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Nats miffed at Phillies over postponed game

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Nats miffed at Phillies over postponed game

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — The Nationals are miffed at the Phillies after Saturday afternoon’s game began on-time, only to be postponed due to heavy rain that had been forecast all along after only 1 1/2 innings, a decision that forced the Nats to burn up starter Gio Gonzalez and find a fill-in starter for the nightcap of what will now be a Sunday doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.

Asked how frustrated he was by Saturday’s events, Matt Williams didn’t withhold his emotions.

“Extremely,” the Nationals manager said. “Burned our pitcher. I’m not very happy about it.”

Heavy rain had been forecast all day, with a major system overtaking the entire East Coast, and games in Baltimore and Detroit had already been postponed, with a game in Pittsburgh delayed and a minor-league game in Harrisburg called off. The Phillies, though, elected to start the game on-time at 3:05 p.m., their right as the home team.

And what explanation were the Nationals given to why the game would proceed?

“That it was going to be playable,” Williams said. “The forecast was that it was going to be playable. Clearly it wasn’t.”

The first inning proceeded with only a few sprinkles, but then the rain picked up during the top of the second. By the time that half-inning ended, umpires met with the Citizens Bank Park grounds crew and called for the tarp to cover the infield as both teams retreated to their respective clubhouses.

One hour and 27 minutes later, the game officially was postponed, with the Nationals and Phillies scoreless but having each used their starting pitchers.

Gonzalez threw only one inning for the Nats, needing 18 pitches to complete a scoreless first. Rookie left-hander Adam Morgan tossed two scoreless innings for the Phillies.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Gonzalez, who now can’t pitch again for several days. “You’re put in a tough situation, and it just sucks. I’ve been waiting four days, and that’s what happens. I mean, this rain kind of caught us all off-guard. I mean, we didn’t know it was coming for like three days, so…”

Gonzalez’s sarcastic response represented the tenor throughout the Nationals clubhouse, and even the majority of the Phillies clubhouse, where players expressed shock the game ever began.

The Nationals would have been perfectly fine with a decision to postpone the game before it ever started, given the ominous forecast and the fact they were fielding a makeshift lineup that included only one regular (shortstop Ian Desmond). Outfielders Bryce Harper and Denard Span, plus third baseman Yunel Escobar, all were dealing with nagging injuries that prevented them from playing Saturday.

They also would have preferred the rainout be made up in September rather than Sunday’s scheduled 1:05 p.m. doubleheader, because now they must both find a fill-in starting pitcher while also playing two games back-to-back with an injury-plagued roster of position players.

Williams said Stephen Strasburg will start Sunday’s opener as originally planned. The Nationals won’t name their starter for the nightcap until the first game ends.

MLB allows teams to add a 26th player from the minors for the second game of doubleheaders, but the Nationals may not necessarily send that player to the mound to start Game 2. If Strasburg pitches deep into the first game, Tanner Roark could possibly start the second game, with a call-up available out of the bullpen.

“It depends on where we’re at and what we’re doing,” Williams said. “We’ll see how Game 1 goes and adjust from there. But we have to get through the first one first.”

The Nationals have a few options for that 26th position. Joe Ross, who impressed during his first three career starts earlier this month, just started Thursday for Class AAA Syracuse, which takes him out of consideration. Right-hander Taylor Jordan was scheduled to start Saturday night for the Chiefs in Indianapolis but was scratched about an hour before first pitch, likely setting him up to fly to Philadelphia and join the Nationals.

The Phillies will stick with scheduled starter Kevin Correia in Game 1 and will call up right-hander Severino Gonzalez to start the nightcap, which will begin 25 minutes after the first game ends.

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On this date: The Nationals played their first game ever

On this date: The Nationals played their first game ever

It seems like eons ago that the Washington Nationals played in their first game after departing from Montreal.

Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of their inaugural game as they brought professional baseball back to the District of Columbia.

The Nationals opened up the 2005 season on the road at Citizens Bank Park with a matchup against their future rival in the Phillies.

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The game didn't go as planned for Nats manager Frank Robinson, with his squad dropping the first game of their 162-game slate with a defeat, but it was a return to normalcy for baseball fans in the nation's capital who had longed for a team to root for since the Senators left town 34 years prior.

The Phillies beat the Nats 8-4 on Opening Day, but for fans in the District, there was now a team to cheer on when they returned home a few days later for the home opener at RFK Stadium.

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Nats GM Mike Rizzo displays Commissioner's Trophy in neighborhood during quarantine

Nats GM Mike Rizzo displays Commissioner's Trophy in neighborhood during quarantine

Now this is the type of content we love to see. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo found a pretty cool yet responsible way to bring some cheer to his neighborhood in the midst of social distancing on Thursday. 

On the day that should have been the Nats’ 2020 home opener Washington’s GM Mike Rizzo displayed the World Series trophy in the window of his home in Navy Yard.

According to The Washington Post’s reporter Barry Svrluga, Rizzo’s gesture was “in honor of Opening Day!” 

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Of course, fans loved this idea. I mean who wouldn’t? 

Fans passing by even stopped to take a picture with the trophy. 

Although we were all thrilled to return to Nationals Park to celebrate the defending World Champions, Rizzo’s trophy display was a way to spread some joy until we can reunite again. 

On a recent conference call Rizzo told reporters, “This is going to be a very, very special Opening Day for us when it happens, so we still have that to look forward to... On the brighter side, the glass half full view is that we’re the reigning world champions and we still are clutching hard to that trophy. We’ve got ourselves a banner-raising ceremony coming, we’ve got ourselves some beautiful rings that we’re going to be able to wear around D.C. in the very near future, so although we’re thinking daily and hourly about the humanity of what’s going on right now, we also have that to look forward to when we get through this thing and we come out the other side and baseball begins again.”

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