The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins will almost certainly be delayed on Saturday night, and there is at least a question of whether or not they will play at all. The Nationals need the game, so they will be sure to get it in somehow — the only question is whether they wait until late Saturday night to start up, or play a doubleheader on Sunday in the Nationals’ final day at home this season.
The Nationals have already postponed their special ceremony meant to honor manager Davey Johnson until tomorrow due to the weather.
“My radar doesn’t look good,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t look good at all. It’s coming all the way from Atlanta.”
There is no simple solution.
The Nationals are slated to have Stephen Strasburg on the mound on Saturday night, so there is little chance they would start a game with a threat of significant rain still in the area and the very real risk of losing Strasburg after just a brief appearance. There is also a downside for them to waiting until 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. to start the game as they will have a very quick turnaround for a 1:35 p.m. game on Sunday.
A Sunday doubleheader also brings issues with it. From a monetary standpoint, the team would likely prefer to have separate gates for as many games as possible, but with the Nationals scheduled to travel to St. Louis to begin an important series with the Cardinals on Monday, there is little chance they’d be able to do so on Sunday. That would mean they’d be forced to play a straight doubleheader — say, 1:35 p.m. and 5:05 p.m. or something like that — and then travel after a very long day of baseball.
“I’d like to call it early and play a doubleheader,” Johnson said. “It’s easier on everybody.
“That said, we’ll probably be here until 1 a.m.”
The storm in question is a massive swath of rain that, on radar, stretched from Alabama to Vermont and is wide enough that while it rain here in D.C. it is also raining on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
And while Johnson made his preference clear, the Marlins appeared to have other information.
“Looks like light rain until about 6 (p.m.), and then heavy rain until about 10 or 10:30 (p.m.),” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “And then it’s supposed to taper off after that. We’ll just wait and see. I guess it’s a pretty good storm.
“From what I’ve heard, I think they want to play it tonight. Nobody really wants to play a doubleheader on getaway day. I think we’ll wait it out and see what happens.”
The Marlins were prepared to wait as long as necessary, knowing obviously the weight of the game for the Nationals’ playoff hopes.
“I anticipate we’ll play this game tonight no matter what,” Redmond said.
If they do play, here are the full lineups:
Denard Span CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper LF
Ian Desmond SS
Adam LaRoche 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Stephen Strasburg P
Donovan Solano 2B
Ed Lucas 3B
Christian Yelich LF
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Justin Ruggiano CF
Logan Morrison 1B
Adeiny Hechavarria SS
Koyie Hill C
Tom Koehler P