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Blow torches not enough to prevent the postponement of the Nationals-Phillies

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Blow torches not enough to prevent the postponement of the Nationals-Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies scheduled for Monday night was postponed because of rain. It was rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader Tuesday starting at 3:05 p.m.

The Nationals have been rained out on consecutive days and endured several hours of rain delays in their weekend series at home against the Cubs.

Field conditions were poor because of weekend rain and the field at Citizens Bank Park had not been covered. Workers used blow torches to try to dry the field but it was too wet.

Prior to the game, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and club manager Davey Martinez recollected old stories on how they used to dry minor league baseball fields. The most prominent one including the use of gasoline being poured on the dirt and then set it on fire. 

Fortunately (or not?), the grounds crew in Philadelphia never got that far.

The Phillies began the day 4 games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

Earlier in the day, the game between the Miami Marlins and Mets in New York was called off because of rain. There have been 51 weather-related postponements in the majors this season after there were 39 all of last year.

Weather tomorrow is not looking too kind either in Philadelphia with rain on the forecast for a majority of the day.

NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum contributed to this report. 

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Bryce Harper drives in 100th RBI of season

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Bryce Harper drives in 100th RBI of season

Despite an unsuccessful season, Nationals fans have something to celebrate. Bryce Harper has hit his 100th RBI of the season.

100 RBIs is the most-ever for Harper. His previous personal best being 99 in 2015. 

Harper's 100th came off of a sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Adam Eaton.

Additionally, Monday night's game against the Miami Marlins was the 154th game played for Harper, who appeared in 153 last season.

The Nationals-Marlins series will be the final homestand for the Nats who will end their disappointing season next week in Colorado against the Rockies. 2018 is the first time in three seasons that the Nationals did not clinch at least a playoff berth.

As Harper nears free agency status with next week's season-end, his time in Washington may end but his legacy with the Nationals will live on.

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Nationals end disappointing season with final home series vs. Marlins

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Nationals end disappointing season with final home series vs. Marlins

WASHINGTON -- The disappointing Washington Nationals close out their home schedule with a three-game series against the Miami Marlins beginning Monday night (7:05 p.m. ET).

After dropping three of four to the fourth-place New York Mets over the weekend, third-place Washington (77-77) needs to go 4-2 this weekend to cap a seventh straight winning season.

Miami right-hander Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 2.35) and right-hander Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.83) square off in a rematch of a Sept. 18 pairing won by Strasburg and Washington, 4-2. Strasburg allowed two runs on five hits over six innings, while striking out 11 and walking two.

Over his last five starts, Strasburg is 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA and 38 strikeouts.

"He's been really good," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told The Washington Post. "He's pitching now. He's mixing all of his pitches in and attacking the strike zone."

Strasburg is 17-7 with a 3.04 ERA in 30 career starts against Miami.

Alcantara lasted just four innings against Washington, allowing three earned runs on six hits and six walks in absorbing his first loss of the season.

"When we talk about young guys, this is what we see," Marlins manager Don Mattingly told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "We see good and then we see some ones that are not as good. Today, the command didn't seem to be there. A lot of misses, counts get bad and a lot of pitches in a short period of time.

"It's something he'll be able to learn from and you've got to continue to work and be consistent with what you do and that's what separates the guys who are going to be really good and the guys who are going to be OK."

Miami finished the home portion of its schedule with a 6-0 win over the Reds Sunday, taking three of four in the weekend series. At 62-93 with one game unlikely to be made up, the Marlins should avoid 100 losses but also won't approach their 77 wins of a year ago.

"No matter what, we knew what we were kind of embarking on this year, with a lot of the changes," Mattingly told mlb.com. "The new direction of the club, under the new ownership. You understand all that. Still, the losses add up, and those are hard to deal with.

"But I've been proud of the guys. I've felt they've continued to play hard and continued to give you the effort, and that's not easy to do when you're taking that many losses on the chin."

Washington is also playing out the string after being eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday. They lost 8-6 to the Mets in Sunday's finale.

Twenty-five-year-old rookie Erick Fedde, the team's first-round pick in the 2014 draft, is among those bidding for a 2019 starting rotation spot. Against the Mets Sunday, he lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs in a no-decision.

In nine starts this season, Fedde has yet to go beyond six innings.

"There are times when I'm like: 'I can pitch at this level, I can be successful and I think I can dominate,'" he told MASN.com. "And then there are times that are like: 'What are you doing out there?' But I think that comes with the learning curve, and I just need to make sure that isn't a very long learning curve."

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