Game postponed after two delays, true doubleheader Saturday

They waited 1 hour, 21 minutes for the first storm to clear out and then started the game.

They played for 23 minutes, completing the first inning and the first two outs of the second inning, before the second wave of rain became too intense and forced both teams to leave the field.

And then after another 2 hours, 54 minutes spent watching the heavens open up again, then stop, the Nationals’ game against the Cubs was finally postponed, some 4 1/2 hours after it was originally scheduled to begin.

Nats-Park-Skittles-Tarp-Sidebar.jpgIt was, to put it mildly, an agonizing and frustrating night for anyone who set foot inside Nationals Park and endured through it all.

The game must now be replayed in its entirety, and that will happen via a single-admission doubleheader Saturday beginning at 3:05 p.m. Only tickets for Saturday’s originally scheduled 7:05 p.m. game will be honored for the doubleheader. Tickets from tonight’s game must be exchanged for any available ticket to a future 2018 game.

This was supposed to be a triumphant return by Joe Ross, some 14 months removed from Tommy John surgery. And Ross looked quite impressive facing seven Chicago batters, with a fastball that consistently sat at 95-96 mph and topped out at 97 mph.

Ross allowed a two-out bloop single to Anthony Rizzo in the top of the first, then hit Kris Bryant with his next pitch. But those were the only Cubs to reach base against him.

Jon Lester faced only three Nationals batters in the bottom of the first, allowing a leadoff single to Adam Eaton but getting Trea Turner to ground into a double play and Bryce Harper to fly out to center.

With the rain picking up again, Ross returned to the mound for the top of the second, struck out David Bote on a slider and got Willson Contreras to pop up to the catcher. That’s when the umpiring crew called for the tarp, and that’s when the second delay began.

They waited it out, even allowing the rain to end, at which point both managers, two umpires and a handful of players emerged on the field for a conversation shortly before 11 p.m. It still took another 45 minutes, though, before the game was called.

Now they’ll have to start it all over again Saturday afternoon. Max Scherzer will start the opener at 3:05 p.m. against left-hander Jaime Garcia. Cole Hamels will pitch the nightcap for the Cubs against a yet-to-be-named starter for the Nationals (possibly Austin Voth or Jefry Rodriguez).

The Jayson Werth Ring of Honor ceremony will take place between games, the club said.

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