More on Sunday's rain-shortened loss in Atlanta

ATLANTA - A few more thoughts after Sunday's rain-shortened, 6-2 loss to the Braves ...

* The Nationals wanted to try to get the entire game in. They weren't pushing for the umps to call it in the seventh inning. But conditions got to the point where Dusty Baker didn't feel comfortable letting his players re-take the field.

As the second rain delay dragged on during in the bottom of the seventh, Baker came out from the clubhouse to examine the infield, which the Turner Field grounds crew had been working on repairing for a good half-hour. At that point, the Nationals manager conceded the game would have to be called, though it still wasn't for a while longer, not until it actually started pouring again.


"The league office wouldn't let us call it at that time, because we were behind and we're in a pennant race," Baker said. "But I went outside, and I thought for the safety of my players ... the infield was like quicksand and had a bunch of Diamond Dry on it. And I said: 'No, we can't afford to get anybody hurt,' so we called the game. As soon as we called the game, I heard another rain storm came. So it's supposed to clear up, they say at about 10 o'clock, but the field would've been unplayable at that time."

It was perhaps a fitting final game for the Nationals at Turner Field, the site of so many rain delays and long games over the last dozen years.

* If you were wondering, and you know you were, the Nationals' final record at Turner Field was 49-61. They posted a winning record here only three times, going 5-4 in 2008 and 2012, then 6-3 this season.

The Nationals finished this season 15-4 against the Braves, which matched their best-ever single-season record against any opponent. They also went 15-4 against the Mets in 2014.

* Many wondered the last few days why it seemed Bryce Harper was playing so shallow in right field. Those questions only intensified Sunday when a couple of batted balls sailed over his head.

Were the Nationals instructing Harper to move in, based on some scouting reports? According to Baker, no. He did it on his own.

"(Outfield coach) Davey Lopes had mentioned that to him," Baker said. "He said: 'You're playing a little too shallow.' So I can't blame the defensive positioning. I was going to ask himself why was he playing so shallow, especially when there wasn't an opportunity to throw anybody out. He didn't think those guys had enough power to get it over his head. There were three or four balls that went to the wall."

* Clint Robinson took a pitch off the inside of his left elbow, but he appears to have avoided any serious damage. Though Robinson wound up coming out of the game, that was part of a double-switch designed to make sure the pitcher's spot wouldn't come up in the lineup for a couple innings.

"It hit him in the meat," Baker said. "It's black and blue. Fortunately for him and us, it didn't hit him in the joint."

* Pitching matchups for the next three nights in Miami: A.J. Cole vs. Wei-Yin Chen on Monday, Tanner Roark vs. Jose Fernandez on Tuesday, Max Scherzer vs. Tom Koehler on Wednesday.

* Oh, and strictly for your planning purposes ... with the magic number still six, the Nationals are highly unlikely to clinch the NL East title until they get to Pittsburgh this weekend. In order to clinch Wednesday night in Miami, they would need to sweep the Marlins while the Braves sweep the Mets. It's mathematically possible, but pretty darn unlikely. So everyone can probably save the champagne until at least Friday night at PNC Park.

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