- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ST. LOUIS | The Nationals and Cardinals withstood severe weather that included tornado sirens, heavy rain and wind along with lightning and hail pounding on the roof at Busch Stadium for over two hours on Tuesday night before their game was officially postponed.

“I’ve seen some good rain here,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman who served as the first base coach for the Cardinals from 1989-1990, spent nine years managing in the organization’s minor league system and was the team’s minor league field coordinator from 2005-2007.

“But guys were coming in saying they’d never seen anything like it.”

The teams will play a day-night split doubleheader on Wednesday, the first game starting at 1:15 p.m. CDT and the second at 7:15 p.m. CDT. Nationals’ left-hander John Lannan will face Cardinals’ right-hander Jake Westbrook in Game 1 and Nationals’ righty Jordan Zimmermann will go against lefty Jaime Garcia in Game 2.

With the rainout on Tuesday night, the Nationals will end up playing back-to-back doubleheaders after this past Saturday’s game was postponed to a doubleheader, which the team swept from the Milwaukee Brewers, on Sunday.

The rainouts, combined with five scheduled off days since the final game of spring training was held on March 29, have created a situation where the Nationals have already had six days with no game through the first 20 days of the season. They’ve played just 15 games in that time.

“It’s too many off days,” Riggleman said. “That’s the thing about scheduled off days. You know you’re going to get some rain in April. To have the day before the season started off and then we’ve had three and now two rainouts, it’s like five or six days of no baseball. It’s certainly not ideal but we’ll make the adjustment to it.”

The Nationals lineup is expected to remain largely the same as the one that they were prepared to use Tuesday night with one exception: Ivan Rodriguez will catch the first game of the doubleheader, Riggleman said, with Wilson Ramos starting the nightcap.

Ramos had been in the lineup Tuesday night, batting fifth and catching Lannan. He will now catch Zimmermann instead. The switch puts Ramos in line to hit against the left-handed starter Garcia.

• Amanda Comak can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com.

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