They waited through a couple early, quick downpours. Then they waited through an hour of dry skies with patches of blue above South Capitol Street. But once another downpour struck the area nearly two hours after scheduled first pitch and rain continued to fall for another hour, the Nationals postponed tonight's series opener against the Phillies.
The two teams will play a split doubleheader Wednesday, with the makeup game starting at 1:05 p.m. and the regularly scheduled game starting at 7:05 p.m.
Patrick Corbin and Jake Arrieta, originally scheduled to start tonight, both will be pushed back to pitch Tuesday. The clubs didn't immediately announce pitching plans for Wednesday's doubleheader, but they will be allowed to call up a 26th man for one of the games. With seven games now scheduled over the next six days, they'll need to promote someone not currently in the big leagues for one of the starts.
What was shaping up to be an intriguing opener to a key, four-game series between National League East rivals instead turned into an agonizing washout, one that did feature heavy bouts of precipitation but also prolonged stretches of time in which baseball could have been played without any disruption.
The first round of rain came around 5:30 p.m., forcing the abrupt halting of the Phillies' batting practice. The next round came around 6:40 p.m., at which point the Nationals announced the start of the game would be delayed.
Things did clear up, though, and parts of the field and stands were awash in sunlight for a good stretch of time. Corbin made his way into right field and began to warm up with catcher Yan Gomes. But with storm cells hovering nearby and threatening to move over the neighborhood, the game remained in a delay, and eventually Corbin and Co. retreated to the clubhouse.
It would be nearly 9 p.m. before heavy rain returned, at which point fans were asked to take cover under the concourse. Many headed for the exits.
Finally, at 9:58 p.m., the official announcement was made that the game was postponed.