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Another Rain Delay... And A Late Night

Jordan Zimmermann's debut is finished. His first big league win is hanging in the balance... and we'll be waiting to see what happens.

At 11:16 -- with two outs in the top of the eighth, and the Nats leading 3-2 -- a hard rain intensified, and umps signaled everybody off the field. The tarp just came back on the field, starting our second rain delay of the night. A scoreboard sign currently says, "Attention fans... DC Metro's last train from the Navy Yard station tonight is leaving at 11:45 p.m. and will make all connections." In other words, if this game resumes, it will happen with almost nobody in the stadium. There are plenty of tree-falling-and-nobody-hears questions here, but let's avoid the metaphysical questions right now. The Nats need win No. 2, no matter the circumstances.

Zimmermann lived up to the hype tonight. He let up one home run, but otherwise, he worked quickly, dared trouble, dodged most of it, and stayed aggressive. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. He threw 72 pitches, 51 strikes.

Tonight's paid attendance was 12,473, lowest in Nats Park history, and only 5,251 larger than the crowd that saw Zimmermann's other performance this year -- on April 9 against Class AAA Rochester.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 20, 2009; 11:26 PM ET
 
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Next: Deals, Debuts, Delays -- And Dukes

Comments

I'll be up and waiting, no matter how long it takes. I'm retired : < }}

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 20, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

This contest may rival that crazy game a few weeks back that ended in the wee hours of the morning after a long rain delayed start. Only a few hundred people stuck around until the bitter end...according to blogger accounts it was crazy.

Posted by: bkriner | April 20, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

chico - how does that compare to last year's ST holder numbers? was tonight part of any of the partial plans?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 20, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Methinks ownership is lighting a fire under Kasten and in turn Rizzo and Acta because of the dropping attendance due to an almost complete lack of wins! Yes, they need win #2 and then some to save those folks' jobs.

Posted by: periculum | April 20, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Chico, I'm hanging in til the bitter end-so let us know as soon as you know if they call this game, k?

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Yep, long night!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 20, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Nervous, this was part of the 21-game Plan C.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I thought the MASN commercials were pretty bad, too ... until I saw that disturbingly creepy burger king spot. caramba.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

This is another reason not to be a season ticket holder. Despite the good pitching duo, nobody wanted to buy are $55 club level seats even thought they were on sale for just $29 a stubhub. My son and I left Leesburg at 6 to attend game and rain was so bad on the greenway that we decided that the game was probably not going to be played. Good choice on our part because the game didn't start until 9:15, with my 14 year-old son we couldn't be three past 10 on a school night.
But as a season ticket holder this is again frustration, with the team so lousy we can't sell the tixs and with them trying to get the game in it's really unfair to continue, specially for those that take metro.

I know its tough but Nat management needs to think more about there fans instead of trying to get a game done. They do this in every rain delay and it sucks

Posted by: Golfersal | April 20, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I meant "few years back," not "few weeks back" before. Tired.

Posted by: bkriner | April 20, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Every home game is part of one of the 21-game plans. They take the 81 games of the season, divide them into four sets of 20 games each, and give everyone Opening Day to make 21-game plans A, B, C and D.

Based on the 11K attendance at the exhibition game (which was mandatory for all 81-game plan holders but not any others) and tonight's 12.5K attendance, you can figure the number of full-season plans sold is probably 10-11,000. That's probably 6-7,000 less than last year, based on last year's lowest attended game which I think was around 20K. The number we don't know is full-season equivalents, which they get by adding the full-season plans to prorated numbers of half-season and partial plans. Last year I believe that number was quoted at around 22K.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 20, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

they seem to be starting back up

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the irony isn't lost on anyone that the only way the Nats can hold onto a lead in the 9th is if there is no 9th. Rain may not be such a bad late-inning strategy.

Posted by: dh2009 | April 20, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Game on! Mock takes the mound. Let's see if the pen can hold the lead!

Posted by: bkriner | April 20, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

And we're back.

Posted by: janus4444 | April 20, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Win and they'll come back. Do whatever it takes to win. Do the "building with youth" down in the minors. Feel the urgency: just find a way to win.

Posted by: periculum | April 20, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

top of 8, 2 outs, nobody on. Mock on for Yunel Escobar - 5-3.
Top of the ninth coming up

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Pray for more rain!!

Posted by: dh2009 | April 20, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

@ Golfersal-

There's always the unused ticket exchange...you can trade them in for a game later this year when the weather won't suck.

Posted by: bkriner | April 20, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

23 fans in the stands now. dunnkey!

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 20, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, after the bottom of the 8th ...
Dunn, leadoff double

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

and at least 20 of the 23 have no idea what a balk is...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Watching on MASN...hardly any fans in the stands but those who are there are loud and rowdy! You'd think the Nats would have had the sense to invite all those left down to the rich bastard seats to whoop it up.

Posted by: bkriner | April 20, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

sounds like most of the dregs are up from Atlanta, with no place better to be anyway

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Are there more people on the field than in the stands?

Posted by: janus4444 | April 20, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, it's nice to see the Nats doing well but there is still going to be a ninth inning and we all know what has happened in the past.
It's really sad if the Nats win that only 23 people will be able to witness a win.
Sorry but management shouldn't allow stuff like this to happen, this game should of been called at about 5pm and save folks the trouble.

Posted by: Golfersal | April 21, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm assuming Belliard can't play in the field, because it would be better to have him pinch hit for Gonzalez and then have Kearns pinch hit for the pitcher.

Posted by: baltova1 | April 21, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

With Metro now closed for the evening, does that mean the ushers left too? I think most, if not all of them take Metro!

Posted by: ChrisinSS | April 21, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

The Nats may be setting a new MLB record for choking with the bases loaded...incredible.

Posted by: bkriner | April 21, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Hanrahan in the 9th with Jones, Kotchman and Francoeur coming up. Hard to see any problems here...

Posted by: baltova1 | April 21, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I would be shocked if there were 15K full-season equivalents this year. And that's bad.

Posted by: jrm212k | April 21, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

With Metro now closed for the evening, does that mean the ushers left too? I think most, if not all of them take Metro!

Posted by: ChrisinSS | April 21, 2009 12:04 AM |

I'm assuming most of them can take buses (they run much later)?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 21, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

In fact, the Nats just set the NL record for most runners left on base in a 9-inning game. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/left_on_base_records.shtml

Posted by: jrm212k | April 21, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Ugh I can't watch this

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 21, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

The Hanrahan train continues? 4 pitch walk to the second batter.

Posted by: swang30 | April 21, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

@bkriner
thanks for the advise on being able to change unused tickets. But I just looked and what my choices are is six games but here is the thing that sucks about the unused ticket program. I paid $55 for club level seats, what the Nationals will do is exchange my great $55 seats for $10 seats up in the far reaches of the stadium. So it's a nice try by the Nats but I bet you not many club level folks are trading in our nice seats for $10 rafter seats.
One out in the night and Hanarhan has walked his first guy, worried

Posted by: Golfersal | April 21, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing that the Nats aren't more sensitive to the Metro issue -- perhaps they should consider subsidizing Metro to stay open another hour on nights like this... Ran into this issue with an pre-inaugural party. It's a few thousand to keep the Metro open longer. However, it could pay off for the Nats in the long run. I didn't come tonight, even though the rain delay gave me plenty of time to get there, because I didn't want to have to leave early to catch a train. If fans know they can still get a train home, they might buy more tickets.

Posted by: fischy | April 21, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

OK, so I went to the game. After an initial two hour delay, I was in it till the 8th when the second rain delay started. I had to leave because I had to catch the metro. I would have been happy to stay but I had to make the metro, and frankly it was reaching midnight. Is the team going to exchange these tickets for future games, and treat this like a real rain delay? Good customer service would say yes. I went with my dad and he had to leave around 10:30. There have to be 5k or so fans that would absolutely trade their tickets for a future game and go. Shouldn't the nats be doing anything they can to get fans in seats?

ps top 9, 2 outs and holding breath.

Posted by: IBC-AS | April 21, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

all 22 stand up, 1 guy in restroom

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 21, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

yes!!!

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 21, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I knew he could do it :)

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 21, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

bang zzzzzzzz..... the Nats win!

Posted by: swang30 | April 21, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. Why would they not want to fill the seats and pick up more on concessions?

Posted by: janus4444 | April 21, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

In fact, the Nats just set the NL record for most runners left on base in a 9-inning game. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/left_on_base_records.shtml
Posted by: jrm212k | April 21, 2009 12:08 AM

According to ESPN, it's actually only 9 LOB.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 21, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Happy days are here again!!

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 21, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

If they play the game, you don't get a rain check. You only get a rain check if the game is cancelled. That's how it works in all of MLB.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 21, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Bizzare. MLB has it as 19. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2009_04_20_atlmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=gameday

But 9 makes much more sense.

Posted by: jrm212k | April 21, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

jrm212k, on the Gameday thing, I think that's the total for individuals for any at-bat, whether they end an inning or not. Dig this: I just flipped through and couldn't find an inning that Adam Dunn ended, but that column shows him with 2 LOB -- which is included in the 19 total.

So, it'd be different for the team.

(You know what made me happy tonight? "He threw 72 pitches, 51 strikes." Yahoo.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | April 21, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I've said it once and now get to say it again: Bless you, boys!

Posted by: COL_DFox | April 21, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

What a great night at the ballpark. Zimmermann looked great! Here's hoping he's the real deal. He's got some nasty stuff.

As for Manny pulling him for a PH in the 6th--I can maybe understand that decision with 2 outs and men on 2nd and 3rd with a 1-run lead. But then, why the heck do you pinch hit Alex Cintron with Kearns and Belliard on the bench??? Clearly, Manny just doesn't have a clue. They can't fire this guy quickly enough.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 21, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

9 team LOB...19 personal

i.e. if two guys strike out with the basesloaded, the team lob is only 3, but each of them get 3 personal...GO NATS! GO ZIM! GO ZIMNN!

Posted by: formerlylove1 | April 21, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

seems that about 10 of our 12 games have been against some ace-type pitchers. the three marlin guys twice, lowe twice, and others, kawakami-types.

at some point, we're going to get some numbers four and five starters; we should have some big run production then.

i think we have to pay strasburg. let's use the other early pick for a pitcher also. the rotation could shape up?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 21, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game and forced to leave when they announced the last Metro train was leaving at 11:45. Good ol' Metro - I took that last Green line train to L'Enfant Plaza, where I waited on the platform for 23 minutes to transfer to a Vienna-bound Orange line train. I wish that the Nats and Metro could work together to perhaps extend service on nights like this, especially since they market Metro so heavily as the way to go. I'm sure if the Snyder-men played a game that went late, Metro would bend over backwards to accommodate Danny Boy's fans. I would have loved to stay, but - like most in the crowd - I was bound by Metro's operating hours.

Posted by: BGinVA | April 21, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Cool story about the Little League group that invited Dukes raising money to pay his $500 fine:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/20/AR2009042003203.html

Posted by: Juan-John | April 21, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I am so relieved that Hanrahan got through it. Thank goodness.
But yesterday's talk about how it's unfair to "the fans'' to be blowing games in the 9th is belied by games like this -- TOTALLY UNFRIENDLY to fans who PAID their way in. I attend a lot of minor league games, and when folks sit through the rain and delays, they are usually rewarded with a chance to exchange their ticket stubs for another game. That seems like a fair policy. I'm sure the Nats will have enough seats available to do something like that, if ownership really cares about the true fans.

Posted by: nats24 | April 21, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

the chances of manny getting fired this season are approximately equal to those of several squint-minded dyspeptic NJ posters waking up on any given morning with a positive attitude...

Posted by: natty-bumppo | April 21, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

"As for Manny pulling him for a PH in the 6th--I can maybe understand that decision with 2 outs and men on 2nd and 3rd with a 1-run lead. But then, why the heck do you pinch hit Alex Cintron with Kearns and Belliard on the bench???"

Because you may need those guys to pinch hit later in the game. The only time it makes sense to burn your best pinch hitters early in a game is if you're way behind and absolutely must get something going. Otherwise, if it's a tight game chances are it will still be a tight game the next time those pinch hitter slots roll around. Do you want Kearns/Belliard or Cintron pinch hitting for you with the game on the line? The answer seems obvious to me.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 21, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

"I attend a lot of minor league games, and when folks sit through the rain and delays, they are usually rewarded with a chance to exchange their ticket stubs for another game. That seems like a fair policy. I'm sure the Nats will have enough seats available to do something like that, if ownership really cares about the true fans."

That's the difference between the major leagues and the minor leagues. Major league teams just don't do that kind of thing. They pretty much operate by the standard rain check policy. If the game is not played at all, you get a rain check. If the game is suspended and continued on a later date, you can either come to the conclusion of the game or get a rain check. But if they get the game in on the day it's scheduled, no matter how late it may go you're not going to get a rain check.

There are other differences between the majors and minors too. For one thing, you don't see major league owners suiting up and coaching first base like the PNats owner does.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 21, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Man, did Manny screw up on that Little League fining thing. Elijah Dukes and the Great Falls Little League all made some pretty good choices (I particularly like how the Little League raised the money to teach the kids if someone's there for you, you should be there for him or her), but the issuing of the fine in the first place was dum, dum, dum.

Posted by: Section506 | April 21, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"Because you may need those guys to pinch hit later in the game. The only time it makes sense to burn your best pinch hitters early in a game is if you're way behind and absolutely must get something going. Otherwise, if it's a tight game chances are it will still be a tight game the next time those pinch hitter slots roll around. Do you want Kearns/Belliard or Cintron pinch hitting for you with the game on the line? The answer seems obvious to me."

The answer apparently also seemed obvious to Manny, but in light of how his "obvious" decisions have hurt the team in several games this season already, that doesn't carry much weight with me. If the pinch-hitter gets a hit there, it no longer is a tight game, the Nats are up 5-2. The 6th really isn't early in the game under those circumstances. If the situation is not important enough to merit putting in someone other than Cintron, then it's not important enough to yank the pitcher and Manny should have just let the kid hit and kept him in the game. He was under 75 pitches at that point and going strong. If you're going to pull him because the situation is so important that you need a pinch-hitter up there, don't then waste the AB with Cintron.

But hey, who really cares at this point? This game was about Zimmermann! Manny makes dumb moves pretty much every night, but he'll be long gone soon, while Zimmermann should be making headlines in DC for years to come.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 21, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that the Nats elected to play that game -- what a joke. I had to yank my kids out of there and head home in the middle of the 4th after we sat around in the rain forever before it started. The Nats are trying to squeeze as much attendance as they can yet they pull the trigger on that game?? Stan should be ashamed.

Posted by: dfh21 | April 21, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

When I got to the ballpark at 6:30, there was no rain at all... they could have played at least three innings before the first drops fell around 8pm. Then the game wouldn't have gone so late and no Metro issues. But it's pretty clear that this team's management is more about money than baseball... bored fans will buy more food and drink more beer!

Posted by: ginniemae | April 21, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I am a season ticket holder and last night was just another slap in the face to the average fan trying to support baseball in this town. I can say that after five years the team has squandered much of the good will from the first opening night. Remember that first year the July fourth game was almost a sell out on walk ups. Sure the stadium is nice but boy this team stinks. We were there at 7 o'clock and there was no rain. High school teams would have played last night if the field was in as good as shape as that field was. They could have played and people would have still ate and drank beer. Boo Stan Kasten.

Posted by: disgustednatsfan | April 21, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game last night, I agree what everyone else said. The delay cause of the "Rain cell" was ridiculous. Than we were all sitting around at the Red Porch Bar, watching the Caps play, when they told us that we had to change the channel to an MLB game, so they turned on the Florida Marlins vs the Pittsburg Pirates. Another slap in the face for the fans that were there.

When they announce they were going to start the game, we went down to the lower level and the guy asked for our tickets. So we went back to the upperlevel. It was just a complete joke last night.

Posted by: adecario | April 21, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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