Opener postponed, split doubleheader Sunday

The Nationals’ weekend opener against the Giants was postponed this evening due to rain, but not before another round of confusion and poor communication with a fan base that has grown increasingly frustrated by the club’s handling of these situations.

With more rain in the forecast early Saturday, the two teams will play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, with the originally scheduled 1:35 p.m. game bumped up to 1:05 p.m. and a makeup game now scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets for tonight’s rainout will be honored at the makeup game.

nats-park-rain-sidebar.jpgEdwin Jackson, tonight’s originally scheduled starter, will now pitch Saturday night, the Nationals said. That means Max Scherzer, originally scheduled to pitch Saturday, is now likely to start one of Sunday’s games, with A.J. Cole starting the other.

Both teams were able to go through their normal pregame routines under cloudy, but dry skies today, but about 25 minutes prior to first pitch the Nationals Park grounds crew began unfurling the tarp and covered up the infield.

The rain arrived shortly after 7 p.m., with heavy rain and lightning descending on the area around 7:45 p.m. Given the slow movement of the storm approaching from the west, the odds of conditions improving enough to play in a timely manner were minimal, though the rain briefly diminished to a drizzle after 9 p.m. before picking up again.

By then, the decision to postpone apparently had already been made, with players from both teams seen leaving their clubhouses in street clothes, grounds crew members seen removing equipment from the field and reporters who cover the Giants summoned to interview manager Bruce Bochy. An official announcement didn’t come from the Nationals (via their Twitter account) until 9:47 p.m. The message was not conveyed on the scoreboard until 9:52 p.m., at which point the few fans who still remained booed.

The announcement that the makeup doubleheader would be played Sunday came at 9:59 p.m.

Because this is the Giants’ only trip to Washington this season, Major League Baseball had the final say on the delay and postponement.

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