Series opener delayed by rain (Nats lose 7-1)

Rain had been in the forecast all day, and sure enough it came as expected, delaying the start of the Nationals' series opener against the Mets.

For now, the Nats say they plan to begin at 8:10 p.m., hoping the skies clear enough and soon enough to get the full game in as scheduled and avoid a makeup date down the road at some point.

nats-park-rain-delay-made-july-18.jpgIf it comes to that, the Nationals and Mets have options. With New York making two more trips to D.C. this season (June 27-29, September 12-14), there's no need to play a doubleheader this week. In fact, the two teams share a common off-day September 15, creating the possibility of a four-game series with no doubleheaders.

The Nationals, who as the home club ultimately control the decision to play or not until lineup cards are exchanged, might be motivated to play tonight, hoping to take advantage of a Mets team dealing with injuries and poor performance from several key players.

Catcher Travis d'Arnaud is already on the disabled list, and he was joined today by first baseman Lucas Duda, who has a stress fracture in his back. Third baseman David Wright is playing but struggling with his own longstanding back issue.

Meanwhile, the Mets' first two scheduled starting pitchers in this series (Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey) have struggled of late and were beaten up by the Nationals last week at Citi Field. Left-hander Steven Matz is scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon, leaving Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom on the outside looking in for this series.

Update: We are indeed underway after a 1-hour, 7-minute delay. Here's hoping for no more interruptions the rest of the evening.

Update II: Things were going well for Gio Gonzalez, who pitched out of a first-inning jam and then cruised through a 1-2-3 second inning. But then came the top of the third, and with it a flurry of hits by the Mets. Five of them in a row, to be exact, including David Wright's three-run homer off a first-pitch changeup and Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single to right. Most of the base hits were well-struck, a complete reversal of fortune for Gonzalez from his last start against this same opponent. Speaking of reversal of fortunes ... Colon got into some early trouble, allowing three singles in the bottom of the first (capped by Ryan Zimmerman's RBI liner to right field), but he has since retired seven straight and is through three innings on only 36 pitches. It's a 5-1 lead for the Mets.

Update III: Oof, this one has gotten ugly. Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker clubbed back-to-back homers off Gonzalez in the top of the fifth, extending the Mets' lead to 7-1 and knocking Gio out of the game. It's the first time he has allowed seven runs in a start since May 11, 2014.

Update IV: It's over. Five days ago, Gio Gonzalez and the Nats beat Bartolo Colon and the Mets 7-1. Tonight, Bartolo Colon and the Mets beat Gio Gonzalez and the Nats 7-1. The circle of life is complete.

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