Perhaps the best news about the drenching rain that hit Washington on Saturday, at least as it pertains to the Nationals, is that a rainout will not cost them any momentum — they had none to lose. The team called the game around 2 p.m. Saturday, far earlier than normal, a nod to the forecast that called for rain to continue late into the evening and most of the day Sunday. The team has not announced a rescheduling plan, though a doubleheader Sunday seems unlikely given the ominous forecast.
The rainout could help the Nationals in multiple ways. First of all, it allows some of the tension that bubbled over between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg on Friday night to disperse — though to hear Strasburg and Manager Dave Martinez tell it, all parties were “good” when they left the field. Secondly, the rainout gives Sean Doolittle another day to recover and potentially limits the number of days the Nationals will spend walking the innings tightrope with a six-man bullpen. When they activated Ryan Zimmerman on Friday night, they opted to send down a reliever, hoping Strasburg would pitch deep into Friday’s game. He lasted 4 2/3 innings, and Martinez had to use all of his relievers besides Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera. The day off will allow his bullpen to rest.
Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to face the Braves’ Sean Newcomb on Saturday. Scherzer and Mike Foltynewicz, both of whom pitched in the All-Star Game, will remain on regular rest and start Sunday. The Nationals’ plans beyond that are unclear. They have no days off until July 30.
For now, they will rest, just one day after the all-star break, and they will do so a game under .500. Their quest for redemption stalled Friday night with their 8-5 loss to the Braves. They will have to wait at least one more day to renew it again.
Read more on the Nationals: