- The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Not one inning of baseball has been played at Nationals Park since Sunday, but it’s been memorable for a different reason, as two days of wet weather and a freak injury to the ace pitcher have thrown the Nationals’ 11-game homestand into havoc.

The Nationals (33-38) were supposed to play four games against the Philadelphia Phillies (39-32) from Monday to Thursday. That plan was scrapped early due to storms in the District Monday evening. The teams waited them out — the rain stopped and started, with more ever-present on the radar — before finally calling it off close to 10 p.m.

That game will now be played Wednesday at 1:05 p.m., creating a split doubleheader with Wednesday’s regularly-scheduled game at 7:05 p.m — though rain is once again in the forecast.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said judging when to call a rainout is “not a simple process.”

“We make the best decision we can,” Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan. “We bend over backwards for our fans.”

Nationals right-handed ace Max Scherzer was supposed to start one of the two doubleheader games, but that was before he broke his nose in a batting practice accident Tuesday afternoon. What was supposed to be a casual exercise turned into a medical episode when a ball caromed off his bat the wrong way, up into his face.

The Nationals later announced that Scherzer’s injury altered his status for Wednesday to “TBD.”

“It was a freak accident,” Rizzo said. “These things happen.”

An hour after that announcement, the next one came: Storms caused Tuesday’s game to be postponed, as well. Rather than try to squeeze four games into two days, the Nationals and Phillies rescheduled this one to Sept. 24 as part of another doubleheader.

That means the two division rivals are now slated to play a five-game series in Washington in late September. Both teams currently trail first-place Atlanta (43-31) in the National League East.

As it stands Wednesday morning, Patrick Corbin — who was supposed to pitch Monday’s game, then had his start shifted to Tuesday — will take the mound at Game 1 of the doubleheader, while the starter for Game 2 has yet to be determined. It could be Scherzer, another pitcher on the staff like Erick Fedde, or minor-leaguer Austin Voth — whom the Nationals called up from Triple-A Fresno to take a spot start sometime in the middle of this hectic week.

The last game of the current series will be held Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Washington begins a three-game set at home Friday with Atlanta. 

This is the second trip for Bryce Harper to Washington as a member of the Phillies. He was 5-for-7 in two games with a home run at Nationals Park in early April.

What does it all mean for fans? People who had tickets to either Monday’s or Tuesday’s rained-out games can exchange them for tickets to future home games in 2019, subject to blackout dates and availability, per the Nationals’ postponement policy.

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