Postponement poses inconvenience to both clubs prior to travel day
By Mike Bauman
WASHINGTON -- Which team, the Nationals or the Dodgers, gains the edge from the postponement of Game 2 of their National League Division Series?
The correct answer is: Neither. It's the postseason. The players went to Spring Training in mid-February, spent six weeks there, then played 162 games over six months to reach this point. They don't want to wait to play these games.
And the postponement of Saturday's game means that the Nats and the Dodgers will be playing Game 2 Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (live on FS1) on what was to be an off-day. Sunday will become both a game day and then a cross-continental travel day for both clubs. Game 3 will be played as scheduled in Los Angeles on Monday.
Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the postponement before the scheduled game time Saturday. Manfred cited weather reports that indicated the rain that had started Saturday morning would persist through at least 8 p.m. Even after that, the forecasts called for heavy mists throughout much of the evening.
"We try to make the best decision that we can," said Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo. "Obviously, with these games, the impact of these games, these aren't one person's decisions. The Commissioner himself is in the room and he had the final call, but we just looked at the radar, we talked to all the pertinent people and decided this was the course to take.
"Nobody wants to cancel this game. Nobody wants to play on a travel day. But that's the way it is and it's the same for both teams, so we've got to go with that."
There was some thought that with the Nationals thinner in starting pitching now, the rainout would be an advantage for them. But a one-day postponement doesn't change the NLDS landscape that much. Three straight days of rain would get the Nationals back to scheduled Game 2 starter Tanner Roark and their ace, Max Scherzer. But there is no forecast calling for rainfall of biblical proportions here.
Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy was asked if, after a difficult defeat in Game 1, the team would be helped by a break in the action.
"I don't know, that's a good question," Murphy said. "Everybody came in here prepared to play today, not only in this clubhouse, but obviously in the Dodgers' clubhouse. We'll have to see [Sunday]."
On the plus side, the teams were not made to sit through an interminable wait before the postponement decision was made.
"We get to go home at a decent hour, spend some time with the family," Murphy said. "Hats off to Major League Baseball for canceling this early. I'm sure they didn't want either [starting] pitcher to get out there and then you lose one of them, especially in a short series like this. We'll go at 1 p.m. [Sunday], but they got us out of here in good time today. My hat's off to Major League Baseball on that one."
A rainout is always a cause for general disappointment, doubly so in the case of a postseason game with so much at stake. But a rainout is also not a new development for professional baseball players.
"It's not the first time we've ever been canceled," Murphy said with a smile. "Again, we were ready to play, but looking at it, we all had an idea that it wasn't going to be on time, so I don't think guys really launched full bore. We were still kind of waiting to see when the start time would be. So I don't think everybody got to full brew, to say the least."
Presumably, the Nationals and the Dodgers will get to "full brew" Sunday at Nationals Park for Game 2. Sunday will be a long day. Monday will be a quick turnaround. What was lost with this rainout was not anyone's competitive advantage, but some of everyone's convenience.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.