Nationals

Quick Links

Nats-Reds game postponed due to rain

usatsi_8043370.jpg

Nats-Reds game postponed due to rain

Updated at 8:11 p.m.

Wednesday night’s series finale between the Nationals and Reds was postponed due to rain and wet grounds, a decision that for the moment helps the injury-plagued Nats but leads to a complicated attempt to make the game up at some point later this season.

No makeup date was announced, in part because there is no ideal date available. The Nationals and Reds only have two common off-days the rest of the season: August 17 and September 28.

Both clubs are on the West Coast on August 16, though, with the Nationals playing in Colorado on August 18. Forcing a team to fly back East for one day would not be a preferable option, nor would making a team play more than 20 consecutive days (a collectively bargained agreement between MLB and the players’ association).

The September 28 date (the first day of the final week of the regular season) works slightly better, but that would require the Reds to travel from Cincinnati to Washington and back in the middle of a homestand.

“There’s a couple that would take approval from the players’ association, one of them in which we would be (playing) 23 in a row … which is a lot in a row,” manager Matt Williams said. “The other one we looked at briefly is September.”

Of more pressing concern to the Nationals is the state of their injury-depleted lineup and their rotation plans for the weekend. Wednesday’s rainout does let the Nats avoid having to play a game with only two regulars in their lineup (Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond) and gives center fielder Denard Span (back spasms) and third baseman Yunel Escobar (tight hamstring) more time to heal.

Span, though, could be headed to the disabled list regardless following a planned trip to Dallas on Thursday to be examined by a back specialist.

The Nationals’ rotation plans, meanwhile, remain up in the air. The club already had a decision to make before the rainout, with Thursday’s off-day affording the option of either starting Tanner Roark in place of the injured Stephen Strasburg or keeping everybody else on normal rest and starting Max Scherzer in Sunday’s first-half finale at Camden Yards (a move that would make Scherzer ineligible to pitch in next week’s All-Star Game).

Now, the Nationals must decide whether to bump Gio Gonzalez (Wednesday’s scheduled starter) all the way back to Friday. They could then use Roark at some point later in the weekend, or Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister or Scherzer.

“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Williams said. “I’ll go back in [to the clubhouse] and talk about it. We certainly have a lot of options, so we’re in the process of doing that now.”

Quick Links

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

scherzer-dugout.jpg
USA Today Sports

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Saturday's Nationals game rained out, to be postponed

usatsi_10246202.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Saturday's Nationals game rained out, to be postponed

Following a dicey matchup between the Nats and Braves Friday night which featured a heated argument between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals are getting a much-needed opportunity to regroup.

The Washington Nationals' official Twitter account announced that Saturday evening's matchup will be postponed due to inclement weather just after 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The Nationals had planned to host "JMU Night" at the ballpark as a part of their "College Day" series, and due to more forecasted inclement weather Sunday, the Nationals decided to call the game off sooner rather than later.

The Nationals have yet to announce when the game will be made up.

If Sunday's game is played as scheduled, Max Scherzer will start.

This post will be updated when more information regarding a makeup date has been announced.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: