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Before historic NLDS grand slam, Howie Kendrick had a talk with God

Before historic NLDS grand slam, Howie Kendrick had a talk with God

Game 5 of the National League Division Series. 10th inning. Game knotted at three between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. Howie Kendrick vs Joe Kelly.

Before smacking a grand slam to send the Nats to the National League Championship, Kendrick said made one simple request at-bat:

"God," he remembered saying. "If you have anything for me, now's the time."

Kendrick joined Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network for an episode of "Play Ball" on Saturday morning and chronicled arguably the biggest moment of his career.

"When I hit that ball it was pure adrenaline," Kendrick added.  I'll never forget that."

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Kendrick's go-ahead two-run homer in Game 7 the 2019 World Series featured the same request.

"There I was talking to God again," Kendrick told Reynolds. "... When I hit it, I could tell the sprinter wasn’t going to get it. When it hit the pole, same emotion of the grand slam."

Now we know Kendrick doesn't want to be a burden to the man upstairs but Nats fans would sure love some more blessings in the upcoming season. 

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Davey Martinez defends Nationals' grounds crew following tarp snafu

Davey Martinez defends Nationals' grounds crew following tarp snafu

Sunday's matchup between the Nationals and Orioles came to a halt in the sixth inning due to a brief rainstorm, but the game was delayed and eventually suspended after the grounds crew had multiple issues unraveling the tarp to cover the infield.

For much of the rainfall, the infield and pitcher's mound in Nationals Park were exposed. As the rain continued to fall, the dirt turned into slushy mud.

Despite the grounds crew's inability to properly cover the field, which ended up being the reason for the game's suspension, Nationals manager Davey Martinez refused to place blame on the crew.

"Feel bad for our grounds crew," Martinez said to reporters after the game was called off. "Personally, these guys, to me, are the best if not one of the best. Unfortunate that that happened."

RELATED: NATS-O'S WAS SUSPENDED, NOT CANCELED, DUE TO AN EXCEPTION IN MLB'S RULE BOOK

The whole situation was a perfect metaphor for 2020 as a whole, a year of chaos and unexpected twists and turns, mostly in a negative fashion.

While Sunday's game came to a finish prematurely, Martinez said all his team can do is keep moving forward and be ready to play the New York Mets on Monday at Citi Field.

"There’s going to be days when you don’t know what to expect. This is part of it," Martinez said. "So, we just got to keep moving on. At the end of the game, I told the guys, pack up, we’re going to New York. Get ready to play [Monday]. That’s all we can do."

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Nationals-Orioles game suspended due to an exception in MLB rule book

Nationals-Orioles game suspended due to an exception in MLB rule book

On Sunday, the Nationals and Orioles played into the top of the sixth inning before a rain delay forced both teams off the field. Washington’s grounds crew sprang into action but struggled for more than 15 minutes to get the tarp across the infield, causing the dirt to flood. But despite the crew’s best efforts to drain the field, umpires deemed it unplayable and suspended the rest of the game.

Under normal circumstances, the game would’ve been declared finished. Any contest that is called after 15 outs have been made when the visiting team took the lead in the previous inning or earlier is deemed an “official game” by the MLB hand book. If the rain delay comes before 15 outs are made, when the game is tied or in the same inning that the visiting team took the lead, it is suspended until a later date.

However, this game didn’t qualify to be suspended under those rules. The Orioles took the lead in the fifth and the Nationals, as the home team, had a chance to tie or take the lead but fell short. That the game went into the sixth before the rain began should’ve required the umpires to call it off, if not for one technicality: faulty equipment.

RELATED: HOW DO MLB'S MODIFIED RAIN DELAY RULES FOR THE 2020 SEASON WORK?

The tarp that the Nationals’ grounds crew attempted to use was tangled up in its roller, making it difficult for them to roll it out. Under rule 7.02 of the MLB hand book, any game that is called as a result of “light failure, malfunction of, or unintentional operator error in employing, a mechanical or field device or equipment under the control of the home Club” must be picked up at a later date.

This is a rule that has stood for years but is seldom used given how infrequent mechanical failures such as this one occur. MLB did introduce a 2020-only change to rain delay rules but it didn’t come into play Sunday. (Games called off before 15 outs are reached will be picked up right where they left off; in normal seasons, those games are wiped and restarted from the beginning.)

As a result, the Orioles and Nationals will finish out the game Aug. 14 at Camden Yards. Washington will still serve as the “home team” and play will resume with Baltimore leading 5-2 in the top of the sixth.

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