that's all we can do," Foltynewicz said.

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Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez and Matt Wieters aren't the only important guys within the Nationals organization becoming free agents in 2019.

President of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo is also becoming a free agent when his contract expires on October 31st.

In the final year of his five-year contract, the 57-year old is set to make $2.5 million.

RELATED: HOWIE KENDRICK RETURNING TO NATIONALS

Since joining the organization, Rizzo has turned the team into a legit World Series contender. They've won four division titles in the last six years under his guidance, but have been unable to get over the NL Division series hump. And even though that's a glaring red mark on his resume, Rizzo knows the success he's brought to the organization. 

When you look at what we accomplished,’’ Mike Rizzo said in a recent interview, “it’s really unsung and underappreciated. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I like it here. I love the city. I love the team I put together. I like being a GM in the NL East. And I want to stay here. I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too.

Rizzo is talking about GM's like Cubs' Theo Epstein and Yankees' Brian Cashman, who've received big paydays over the last year.

I know we haven’t won the World Series, but I get tired of hearing how we can’t win the big one, or we can’t get out of the first round. We haven’t had that many chances.

Does Rizzo deserve an extension? The Sports Junkies think he does, but with GM's like the ones above cashing out, they can also see him wanting to test the open market.

"Why wouldn't they?", said Jason Bishop, noting his track record.

"There's a sense he wants to test the market," said Eric Bickel. That's the vibe I'm getting from him."

Rizzo is a weekly guest on the Junkies and has said that the organization will figure it out. However, the 2018 season may be the last time for a long time the Nats have a real shot at making a run before they lose some of their stars to other teams. If Rizzo does take that into consideration and decides to go elsewhere, the Junkies don't see him having any issues finding employment.

"If there was a time to roll, it would be after this season when you get your last run with this group," said Eric Bickel. And then If they don't pay you what you think you deserve, he'll be snatched up in 22 seconds."

RELATED: BEST OF NATS' RACING PRESIDENT TRYOUTS

If they do decide to sign him to an extension, will it be a long, drawn-out ordeal? The Junkies disagree on that one. 

"He is too valuable, Jason Bishop said. He's too valuable. You gotta ink him to a deal sometime during the season."

Luckily for D.C. sports fans, long, drawn-out extension talks aren't foreign to them.

To see their full discussion, click the media player above. 

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

WASHINGTON  -- The Nationals have agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with outfielder Howie Kendrick, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Agent Pat Murphy confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. USA Today was first to report the deal.

Kendrick, 34, hit .293 with seven home runs and RBIs in 52 games with Washington after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The versatile right-handed hitter got just three plate appearances off the bench in the playoffs.

In 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals, Kendrick is a .291 hitter with a .755 OPS. He's now primarily an outfielder for Washington after playing left field, second base, first base and other positions throughout his career.