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Nats upset with Phillies after game called in 2nd inning

Jun 27, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT


Updated at 6:13 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — The Nationals are miffed at the Phillies after Saturday afternoon’s game began on-time, only to be postponed due to heavy rain that had been forecast all along after only 1 1/2 innings, a decision that forced the Nats to burn up starter Gio Gonzalez and find a fill-in starter for the nightcap of what will now be a Sunday doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.

Asked how frustrated he was by Saturday’s events, Matt Williams didn’t withhold his emotions.

“Extremely,” the Nationals manager said. “Burned our pitcher. I’m not very happy about it.”

Heavy rain had been forecast all day, with a major system overtaking the entire East Coast, and games in Baltimore and Detroit had already been postponed, with a game in Pittsburgh delayed and a minor-league game in Harrisburg called off. The Phillies, though, elected to start the game on-time at 3:05 p.m., their right as the home team.

And what explanation were the Nationals given to why the game would proceed?

“That it was going to be playable,” Williams said. “The forecast was that it was going to be playable. Clearly it wasn’t.”

The first inning proceeded with only a few sprinkles, but then the rain picked up during the top of the second. By the time that half-inning ended, umpires met with the Citizens Bank Park grounds crew and called for the tarp to cover the infield as both teams retreated to their respective clubhouses.

One hour and 27 minutes later, the game officially was postponed, with the Nationals and Phillies scoreless but having each used their starting pitchers.

Gonzalez threw only one inning for the Nats, needing 18 pitches to complete a scoreless first. Rookie left-hander Adam Morgan tossed two scoreless innings for the Phillies.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Gonzalez, who now can’t pitch again for several days. “You’re put in a tough situation, and it just sucks. I’ve been waiting four days, and that’s what happens. I mean, this rain kind of caught us all off-guard. I mean, we didn’t know it was coming for like three days, so…”

Gonzalez’s sarcastic response represented the tenor throughout the Nationals clubhouse, and even the majority of the Phillies clubhouse, where players expressed shock the game ever began.

The Nationals would have been perfectly fine with a decision to postpone the game before it ever started, given the ominous forecast and the fact they were fielding a makeshift lineup that included only one regular (shortstop Ian Desmond). Outfielders Bryce Harper and Denard Span, plus third baseman Yunel Escobar, all were dealing with nagging injuries that prevented them from playing Saturday.

They also would have preferred the rainout be made up in September rather than Sunday’s scheduled 1:05 p.m. doubleheader, because now they must both find a fill-in starting pitcher while also playing two games back-to-back with an injury-plagued roster of position players.

Williams said Stephen Strasburg will start Sunday’s opener as originally planned. The Nationals won’t name their starter for the nightcap until the first game ends.

MLB allows teams to add a 26th player from the minors for the second game of doubleheaders, but the Nationals may not necessarily send that player to the mound to start Game 2. If Strasburg pitches deep into the first game, Tanner Roark could possibly start the second game, with a call-up available out of the bullpen.

“It depends on where we’re at and what we’re doing,” Williams said. “We’ll see how Game 1 goes and adjust from there. But we have to get through the first one first.”

The Nationals have a few options for that 26th position. Joe Ross, who impressed during his first three career starts earlier this month, just started Thursday for Class AAA Syracuse, which takes him out of consideration. Right-hander Taylor Jordan was scheduled to start Saturday night for the Chiefs in Indianapolis but was scratched about an hour before first pitch, likely setting him up to fly to Philadelphia and join the Nationals.

The Nats also could call up right-hander Taylor Hill, scheduled to start Sunday for Syracuse.

The Phillies will stick with scheduled starter Kevin Correia in Game 1 and will call up right-hander Severino Gonzalez to start the nightcap, which will begin 25 minutes after the first game ends.

  1. stpnat - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    I thought the umps made the call?Really low grade gamesmanship by the Phillies. Any drunk with a weather app could this train load of rain coming. The baseball gods are fickle but a sweep would be mega sweet

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:20 PM

      The umps once had control once the pitcher took the mound. Could have stopped it then, but were boneheaded and didn’t.

      Obviously we have known for years the Phillies are clawless. We saw the forecast last night and knew there was no chance to play.

      Haven’t looked at the forecast.

  2. Danny - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:16 PM

    Taylor Hill scheduled to pitch tomorrow for Syracuse, he’ll likely be the guy.

  3. manassasnatsfan - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:21 PM

    Taylor Jordan scheduled tonight let’s see if he gets pulled too.

  4. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:24 PM

    Perhaps their weather guy resigned before the game?

  5. Hiram Hover - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    Pretty shameful–which is par for the course in Philly these days.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:44 PM

      Ditto. With Strasburg and one of the Syracuse arsonists starting tomorrow Robinson may be called on to save the bullpen again.

  6. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:45 PM

    I suggest drilling their manager when he comes out with the lineup card tomorrow.

    • rmoore446 - Jun 27, 2015 at 5:52 PM

      Funny line. Weird but funny.

  7. masterfishkeeper - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    Why can’t Roark start tomorrow?

    And it’s not the the Phillies have a great starter ready to use tomorrow. Maybe they move O’Sullivan up?

  8. laddieblahblah - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    Andrew Stevenson went 2 for 5 in his pro debut yesterday, but was caught attempting to steal 2nd. Good to see him wasting no time before getting to work.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:38 PM

      Not too shabby and it will be interesting where they place him after Auburn.

  9. weprayforhisbuttocks - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:14 PM

    Why didn’t the Nats throw one of the bullpen guys out there instead of Gio to eat up the inning or so before the inevitable postponement?

    • rabbit433 - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:39 PM

      Too logical.

      • drazthegr8 - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:18 PM

        I’m just glad MW didn’t give Scherzer another few innings…

    • lphboston - Jun 28, 2015 at 7:57 AM

      Because Williams probably didn’t even think of it.

    • thisizit - Jun 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      That would just burn the bullpen — it would not have allowed Gio to pitch on Sunday.

  10. natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:20 PM

    Have been doing other stuff since the delay started but can’t say I’m surprised that they weren’t able to resume play. I’d be inclined to chalk it up to disarray on the Phoolies’ part rather than their trying to throw a wrench in the Nats works, but who knows.

  11. manassasnatsfan - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:21 PM

    What is the forecast for tomorrow?

  12. tcostant - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:27 PM

    Williams blew it. He had all the answers ahead of time, then start the game wiyh the pen.

    • Danny - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:33 PM

      If anyone’s start could be wasted, glad it was Gio

      • natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:36 PM

        Glad it wasn’t Super Max.

  13. natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:32 PM says high of 78 and partly cloudy tomorrow:

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:34 PM


      • natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:35 PM


  14. Section 222 - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:09 PM

    Apologies to MNF. He’s right that the umps could have called the game before it started. This is Rule 4.01(b):

    (d) As soon as the home team’s batting order is handed to the umpire-in-chief the umpires are in charge of the playing field and from that moment they shall have sole authority to determine when a game shall be called, suspended or resumed on account of weather or the condition of the playing field.

    Question is, why didn’t they do it? Second question is, why didn’t MW send Treinen or Roark to pitch the beginning of the game? Yes, the Phillies are jerks. (Was this payback for the crappy music we played during their batting practice? If so, they got us good.) But, you can’t really complain when it was obvious to Gio and the rest of the Nats that a huge storm was on the way.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:37 PM

      Well, it wasn’t raining when the game started. For the umps to call it at that point they would have needed access to an up to the minute weather forecast. Who would have provided them with that forecast? The Phillies, that’s who.

      Which doesn’t excuse MW for not starting a reliever instead of Gio. He can’t say that starting a reliever is an idea that would never have crossed his mind, because the Rays did it to him just last week! And he can’t say that no one on the team had access to a weather forecast, because everyone on the team has a smart phone and they’re allowed to use them in the clubhouse before the game. He literally has no excuse for not anticipating the situation and going with a reliever instead of Gio to start the game.

      • stoatva - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:44 PM

        I’ll bet somebody on that team has an iPad.

      • Section 222 - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:22 PM

        The umps have smart phones too. I can’t imagine they didn’t know the weather forecast.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 27, 2015 at 10:09 PM

        any one in philly have a smart phone ?

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jun 27, 2015 at 11:10 PM

        Umps do not have smart phones with them when they’re standing at home plate getting the lineup cards. That’s why you see them consulting with the home team groundskeeper to get the weather forecast during the games.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      As soon as ump was handed the card and we knew the radar, jus put the tarp down. Both starters would have stretched and king tossed. Adams Morgan would have some moubd, Gio probably not.

      I place this on Phillies front office than the ump.

  15. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:17 PM

    TG Nats have Monday off.

  16. natsjackinfl - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:22 PM

    Without reading any comments, all I can say is “Suck it up buttercup! ” This is the big leagues. Let’s get 2 tomorrow!

    • natslive - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:23 PM


  17. Section 222 - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:23 PM

    Stanton out with a broken hand. McCutcheon hit in the elbow today, X-rays negative but he could be out. Esco hit in the hand, and we don’t know how long he’ll be out.

    Will the tough guys who insist the Nats should throw at people intentionally ever understand that a baseball can be very dangerous and no one should EVER throw it intentionally at another player?

    • Jfmii - Jun 27, 2015 at 8:59 PM


    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:06 PM

      When you do throw at them you throw at their but not hand, elbow or head.

      • Section 222 - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:32 PM

        Doesn’t matter. A few inches higher than the butt and you’ve got the back or the kidney. Cutch was out with a bruised rib last year from a pitch that hit him in the back. Bryce was hurt by a pitch in the back.

        Intentional HBPs have zero deterrent value. And they risk serious injury. It’s stupid to do it, and even stupider to call for it.

    • Section 222 - Jun 27, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      Since I’m sure someone will point it out, Stanton was not hit by a pitch. Sorry for suggesting otherwise. McCutcheon, Esco, (and Werth) were.

    • npb99 - Jun 28, 2015 at 11:03 AM

      Are stars being thrown at more than others, or is it just that the press only plays it up when it’s a star? (Honest question, not rhetorical one – I’m curious.)

      • Section 222 - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:18 PM

        No idea. And I don’t think the pitches that hit Cutch or Bryce or Esco were thrown intentionally. My point is that the damage that a HBP can do, ought to give pause to the tough guys who say the Nats should exact retribution by intentionally throwing at their opponents.

  18. stoatva - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    Nats don’t need to play victim here. They can get wunderground on their phones too.

    I’ll bet you that if they’d announced that, say, Rivero was going to start, the game never would have gotten underway in the first place.

  19. rabbit433 - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:41 PM

    How many pitches did Gonzo throw? I didn’t realize how little it took to burn up a starter.

    • Section 222 - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:35 AM

      I know you’re just trolling, but seriously? It always seemed like you knew something about baseball. Guess not.

  20. ArVAFan - Jun 27, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    My usual approach is to never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, but I think I might make an exception for the Phillies.

  21. stpnat - Jun 27, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Only 18, but it is all the routine and build up to the start that gets messed up especially for Gio. Great Point by all those above even with the thin ‘pen using a starter would have been the smart move, Still the umps and the Phills should have done their part

  22. NatsLady - Jun 27, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    The regulars get a rest. The scrubs (and Desi) get at-bats. Gio is miffed.

    The doubleheader tomorrow is the best kind (not a day-nighter).

    The problem (to me) with starting a reliever is you could get in an early hole and the game MIGHT go five innings, stopping and starting. Or, Rivero could go two innings, you put Gio in, and the game is called after three–same result, except you ALSO burned the reliever.

    • NatsLady - Jun 27, 2015 at 8:28 PM

      The situation with Tampa Bay was not the same. It was not weather-related, it was planned that way because they didn’t expect the “starter” to go long into the game.

      • BatBoy - Jun 27, 2015 at 10:22 PM

        NatsLady Rules!!

    • Sonny G 10 - Jun 27, 2015 at 11:24 PM

      I agree with you NatsLady. I was about to post the same thing, but I see you beat me to it. 🙂

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 27, 2015 at 11:48 PM

      LaRussa would have started a reliever today. The Weird Wuss would have started a reliever today. Davey would have started a reliever today. Hell, even Riggleman probably would have started a reliever today. Matt Williams let himself get outsmarted by a dysfunctional organization with an interim manager in his second day on the job. And now Matt Williams is complaining. Why? Because Matt Williams will never, ever admit that he might possibly have made a mistake.

      • rayvil01 - Jun 28, 2015 at 8:26 AM

        Hate on Matt all you want. He’s doing just fine. 0.581 win percentage isn’t too shabby.

  23. stoatva - Jun 27, 2015 at 8:41 PM

    What’s a shame is that because they allowed themselves to be outgamed, they apparently will need to bring up a pitcher instead of some bench depth, which they actually need.

    This one’s on the Nats. 100%.

  24. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    One hundred percent of this is on the Phils. All of the money from today’s game — except some of the concessions — and tomorrow’s game was already in the bank at 3:00 p.m.. However, if the game were postponed to a later date, even until tomorrow, some fans would have taken their rain checks and cannibalized the gate at some other game of their choice. If the game were rescheduled for, say, September 4, and today’s fans allowed to use their tickets for that game, the Phillies would have incurred the expense of putting on that game — in addition to a significant part of the expense for today’s game (all the employees showed up today, right?) — but fallen short of optimizing the no. of paying customers.

    It might not have amounted to much – maybe $150K in ticket sales — but when you’re in 30th place in a 30 -eam league such comparatively small sums are noticed.

    • Section 222 - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:30 PM

      Theo, that makes no sense. They could have delayed the start and collected all the same beer money from fans waiting around before calling it. Today’s fans get rainchecks because the game wasn’t official. The fans can cannibalize all they want. Tomorrow’s fans get two games for the price of one. It didn’t advantage the Phils financially one iota to start this game rather than postponing it.

      The more I think about it, the more I think this might have been payback for the slow jazzy music caper the Nats pulled. And the Nats didn’t do anything to protect themselves.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 28, 2015 at 7:35 AM

        Bluegrass rules. That is all.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jun 27, 2015 at 11:39 PM

      The Phillies reportedly were playing bluegrass during the Nats BP on Friday as retaliation for the slow jams played during Phillies BP at Nationals Park. Isn’t that enough?

      • Section 222 - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:36 AM

        That’s pretty funny. What’s next? Barry Manilow?

      • ArVAFan - Jun 28, 2015 at 8:12 AM

        I’m afraid so. Not only that, Barry Manilow elevator muzak.

  25. manassasnatsfan - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    Interesting stat for the LOD.

    First team to 50 wins since 2000 only 1 has won the World Series. The 2005 White Sox

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    Well, at least the Phillies didn’t get rained out in a domed stadium. On Opening Day.

    OK, to be fair, it was only a delay. Still.

  27. zmunchkin - Jun 28, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    Hindsight is 20-20 so it is easy to say that MW should have started a reliever. This really was a no-win scenario. And maybe he decided that since Gio is the starter most likely to have early trouble, that starting him was the best option/worth the risk.

    And WRT to the umpires calling the game once they got the line-up cards, seems to me like the umpires need to trust that the home team is being honest.

    And does everyone remember a couple of years ago when I think both the Nats and the Phillies called a game before it started due to rain, and there was none?

    Weather is unpredictable. I went to the 4pm game last Thursday and the forecast was calling 100% change of rain. I check radar in the second inning because the sky was starting to look ominous. And there was a large and wide band of heavy rain almost on top of DC. But it stalled and then headed north. So the entire game was played with only a few sprinkles and no delay.

    • stoatva - Jun 28, 2015 at 8:41 AM

      Hindsight is 20-20 so it is easy to say that MW should have started a reliever.

      In fairness, a lot of us said it beforehand. There were risks either way, of course, and Matt made his choice and that’s the way it is. But blaming the Phillies is lame. They played their little game and we got snookered.

      Fortunately, they may be the one team bad enough not to be able to capitalize on it. Let’s hope.

    • stoatva - Jun 28, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      Also, not sure where you saw 100% chance of rain Thursday. Here’s the Post’s Capital Weather Gang:

      Nationals vs. Braves
      4:05 p.m., Thursday, June 25, Nationals Park

      Heat and humidity are back, but hopefully (and our best bet is that) storms will hold off until after the game. And, if not, they should be of the scattered variety …

      First pitch: Mostly cloudy, isolated shower/storm, upper 80s.

      9th inning: Cloudy, scattered storms, mid-80s.

      Chance of rain: 50 percent

      Chance of delay: 40 percent

      Chance of postponement: 15 percent

    • unkyd59 - Jun 28, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      Just curious-not complaining; zmunch… Why “WRT”, rather than “re:”, which is an instantly recognizable and time honored abbv.? The first few times I saw this, I was scratching my rusty ol’ noggin for a minnit, working the context… As I said, just curious…

      • zmunchkin - Jun 29, 2015 at 7:54 AM

        Hmmm. In my field, WRT (With Respect To or With Regard To for those who are curious, but not that curious to look it up), has been around forever – before acronyms became common.

  28. NatsLady - Jun 28, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    Going to Philadelphia. Anyone who can get to Foggy Bottom metro by 10:00 can come with me. Extra credit if you being an EZ-Pass.

    • NatsLady - Jun 28, 2015 at 8:18 AM


    • NatsLady - Jun 28, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      No takers? OK, on my way! Bye.

      • natslive - Jun 28, 2015 at 11:06 AM

        Way to go NL! Cheer our Nats to victory.





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