After one of the loonier ballgames (or partial ballgames) you’re ever going to see yesterday, it’s perhaps appropriate that the Nats are now in La-La Land, ready to open a two-game series against the Dodgers.
Yesterday’s 10-10, 11-inning suspended game truly was one for the books. The way both the Nats and Astros bullpens blew leads, it almost felt like neither team wanted to win that game, so they settled on the next best thing. They now get to wait two months to finish it in Houston, with the Nats serving as the home team.
This, of course, brings up all kinds of bizarre possibilities roster-wise. You see, the teams aren’t required to field the same 25-man roster on July 9 as they had on May 5. So there’s a very real chance the Nats (who used up all their position players and all but one reliever yesterday) will have others to turn to for the completion of the game. And it’s entirely possible that someone still currently in the game (Nick Johnson? Josh Willingham?) could be traded between now and the completion. Which makes it possible that either team could end up using more than 25 players in a single major-league game. Gotta love these quirks.
One pitcher who very well could appear in the July 9 completion game who wasn’t eligible yesterday is Joe Beimel. The veteran lefty was activated off the 15-day DL earlier today and he’ll be available to pitch tonight against the Dodgers. The Nats are hoping Beimel’s return helps stabilize a wretched bullpen, but let’s not pin too much hope on the 32-year-old.
We’re not talking about Mariano Rivera or Trever Hoffman here. Beimel owns a career 4.26 ERA and three saves. Really, he’s had only three above-average seasons in the majors: 2006, 2007 and 2008 with the Dodgers. Now, he got off to a fine start with Washington before injuring his left hip diving for a bunt on April 20 (1.23 ERA in eight appearances) but he remains a setup man at best, a lefty specialist at worst, who is probably going to be asked to close some games.
There is no specific plan for how Manny Acta will use Beimel, but he’ll probably share the ninth inning job with Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells, neither of whom looked particularly good yesterday trying to protect a lead. In other words, better hope the Nats lead by more than three tonight when they get to the ninth inning.
Then again, that could be too much to ask. The Dodgers, for those who aren’t aware, are 12-0 at home this season. Yeah, they haven’t lost yet. And the Nats haven’t won a single game here since 2005.