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Nationals Game Suspended Due To Rain

One quick clarification: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, all statistics compiled during today's game -- which was suspended due to rain in the bottom of the 11th with the score tied 10-10 -- are official. Therefore, Ryan Zimmerman did, indeed, extend his hitting streak to 23 games. The official scorer inside the press box at Nationals Park initially had announced that today's statistics would not be made official until the game was completed.

More than five hours after first pitch yesterday at Nationals Park, there was still much confusion permeating the home clubhouse. A game was left incomplete. A hitting streak was left in limbo. A roster spot was left vacant, those whose had not yet been determined.

"I don't know what we're going to do now," Washington starter Scott Olsen said. "I don't know what happens from here on out."

Following a rain delay that lasted an hour and 16 minutes, Tuesday's game between the Nationals and the Houston Astros was suspended with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning and the score tied, 10-10. The contest will be completed on July 9 at Houston, though the Nationals will still be the home team.

While a final outcome remained months away, more immediate matters were tended to before the day was through. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's hitting streak - extended to 23 games Tuesday with a sixth inning single - continues on, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He met the news with a shrug of the shoulders.

"Yeah," Zimmerman said. "That's one more than 22."

The news was more disappointing for right-handed reliever Saul Rivera, who was optioned down to Class AAA Syracuse following the game's suspension despite working a perfect sixth inning. Left-hander Joe Beimel will return from the disabled list (hip flexor) for Wednesday's game at Los Angeles.

The Nationals departed the District Tuesday night for their first extended West Coast road trip of the season as the holder of baseball's worst record. As was made evident for just less than four hours Tuesday against the Astros, the team can rely neither on its defense (surprisingly) nor on its bullpen (not so much) to protect leads created by its suddenly potent offense.

Zimmerman, who owns the longest hitting streak in baseball in the past two years, went 2 for 6 with an RBI and a run scored. Four of the top five batters in Washington's lineup are hitting above .300, and the lone exception - outfielder Adam Dunn - is hitting .282.

"It's nice to be able to help the team, and you know, I drove in a run with the one hit and we did another good job of coming from behind again today and scoring a lot of runs," Zimmerman said. "Hopefully we can keep it going like we have been."

On Monday night, Washington's hitters bailed the team out of a four-run hole, and they were asked repeatedly to make similar charges Tuesday.

Olsen allowed six hits and five runs in five innings, and still, he managed to leave the game before the most serious damage was done. Toting a four-run lead in the seventh, Julian Tavares gave up two hits and three runs in one-third of an inning. Garrett Mock entered the eighth with a one-run lead and walked pinch hitter Darin Erstad, the first batter he faced.

"Walking the leadoff guy, that's a recipe for disaster," Mock said. "You're asking for trouble."

After Erstad advanced to third, Mock threw a wild pitch to Lance Berkman. Erstad scored to tie the game, 8-8.

Houston's bullpen was equally deficient at holding steady. Curt Sampson spelled starter Roy Oswalt in the sixth inning after Oswalt left the game with a bone bruise in his right index finger. Sampson walked three straight batters, which brought home two Washington runs. By the end of the sixth, the Nationals had tallied six runs on just two hits.

"Today was the battle of two struggling bullpens, and I think we could have helped ourselves a little bit if we would have played better defense," Nationals Manager Manny Acta said. "But our guys battled out there and we put up a couple runs. We just couldn't come out on top."

In the fifth inning, it was the Nationals who could not get out of their own way. Oswalt laid down a sacrifice bunt, but rather than record the easy play at first, catcher Wil Nieves tried to nab the runner at second. His throw was wide right. Four Houston runs later, Washington found itself stuck in an avoidable hole.

"I think a couple plays that we didn't make cost us six runs total," Acta said. "When your pitching is struggling, you have to catch the ball. You just can't give away outs. That's been a bit of a problem here."

At this point, the Nationals' struggles are slightly alleviated by the promise of its offense, one led by Zimmerman and his ever-growing hitting streak.

Back in the Nationals' clubhouse, there was room for optimism after all the confusion died down on another drizzly day.

"So we just pick it up in the eleventh?" Olsen asked. "Still wearing gray?"

When informed he was correct, Olsen grinned.

"Awesome," he said. "Great."

By Steve Yanda  |  May 5, 2009; 7:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

I just returned from the this wild game. It was fun to watch in some ways, but the usual frustration of walks and errors.

Very appropriate that the game ended as a suspended tie, as Houston is like a mirror image of the Nats right now: a bullpen that can't throw strikes, and a team that has trouble catching the ball.

Am I the only one who detests the loud and insipid rock music played between innings, and even worse, between batters? It makes me not want to go to the stadium at all. You can't talk, can't think, can't enjoy the relaxing pace of this pastoral game.

Turn it down, at least. Play organ music. Play less obnoxious music, e.g. commercial rock.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 5, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Send to Saul Rivera after he looked good? Seems they had other choices at this point.

When is Alex Cintron going to be sent somewhere. .000 batting average......

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 5, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame all the runs charged to Olsen were earned (thanks to the Nieves throw on the bunt). There's definitely a problem with the scoring rule that lets a batter be credited with a sacrifice (which implies an out given up) when no out is made and no error charged.

Posted by: nats24 | May 5, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

You're not the only one JLNash819, but our complaints won't do much, I'm afraid. I agree, organ and quiet is best. Those canned claps don't succeed in getting people to actually clap and cheer: people clap along with the sound effects, but stop when the effects go away. When the batter's in the box is when you're supposed to make noise! Counter-productive.

Posted by: tmp2234 | May 5, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of bad defense. I'll probably get beat up for blaspheming Jesus. But he is lazy. Today's wild pitch was a wild pitch. But Jesus backhanded at it - he didn't slide out, get down and smother it - to keep the ball in front of him. And it is at least the 3rd time I've seen him not get down on one of these pitches.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 5, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

We were spoiled with Schneider behind the plate.Flores not in his league as a receiver.

Posted by: hotrod2 | May 5, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"There's no "D" in team."

-- Jim Bowden

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 5, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

This west coast swing will determine Manny's job status,the Dodgers,D-Backs and Giants will be a formidible test for this squad i mean they can't come back 8&24 and Acta expecting to keep his job that ain't gonna happen so they need to play as if Manny's major league exsistence depended on it because that could very well be the case.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 5, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I thought I was watching an American Legion baseball game. If there are any Legion players or their parents reading this, I appoligize for the comparisen

Posted by: pstotts15 | May 5, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I thought I was watching an American Legion baseball game. If there are any Legion players or their parents reading this, I appoligize for the comparisen

Posted by: pstotts15 | May 5, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Tell me if I got this wrong, but piecing this together as best I can: with 1 out, and a runner on first, Oswalt bunts Blum over, and Flores, trying for the lead runner, doesn't get him, and everybody's safe (with no error because no runner advanced on the throw).
By rule, bad decisions aren't errors, and neither is being too slow to get rid of the ball. Gotta be a sac bunt for Oswalt because he did in fact move the runner up. You can't give him a hit, if Flores would have thrown him out at first, had he chosen to go there instead. With no error, it's an earned run.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 5, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Re the Flores play: A fielder's choice is a fielder's choice regardless of whether an out is recorded. If no out is recorded, the fielder is off the hook, but the batter doesn't get credit for a hit unless it is judged that no throw to any base could record an out. At least that's the way I understand it.

Posted by: paulkp | May 6, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

@Sec3mysofa:
OK, I'll tell you where you're wrong.
1. Nieves, not Flores, was catching.
2. I understand the scoring rules.
3. I am taking issue with the rules. When you credit somebody with a "sacrifice'' and no out is made, there's an inherent contradiction. My point is that the rule should be changed to allow the meathead (Nieves, in this case) who made an error in judgment to be in fact charged with an error. Obviously, an out could have been made at first, so how is this different in result than Nieves bobbling the ball?

Posted by: nats24 | May 6, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

So many right thinking fans this morning. First, JLNash was right on the money about the music and the VOLUME. The only thing more annoying is Clint and his meth-paced chatter. And nats24 too raises a VERY valid point about the scoring. Nieves should get an error for throwing to the wrong base.

Posted by: pryorcommitments | May 6, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Changes I'd love to see upon returning from West Coast:

1. No Clint.
2. No Manny.
3. No canned music.
4. An organ.
5. Lineups posted on scoreboard an hour or so before the game (as it stands now, the umpires are identified before the home team. the Umpires, for chrissakes!).
6. Rizzo's interim title is removed.
7. Uncle Ted et al decide to sell to Ted Leonsis (yeah, I know; in my dreams).
8. An yes indication from Team Strasburg/Boras that indeed D.C. is the place.
9. Package Thrilledge/Kearns/Willingham for a decent 8th-inning reliever.
10. Alex Cintron takes his perfect (.000) season back to SYR.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 6, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Tom Boswell, I love you to death, love to read your stuff. But enough already with the "Natinals" reference.

You make some very good, balanced points even if they sting a little. But to continue to mock the team with the "Natinals" reference is just lazy. And you did it twice.

First of all, it's over. It was over a long, long time ago. Second, it was not the team's mistake. And third, it's just not funny.

And don't give me some crap about how it's just a symbol of the team's reputation and standings right now, blah, blah, blah.

I expect better from you Boz.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 6, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

"A fielder's choice is a fielder's choice regardless of whether an out is recorded. If no out is recorded, the fielder is off the hook, but the batter doesn't get credit for a hit unless it is judged that no throw to any base could record an out."

This makes sense, but why if Oswalt's bunt is scored as a fielder's choice does he also get credited with a sacrifice bunt? That's what doesn't make sense. If they want to score it as a fielder's choice, then it should be the same as a fielder's choice on any old ground ball. No sacrifice. Sacrifice implies that you give yourself up, but if you end up on first you haven't given yourself up, have you? Likewise, if the play at second had resulted in an out, it wouldn't have been a sacrifice either, just a successful fielder's choice.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 6, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

"Lineups posted on scoreboard an hour or so before the game (as it stands now, the umpires are identified before the home team. the Umpires, for chrissakes!)."

They are supposed to be posting the Nats lineup up above the team store entrance in giant baseball cards before every game this year. The few times I've looked on my way in, it's been up there - although not in batting order, just in 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, etc order. So there's that. But yeah, for those keeping score it would be nice not to have to fill out your scorecard on the fly during the first pitch.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 6, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Comedy, thy name is Boswell after all his copy editors have been laid off. Wait for it, he'll have many gaffes far worse than Natinals.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 6, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I definately agree about the music at the games. PLEASE bring down the volume. Better yet, how about baseball organ music? Organ music is symbolic of a ball game. It was and is so nice to hear. Let people bring Ipods to listen to that other stuff.

Posted by: Pete433 | May 6, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

So what happens to my ticket? Do I have to travel to Houston to see the conclusion of the game?

Posted by: smirkman | May 6, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The funniest thing about the music is that when Dukes comes up and they play "In the club" by 50 Cent. I'm sitting in the stands there with a bunch of little kids around me and I'm hearing 50 Cent go, "I'm into havin sex I ain't into makin love.." I thought it was kinda funny.

Posted by: Howelsewouldateacherspendhistimeinthesummer | May 6, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Dukes's music choices, at what point does the team say "we make the ultimate decision about this"?

It seems to me that using a song that is sexually crude at best and misogynistic at worst, to introduce a player who has had a serious issue with threatened violence against a woman, is inappropriate.

I realize it may be the least of this team's problems, but if I were the Nationals' management, I'd say, "sorry Elijah, surely you can find another song you like."

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 6, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

he'll have many gaffes far worse than Natinals.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 6, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

*********************

Sorry. I was not calling Boz out for a copy editing gaffe. This was a style gaffe.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 6, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Folks,

The music played at Nationals Park when a Nats batter is coming to bat or a Nats pitcher is warming up is selected by that player. That is their "entrance music." Why Nick Johnson has selected "Posse's On Broadway" is beyond me, but it sounds great on that sound system.

I, personally, get really annoyed when ribbon scoreboards are used for advertising between batters or pitches instead of keeping the game/bat status in place. And worse, the out of town scoreboard switches to advertising between innings -- the very time I would like to check and see what is going on around the league!

It is obvious that the people running the stadium (and to hear some of you talk, the team) have no feel for the sport that is their main product. They simply cannot expect to breed die-hard fans (regardless of wins or losses) without creating an environment that accommodates die-hard fans.

I know the Nationals Park team won't read this, but here it is anyway: Sell advertising on the out-of-town scoreboard on a per-inning basis and show those static advertisements during innings. Between innings use that space to show what's going on around the league and maybe the official scoring for the previous half-inning.

That's my nit. Thanks.

Posted by: ihatewalks | May 6, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Nieves, not Flores. Thanks.
I realize you were disputing the rule itself. But you are arguing that something other than physical mishandling of the ball should be an error, and that's a misjudgment in itself.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 6, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Elijah's music is definitely not the only problem. Maybe I'm getting old or something but the pre-game ballpark music the other day was blaring the song with the lyrics, "you spin my head right round when you go down, when you go down, down."

Posted by: NatsNut | May 6, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

IHW, I concur in the main, but I do read the OOTSB during play, too. Maybe they could put the ads in-between lines? Or rotate every-other-game score/ad on and off?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 6, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

ahhh, these kids today and their loud music! We never had such scandalous lyrics. Good clean fun, we had. "Good Golly Miss Molly sure like to ball!" Perfect for the game.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 6, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

maybe The Who's "When I say 'I love you' she says 'You'd better!"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 6, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"Sorry. I was not calling Boz out for a copy editing gaffe. This was a style gaffe.

Posted by: NatsNut"

He'll have plenty more of those too. And after reading his column this morning I have to say I really don't get his point. He says the Nats can't dawdle or they'll lose this town like the Caps did in the 70s. Okay. But what specific things does he recommend? Sign Strasburg. (They'll do that, but he still won't be here til next year, and whether he's a success then is TBD.) Draft a closer. (Even if they could - because, really, how many college closers are there in the draft anyway? - that closer wouldn't be here until next year or later.) Trade for one or more top-flight bullpen guys. (Gee, don't you think they're trying to do that? That they haven't probably says that those teams that have top bullpen guys don't want to trade them away, which makes sense.) So none of Boswell's recommendations - even if possible - would have any immediate impact or remove the impression of dawdling. So how does he expect them to take his advice and "don't dawdle"?

Boswell says "Is the problem Washington? It's much too early to tell." No it's not, Tom. Washington supports the Redskins (but maybe not much longer if Snyder keeps screwing the fan base) and the flavor of the month (Caps with Jagr, Wizards with Jordan, brand new Nats team in 2005, Caps with Ovechkin.) That's it. If the flavor of the month doesn't keep winning, Washington moves on to something else. So no matter what the Nats do in the interim before they actually start winning, they can't lose this town - because they've already lost it, if they ever even had it in the first place. They were the flavor of the month in 2005, but there was no way that could last. It was already going south before that season was even over. As a long-time Washingtonian myself, I certainly never expected most of this town to be willing to hang in through the lean years until the Nats start winning. But I sure thought Boswell would. What a surprise that the team lost Boswell even before it lost the rest of this town. He's turned into a typical Washington fan, caring only about the Skins and this month's flavor.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 6, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Would be great if they could amp down the volume a bit on the music. On several occasions it's been challenging to find a place quiet enough to make a phone call when meeting up with buddies at the park before a game. On the other hand, at other times it's a challenge to hear what the players are saying on between-inning videos, depending on where one is sitting, I suppose. There's just no pleasing some people (me) on the volume front, I suppose. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 6, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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