Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Nats Can’t Win If They Score Zero Runs

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May 14, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; A general view of Petco Park during a rain delay in the first inning between the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It was raining before the game started, but stopped about a half an hour before game time. It sprinkled and spit rain on and off most of the evening. I was watching the radar on and off during the game and realized that there was a large batch of rain incoming that looked like it would hit Nationals Park somewhere about the fifth or sixth inning.

It started raining hard right at the beginning of the sixth inning, before a pitch was thrown. The umpires made no move to call a rain delay. It rained all through the sixth and seventh innings. It rained harder, and harder and harder. Still the game continued. The head grounds keeper was standing near the tarp looking like his head was about to explode. Batters were having to constantly wipe their eyes and helmets. Pitchers were dealing with wet balls and occasional loss of control of pitches.

The wet ball probably contributed to the two unearned runs scored by the Rays in the top of the eighth. As the game went the top of the eighth inning, it was raining harder. Puddles were forming on the infield. On a routine ground ball back to the pitcher Blake Treinen hit by Steven Souza, the throw from Treinen to first sailed over Danny Espinosa’s head. Harper, backing up the play, picked up the ball and threw it totally off target trying to stop Souza and lead runner David DeJesus from taking any more bases. They both scored on Harper’s wild throw as the ball went into the dugout.

The umpires finally called a rain delay in the middle of the eighth inning. The delay didn’t last long because they waited until the rain was nearly past the area to stop the game. The grounds crew had to put a ton of diamond dry on the infield to get the playing surface in shape to continue the game.

Based on the information available on radar, the umpires should have called the rain delay when the heavy rain started at the top of the sixth and allowed the grounds crew to get the tarp down. There would not have been the need to treat the infield and the players would not have been playing in sub optimal conditions.

Next: Nats Fans Give Good Ovation For Souza