Brief day on field ran­kles the Nats

Gon­za­lez’s one in­ning means dou­ble­header will need new starters

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY CHELSEA JANES

philadelphia — The tarp cov­ered the Cit­i­zens Bank Park in­field from Fri­day night through Satur­day morn­ing and into the early af­ter­noon. The spigot in the sky switched on and off all day, al­low­ing for some driz­zle here and there, some rain now and then, and all in­di­ca­tions were it would open for good right around the time the Washington Na­tion­als and Philadelphia Phillies were sup­posed to play at 3:05 p.m. The fore­casts pre­dicted rain for the rest of the evening and into the early morn­ing hours.

De­spite the gloomy prog­no­sis, the game be­gan as sched­uled. The tarp came off around 2:40 p.m. It was back on the field again by 3:40. The rain let up long enough for an in­ning and a half of base­ball — no more.

The game was post­poned un­til Sun­day as part of a sin­gle-ad­mis­sion dou­ble­header be­gin­ning at 1:05 p.m. Stephen Stras­burg will start the first game as sched­uled. The Na­tion­als will need to find a starter for the resched­uled game, which will start from the be­gin­ning Sun­day, with all stats from Satur­day gone.

“Burned our pitcher,” Na­tion­als Man­ager Matt Wil­liams said, vis­i­bly and ad­mit­tedly frus­trated. “I’m not very happy about it.”

Gio Gon­za­lez threw 19 pitches in his only in­ning Satur­day, a score­less first. That’s the kind of work­load re­liev­ers bounce back from in a day. But starters go through more vig­or­ous pregame

warmup work than re­liev­ers do, so Gon­za­lez will not come back Sun­day. Wil­liams said the team will de­ter­mine whether Gon­za­lez waits five days be­fore start­ing again based on how Sun­day’s games go and what pitch­ers must be used to get the Na­tion­als through them.

“It just sucks. I’ve been wait­ing four days and that’s what hap­pens,” Gon­za­lez said. “And this rain, it kind of caught us all off guard. We didn’t know it was com­ing for like three days so . . . ”

Ma­jor league rules al­low teams to add an ad­di­tional player to their ac­tive ros­ter for dou­ble­head­ers. The Na­tion­als can cer­tainly use one. Wil­liams would not re­veal his plans Satur­day evening, but the Na­tion­als may opt to bring up a starter from Class AAA Syra­cuse to start the sec­ond game Sun­day. Syra­cuse’s Tay­lor Jor­dan was scratched from his sched­uled start Satur­day night in In­di­anapo­lis and ap­pears to be the likely choice.

Wil­liams also said he would be will­ing to use Tan­ner Roark for sig­nif­i­cant in­nings. Roark last started June 16 then headed back to the bullpen when the ro­ta­tion got healthy and pitched two in­nings of re­lief on Wed­nes­day. Roark could be used to start Game 2, but if Stras­burg is knocked out early in Game 1, Roark may be needed in long re­lief, and the Na­tion­als would still need that ex­tra starter — po­ten­tially Jor­dan — for Game 2. Wil­liams said the team is al­lowed to an­nounce its 26th player be­tween games.

The Na­tion­als could also ben­e­fit from another po­si­tion player, as their banged-up ros­ter is ill-equipped to han­dle one game these days, let alone two.

While ev­ery­one in­volved would have pre­ferred the game be called be­fore it be­gan — be­fore ev­ery­one worked out and got treat­ment and sac­ri­ficed true rest — the post­pone­ment should aid the Na­tion­als in some ways, de­spite the loom­ing dou­ble­header. So many reg­u­lars ailed Satur­day that Wil­liams could not post a lineup un­til two hours be­fore game time. Bryce Harper and De­nard Span needed treat­ment be­fore de­ter­min­ing their avail­abil­ity. Nei­ther ended up in the lineup.

Only one reg­u­lar po­si­tion player ended up start­ing — Ian Desmond, play­ing short­stop and hit­ting third. Wil­son Ramos got a day off. Yunel Es­co­bar’s left hand, hit by a pitch Fri­day night, was still too swollen for him to play. Harper was still nurs­ing a sore right ham­string. Span was not ready to play af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing back spasms Fri­day night. An­thony Ren­don landed on the dis­abled list again Fri­day, where he joined Jayson Werth and Ryan Zim­mer­man, who have been there awhile.

The ex­tra day should help Harper and Span. Wil­liams said they are both day-to-day and said af­ter the game that both are pro­gress­ing. The post­pone­ment means each gets a day with­out miss­ing a game. The day may help Es­co­bar, too. X-rays on his hand were neg­a­tive, so as of now, he just needs swelling and sore­ness to sub­side.

Re­gard­less of who is avail­able Sun­day, it will be a tax­ing day for the Na­tion­als, who are frus­trated be­cause much of the trou­ble could have been avoided had the Phillies heeded omi­nous fore­casts and called the game early.

Wil­liams said Phillies of­fi­cials told him the game be­gan be­cause “the forecast was that it was go­ing to be playable.” “Clearly it wasn’t,” he said. It was not, so the Na­tion­als will play two Sun­day.


Gio Gon­za­lez walks off the field af­ter strik­ing out against the Phillies’ AdamMor­gan to end the top of the sec­ond. Play did not re­sume.

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