PHILADELPHIA — With torrential rain pounding much of the east coast Sunday afternoon, the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies didn’t wait around to see if things would clear. Three hours before their scheduled 1:35 p.m. series finale, the game was postponed. It will be made up Sept. 20 at 1:05 p.m. as part of a day-night doubleheader. The second game will be at 7:50 p.m.
With a scheduled off day on Monday, the Nationals will have two full days of rest before they open their series with the Cincinnati Reds at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night. Sunday’s scheduled starter, Chien-Ming Wang, will pitch then and the rest of the Nationals rotation is expected to fall in line behind him with Ross Detwiler going Wednesday and Jordan Zimmermann on Thursday.
Livan Hernandez and John Lannan will then be lined up to face the Phillies Friday and Saturday at Nationals Park if nothing else changes.
The Nationals weren’t complaining about the early postponement Sunday, allowing them a few extra days of rest at a point when the season’s grueling schedule can begin to catch up on players and their aches and pains.
“This time of year, it’s useful because everybody could use a couple days off,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “In this weather we get a little bus ride back to D.C. get there early, have dinner with the family.”
This is the second game of the Nationals current 10-game road trip that was rained out prior to the first pitch. Chien-Ming Wang’s first start of the trip was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 8, but rain in Chicago washed that one away. The following night, on five days of rest, Wang looked less like the pitcher who had spent two years rehabbing a shoulder injury and more like the former 19-game winner he was for the New York Yankees. He threw six innings of one-hit baseball in a 3-1 Nationals victory.
“He had his best outing of the year for us with an extra day in Chicago,” Johnson said. “The extra day may be good for him.”
He will have six days of rest between that start and his next one, Tuesday. The rest of the Nationals’ rotation will also be afforded the same amount of time if they remain on turn for the remainder of the week. The Nationals could opt to skip Zimmermann and save his innings for one start so as to stretch him a little further until Stephen Strasburg is ready to return to the major league rotation. But Zimmermann did play catch Sunday morning so as not to disrupt his usual throw day between starts which would seem to indicate he is on track for Thursday’s game.