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.”