No two days at the ballpark are ever alike, but it’s safe to say today at Nationals Park isn’t going to be like any previous day in the stadium’s 10-year history.
What was originally supposed to be an off-day on the schedule instead turned into an unusual, pseudo-doubleheader against the Yankees, thanks to a whole lot of rain when the Bronx Bombers were in town last month. The May 15 game that was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning with the score tied 3-3 will be completed today, beginning at 5:05 p.m. Then, 30 minutes after that game concludes, the May 16 rainout that never got started will be played in its entirety.
So there’s a guaranteed minimum of 12 innings of baseball to be played today, possibly more if nobody scores in the remaining three innings of the suspended game.
Oh, also it’s going to be 92 degrees when the teams take the field shortly after 5 p.m. So we’ve all got that going for us, as well.
Who, though, will be taking the field for both teams? It’s not a simple answer, and we’ll get to that in just a moment. Here are as many answers as I can provide to the questions you most likely have right now ...
What tickets will get me into the ballpark tonight?
The only tickets that will get you in are rain checks from the May 16 rainout, the originally scheduled second game of the series last month. Tickets from the May 15 suspended game aren’t good anymore, because that was considered an official game for those purposes. A May 16 ticket gets you in for any and all baseball played today. I’m told there also are a limited number of seats still available for purchase by the Nationals, but there aren’t many because the original game was going to be close to a sellout.
How does the resumption of the suspended game work?
Basically, they’re just going to pick up right where they left off, with the Nationals and Yankees tied 3-3 and heading to the bottom of the sixth. The Yankees will take the field first, with the Nats up at bat. Bryce Harper, the No. 2 hitter from the original game, is leading off, with Anthony Rendon on deck and Matt Adams in the hole.
Wait, Adams might be hurt. What happens if he can’t play?
We’ll find out later today if Adams’ left index finger has healed enough for him to play. If not, the Nats simply will need to send up a pinch-hitter for him, then replace him in left field - yes, he was playing left field at the time - for the top of the seventh.
Are there any other players from the suspended game who aren’t able to return to play tonight?
Yes, several. Howie Kendrick is the Nationals’ No. 5 hitter and second baseman. He’s out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Andrew Stevenson is the No. 7 hitter and center fielder. He has since been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. So Davey Martinez can replace those guys with anyone else who is currently on the active roster.
So who’s available to enter the game for the Nats off the bench now?
Barring any more roster moves before the game, the available bench players will be: Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Juan Soto, Wilmer Difo, Michael A. Taylor, Brian Goodwin and Spencer Kieboom. Oh, and Max Scherzer, of course. Cause who wouldn’t want to see him pinch-hit in this game?
Who’s pitching for both teams?
When the game was suspended, Wander Suero was the Nationals’ pitcher. So he could return to pitch the top of the seventh. But everybody else in the bullpen is now available, because only Gio Gonzalez pitched before Suero that night. So Martinez might decide to have multiple guys warming up, then see whether they take the lead in the bottom of the sixth or not before making his choice. The Yankees will need to insert a reliever, because when the game was suspended, Brett Gardner had just pinch-hit for starter Masahiro Tanaka.
Are the stats from the suspended game already included in everyone’s season totals?
Yes, the stats already show up on the ledger. The teams’ records just haven’t been updated to reflect the outcome. Any more stats from the remainder of this game will show up in the completed May 15 boxscore.
Wait a minute ... Juan Soto was still in the minors when this game began, but he’s now eligible to play in the resumption of the game. If that happens, would this now be considered his major league debut?
I don’t know an official answer on this fascinating question, but logic certainly says the answer is yes. If Soto plays in this game, it will become his major league debut, five days before the real one occurred. Turns out some people really do get a second chance to make a first impression!
When will the second game start?
That game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, no matter when it ends. So if the first game ends before 6:35 p.m., the second game could actually begin before the typical 7:05 p.m. start time.
Who’s pitching the second game?
Davey Martinez said Erick Fedde will make the start. He’s on regular rest from his last start, which also came against the Yankees. Sonny Gray, who also faced the Nats last time out, will start for New York.
Are the Nats actually going to win one or both of these games?