It was a game that officially took two hours and 59 minutes to play. But, in reality, it had another three hours and 17 minutes of a rain delay sandwiched inside the regular game.
Also crucial to the victory was the bullpen’s ability to stay focused and hold the Dodgers scoreless for the final five innings of the game.
Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett said it felt like everyone had a hand in this one.
“The team won the game,” Barrett said. “Rendon hit the home run. Espi hit the home run. Jordan (Zimmermann) pitched four great innings, and the rest of the bullpen shut it down. I was just the next guy in line that gets the ‘W’ in front of my name. It was just a great team win.”
After waiting around during the rain delay, passing the time by watching the Wizards beat the Pacers and listening to Drew Storen (Indiana fan) and Gio Gonzalez (Wizards fan) go back and forth over the NBA game in the clubhouse, it was time to play baseball. That is when Barrett found out he was going in. He knew he had a little bit of time to get ready.
“I found out about like 30 minutes,” Barrett said. “So like 11:10 p.m., I think it was an 11:40 p.m., start. So they told me I was going out. I just treated like if they had called down in the fifth inning. Just treat it like I was going in in the fifth inning, so just try not to make too much of it.”
The announced crowd was 25,447, but after all that rain and a temperature drop of 10 degrees to 54, a few dozen still remained behind each dugout to cheer on their team.
“Felt like spring training,” Barrett said. “Like you’re in Kissimmee, (Fla.,) there’s not a lot of fans. Regardless, you just got to go out there and make pitches and get guys out.”
Barrett broke down the mentality the bullpen had to have to remained focused on getting the win after being handed a rain-delayed 2-0 lead.
“When a game’s like that, when your starter is only allowed to go four innings, we were able to use one guy at a time,” Barrett said. “Jerry (Blevins), Drew, (Tyler) Clippard and (Rafael) Soriano did an awesome job and they have been consistent all year. So it has been fun to watch them. Obviously for me personally, I am trying to do my job (on) my end of the bullpen and let those guys do their job behind me.”
Matt Williams said they had hoped it would out this way. His formula? Set up his five relievers to get five innings and win the game.
“That is how you plan it,” Williams said. “It doesn’t always go to plan. But tonight that was the way we planned it. We wanted Aaron to come in there for the fifth and Jerry for the sixth and set up the back of the bullpen for the remainder of the game. Put (Soriano) in there regardless tonight because we certainly wait around that long, you want to win that game and he didn’t get a save out of it. But he did finish it for us.”
Williams was proud his bullpen was able to figure it out because they knew they had few options for pitching on Tuesday. Blake Treinen will be called up to start the game.
“In fact, (if) we can’t play that game than that game is washed out and potentially a day/night tomorrow, then we are in rough shape,” Williams said. “So I am glad we stuck it out and were able to win it. We don’t have to worry about two tomorrow, we just have to worry about one.”