As the rain falls ... (start of tonight's game officially delayed)

Rain continues to fall at Nationals Park, and based on the radar that we're all looking at in the press box, there's no sign of things letting up for a while.

If this was June, it'd be an easy call to bang this one tonight and reschedule the game for later in the season. But in late September, postponements are tough because of scheduling issues. The only possible option other than waiting it out tonight is playing two tomorrow, which is a getaway day for both the Nats and the Marlins.

The latter option is the one Davey Johnson would prefer.

"I'd like to call it early and play a doubleheader," Johnson said. "It's easier on everybody. So that said, we'll probably be here until 1 (a.m.). We'll be like the Orioles and Rays."

Across the field, in the Marlins clubhouse, manager Mike Redmond was telling Miami reporters that he was under the impression the Nats wanted to try and play tonight.

"Nobody really wants to play a doubleheader on getaway day," Redmond said. "I think we'll wait it out and see what happens.

"I anticipate we'll play this game tonight no matter what."

Uh, ok. I think it might be wise for these two teams to talk this one out for a bit and get on the same page. Based on the forecast, rain isn't supposed to be an issue tomorrow, which could make postponing tonight's game a bit more likely.

Complicating matters a bit for the Nationals is that Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start tonight's game. Strasburg would be making his first start since Sept. 8 after twice being scratched from a scheduled start due to lingering right forearm tightness.

"It's raining hard and Strasburg's pitching, so that's even worse," said Johnson, who was then asked how the Nats would handle a delay tonight. "How is he going to handle it? That's the question. Hopefully, we'll have a big window and it won't be a problem."

Jayson Werth is in tonight's Nats lineup after being taken out of last night's game in the eighth due to what Johnson called "tired legs." Werth said last night that he was fine, and he is indeed scheduled to play right field and bat third tonight.

"He's going to have to come tell me he can't go," Johnson said. "Maybe I can get five innings out of him, a couple of doubles. It's that time of year, boy."

Meanwhile, even though Johnson is monitoring the current series between the Reds and Pirates, one that is absolutely crucial to the Nats' slim postseason hopes, he's also keeping tabs on the Cardinals, with the Nats set to head into St. Louis on Monday for a three-game series.

The Cardinals currently lead the National League Central by two games, but Johnson seems to already be looking forward to the idea of playing spoiler in St. Louis. After all, the Nats will be facing the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

"It would be nice to come in there and play well against them and tighten (the NL Central race) up even further," Johnson said. "Nothing worse than thinking about winning a division then losing it and having a one-game (wild card) playoff. That would be the absolute worst thing.

"First of all, they swept us here (this season), and then they didn't do us any favors last year. So I'd like to get back on an even keel with them."

A quick scheduling note for those who were planning on coming to the park tonight: A pregame ceremony honoring Johnson that was scheduled for tonight has been postponed to tomorrow. Now we'll have to see if tonight's game is, as well.

Update: About 20 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch, we've been told that the start of tonight's game will officially be delayed.

Not exactly shocking news there. What is a bit surprising is that they're going to try and get this game in tonight, despite the fact that they're calling for rain for the next few hours.

I'll keep you all posted on any further updates as they come.

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