What does today have in store for the Nationals? It should be a fairly straightforward question, but the way things have been going around here lately, anything and everything feels possible.
If the day goes according to plan, the Nats and Phillies will play 14 innings of baseball, beginning at 12:05 p.m. We don’t yet know who’s pitching either of those games, but Patrick Corbin was supposed to start Wednesday’s game before it was postponed, and Max Scherzer was supposed to start today’s original series finale.
Of course, there’s no guarantee either of them takes the mound, for multiple reasons.
And what if Scherzer is traded before the nightcap of the doubleheader? There’s been a line of thinking for several days now that a club interested in acquiring the 37-year-old ace will want his next start to be in that uniform, not a Nationals uniform.
Then again, what if one or both games are postponed because the COVID-19 outbreak remains uncontained? Everyone with the Nats traveling party was set to take another round of rapid tests Wednesday evening, and if there are any more positive results on top of the 12 (four players, eight staffers) who already tested positive, there’s a chance Major League Baseball would postpone again.
And we haven’t even gotten to the possibility of other trades in advance of Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline, with Daniel Hudson, Brad Hand, Josh Harrison, Kyle Schwarber, Yan Gomes and others potentially on their way out.
Given all that uncertainty, manager Davey Martinez planned to be on the phone much of Wednesday night with general manager Mike Rizzo, mapping out various contingency plans. At minimum, the Nationals will need to replace four players on the active roster due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They have to be prepared to replace more if others test positive or someone is traded.
And then there’s the coaching staff, which appears to have been hit hard and will need some temporary fill-ins for the time being.
It all makes for another potentially wild day, just the latest in a growing string of them for this team.
Oh, and one last thing: There’s a 70 percent chance of rain in Philadelphia all afternoon and evening.