Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I am no weather woman. Despite the best insistences of my mother when I was growing up (and she was banging the “be a meteorologist” drum pretty hard for most of my life) I cannot predict the weather above Nationals Park tonight.
I can, however, give my best shot at reading a radar map. The last one I looked at was pretty encouraging as it pertains to the Nationals - Braves game tonight and Stephen Strasburg’s fourth major league start of the season.
UPDATE: The start of the game is expected to be delayed only by 10 minutes. Word from the grounds crew is they’ll have the field ready by 7:15 p.m.
So, now the main question is how will the rainy weather affect Nationals manager Davey Johnson’s inclination to use Strasburg tonight? The answer appears to be largely not at all.
“I’m turning the page,” Johnson said. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s healthy and it would be like a regular season game. They have the same problem with (Tim) Hudson. He’s had a similar injury and they’re in a pennant race so the last thing they want is to start and stop.”
Strasburg is not expected to be on a firm pitch count tonight with Johnson saying again that he would simply go by what he sees with the young ace but in his previous start Johnson admitted he was trying to hold him around 70 pitches. Strasburg needed just 61 to get through six innings against the Marlins so the limit didn’t come into play.
If all goes as planned this evening and nothing changes, Strasburg would then be on track to start the season finale in Florida on Wednesday, his fifth and final start of the season.