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The Game That Ended At 12:57 A.M.

There is but one absolute way to salvage a night in which you lose your starting pitcher after two innings, wait out a 3-hour, 11-minute rain delay, and finally resume competition against baseball's 29th-best team in a ghost town stadium: That is, you do exactly what the Nationals managed Saturday night (and Sunday morning), when they beat the living snot out of San Diego, 13-1.

The first pitch of the game happened right on schedule, at 7:05 p.m.

The 45th pitch occurred at 7:29.

Then there was rain. Lots of it.

(The latest Bill Gluvna rain delay info is here, on page two of the game notes .pdf) Post-Game Notes 072509 vs. SDP.pdf

The 46th pitch of the night occurred at 10:40, and the very final pitch of the night, thrown by Mike MacDougal, finished things off for good at 12:57 a.m.

In between all that, the Nationals had an outburst that matched the sky's. Adam Dunn went 2-for-3 with a walk and a grand slam. Ryan Zimmerman homered and went 3-for-4. Nyjer Morgan went 4-for-5 and had six total bases. Cristian Guzman scored four times. Oh, and Tyler Clippard, who replaced starter J.D. Martin after the delay, pitched four scoreless... striking out seven. This month, Clippard has now appeared in nine games (15-2/3 innings) and given up seven hits and two runs (1.15 ERA). Opponents are hitting .132 against him.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Yes, but Chico, did you enjoy the show at the 9:30 Club during the rain delay? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Section222 | July 26, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

JD Martin: Best at bat of the season right there. Kind of surprised his two-out AB wasn't even mentioned in the write up. Perdomo (fantasy alert! If Perdomo learns to control his slider, he will be trouble. His fastball has an insane amount of movement) got ahead 0-2 with two filthy 95 MPH fastballs. Martin fouls off about three straight pitches and works the count even. Fouls off a couple more then works count to 3-2. Finally, BALL FOUR! Let the two out rally begin...

Nyjer Morgan: I love watching him play and I never leave the room when he gets up to bat. Just a fantastic hitter who is in "the zone" right now. Enjoy it while it lasts folks...

Posted by: MEssex | July 26, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Really, Chico. How could you possibly write the gamer without mentioning J.D.'s at bat in the bottom of the second? That was the defining moment (okay I REALLY shouldn't use that phrase) of the whole game.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 26, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

from the old post--------
I suspect a lot of managers wouldn't have sent him out there to hit, even at that. I wonder if he begged his way into that AB?


***************
If they make a highlight film of this year (and I vote NO), J.D. Martin's second inning AB, a throw-away -- 2 outs, nobody on, he's not going out to pitch the next inning and JRigg rightly doesn't want to burn a PH at that point -- JD took it very seriously, fouled off at least five pitches and drew a 3-2 walk. The rest is history. If he mails it in there, as most pitchers would, the Nats don't score 5 runs. Way to go, JD!!

Gawd, blow-outs are so nice.

Posted by: nats24 | July 26, 2009 1:06 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

thinking about that some more -- put yourself in his place. A career (to this point) minor leaguer, his first start didn't do anything for his job security, and he's only up here because of injuries anyway, on a team 40 games under .500. So this may be the last thing he does in The Show, ever. Last chance to do something, anything, to impress the bosses, and it's the one part of your game that matters least, as a pitcher.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Did they put Nyjer's scramble in the 3rd base to home rundown on the game highlights? If you missed it, you missed a real fun battle. Even though he lost that one, it was great to see. He ALMOST beat it out!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Whle JD may be concerned that this is his last major league start, I think the objective viewer would never believe this. He is in here to give the prospects like Detweiler and Martis a rest.

Martin falls squarely into the 'chuck him in and see category'. His first start was a classic nationals blend nerves, poor defense, promise and poor management.

If his starts remain inconclusive he'll pitch through mid August.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 26, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

222

he was at thr black cat.

Posted by: surly_w | July 26, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The vast majority of fans in attendance last night - especially those with kids - paid full price for an inning and a half of baseball. The right thing for the Nationals to do would be to offer a ticket for a game next year, even a dog game (like umm the Padres). But they wont.

Posted by: AlexVa1 | July 26, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

AlexVA

Last night just before the heavens opened, on the blog I questioned the wisdom of even starting the game because once it began you could kiss your raincheck goodbye. To clarify, once the game started it was the call of the umpire crew chief when to stop play and when to resume. For once the Lerners aren't at fault.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 26, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Soundbloke, I'm sure you're right. I was impressed with the determination he showed, and "the human drama of athletic competition."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Of course, the other take-away there is, we are all "day-to-day."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

What a great nickname: "Moonlight" Graham.

Of course, if I had a nickname, it'd more likely be "Moonbeam."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

So minor league success does translate. What a novel idea.

Posted by: inthestreetindustry | July 26, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@AlexVA: It was predicted to rain. The chances were high that it would. I was there, and as many kids as adults waited out the delay, that's really the parents' decision.

BTW, heavy storms are predicted for this afternoon. You pays your money, you takes your chances...

Can we get a discount for a poorly played game? Do we pay a premium for 13-1?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I had my family there in June when the game wasn't called off until almost 11:00 and this was a school night. The biggest frustration was the lack of information. They should show the weather radar or something like that occasionally. The ushers did a pretty good job of keeping us informed of the situation, but we were in the Stars and Stripes club. I don't know if the rest of the fans had that advantage.
There was no announcing of projected start times or anything. We waited it out. Then when the game was called, they didn't keep the box office open so we could exchange our tickets before we left. That probably ticked me off the most.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 26, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"...beat the living snot out of San Diego..."

Harsh.

Posted by: nattydread1 | July 26, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Here was the situation late in the game and post-game:

By 11:30 99% of the vendors were closed, and I was STARVING-- One of the Ben's Chili Bowls was open, thank you!

Even the guys selling $1 water and ice cream sandwiches outside the stadium were gone. You KNOW it's late when they're gone.

I wish I had stayed later in the upper deck, I would have had a better chance at the tee-shirt toss. They always shoot them high and those 4 people had great odds.

They held the Presidents' Race, but I'm not sure why (it's getting really boring).

All the fans who stayed were really nice and had a good time, except for the Padres fans--and some of them did stay.

I went to the ladies' room in the 6th inning, and not only was there no line, I was the only patron at the time. Wow.

The ushers had a LONG night, and they don't get paid overtime.

There were no crossing guards and that stoplight is designed so it takes 3.5 years to turn green for pedestrians who want to cross M street.

The buses to RFK were there, as promised, along with attendants to assist. I got a taxi ride--I was the only one on my bus. There was a cop car still at RFK plus a security guard, so safety was not a problem. Good job, folks.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@twinbrook, yes us fans got ZERO info on the game delay projections. The message said, "We are monitoring the situation."

It changed to RED and warned people that a storm with lightning was coming and to take shelter--after we had already seen plenty of lightning and heard thunder, but a nice thought, anyway. Then the message turned back.

They played the Mets/Astros game on the big TV which I think kept a bunch of people in the park, because, why not--the picture was good, and it wasn't cold outside, actually, it was comfy. (When that was over they switched to the Dodgers/Marlins game).

The ushers were very thoughtful and protective of the kids, not letting them go out to the lower seats and play in the rain (and possible lightning). There were plenty of seats under the overhang of the deck (an advantage of low attendance, I guess).

The grounds crew was fantastic--and entertaining.

I texted with my sister in ND and she got me the weather report, so I knew that a break in the rain was coming eventually...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that startled me, too. Woke me up, I'm kind of sleepy this morning. But it's such a NICE kind of sleepy.

===================================
"...beat the living snot out of San Diego..."

Harsh.

Posted by: nattydread1 | July 26, 2009 10:29 AM

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

A lot of talk last night and this morning about JD's at-bat (desevedly so...it was the catalyst to a 5-run inning) but not one person has mentioned the at-bat Guzman had 2 batters later...he beat out the slow-roller up the middle. If he loafs it at all he's out by 3 steps!

Fantasic effort all around...This was a fun game to watch!

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 26, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@Nauga: yes, Guz put in good effort last night, made a coupla plays too. I think people are making too much out of the 15 strikeouts, because players got more than their usual at-bats :)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"The ushers did a pretty good job of keeping us informed of the situation, but we were in the Stars and Stripes club. I don't know if the rest of the fans had that advantage."

At the Thursday night rain-delayed game, the usher was giving us weather updates in section 238. So it's not just the clubs that get such treatment.

Posted by: nunof1 | July 26, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Also, I discovered that I can't see you peeps' comments on my mobile UNLESS someone posts a link on Twitter. The regular version of WaPo just lets me read Chico's post and not the comments.

So--do me a faver and whoever is here and on Twitter, post the link on Twitter. Then I can see your comments and post (in between my Twitter posts).

The rain delay game me plenty of time to Twitter...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Do you think Rigglemans chewing out the team after the 6-2 deflating loss the prior night had any effect on the 13-1 beat down last night? It certainly seemed to me they paid attention and played a crisper brand of baseball.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 26, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Nice at bat by JD, too bad he isn't paid to hit. He is a pitcher. When he pitches more than 4 innings against a major league team (not Mets or Padres) without getting rocked he will have my respect. A time at bat from a pitcher does not warrant respect. His ERA is now at 7.50. Thats what matters for a pitcher.

Mock is skating on very thin ice.

Posted by: WashOut | July 26, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The Nats clearly could give free tickets to another future game to last night's ticketholders, even though the game was played. In fact, that's exactly what the Yankees did for their fans for the game the Nats played against them that had the hours-long rain delay. It is good business sense, AlexVA, you're right. But the Nats won't do it. It's telling that the Yankees, who have so many fewer unsold tickets than the Nats do, would do this, but the Nats don't.

And Nats Lady, it's not a question of "buy your tickets, take your chances.' Many people buy their tickets in advance, or are season ticket holders, or part of a group. So they don't have that choice. It boils down to a question of how the Nats want to do business and treat their fans.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 26, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Ladson's gamer on MLB.com devotes some space to J.D.'s at-bat, with a quote Padre's skipper Bud Black about it.

Posted by: nats24 | July 26, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

That's 3 out of 4 now ABM----hard work and letting players know they will be called out in private AND in Public when the F-up is working. Rigs is not my choice for manager to replace Acta and he wasted first week out of some odd respectful morning period for Acta but once he started to distance himself from Acta this week I like the changes. Again....any that was needed is a 180 from Acta and results would come....Rizzo was right....the .275 winning percentage was WAY under achieving.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 26, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

the tin yurl to ladson's gamer: http://tinyurl.com/nlsoar

the quote was "Probably the best at-bat of the night was the pitcher."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, a pitcher with a 7.50 ERA would have to be hitting very well indeed to keep a job, it's true, but then, this *is* the National League. There's no DH. Good at-bats by pitchers (especially bubble guys) can win games. So it is *part* of what he's paid to do.

Anyhow, we don't get a lot of moments to enjoy around here. I'm taking advantage of this one. I mean, who really cares whether I respect him?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

A wise man once said: "One of three things can happen: you win, you lose, or it rains." So, yeah, there is a certain risk assumed in buying a ticket. But CiL is right--that begs the question. The point is, a business can dump only so much risk onto the customers before they stop being customers--and who benefits from that? Nobody. It's a lose-lose option.

OTOH, Bill Veeck said the one thing he never did was give away tickets--they were the only thing he had to sell. I'm not sure he would apply that logic in this situation--certainly he put some ugly, ugly lineups on the field, and had trouble drawing, so maybe he did consider and reject the idea. Maybe I could look it up.

*************
And Nats Lady, it's not a question of "[You pays your money and you takes your chances.]" Many people buy their tickets in advance, or are season ticket holders, or part of a group. So they don't have that choice. It boils down to a question of how the Nats want to do business and treat their fans.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 26, 2009 11:21 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@CiL: That doesn't fly with me AT ALL. (OK, so good for the Yankees, how nice of them).

1) If that lady took her kids home after 2 innings, she took them home in the pouring rain with lightning threatening. NOT A WISE MOVE.

2) There is plenty to do at the Park--exactly what is it kids are going to do at home that they can't do there? Bring Nintendo, play a card game, watch a video. Think long car trip, people.

3) If you buy season tickets or tickets in advance, you TAKE YOUR CHANCES, period. With a group, that is a challenge, but, again, that is your choice, it has never rained in DC before last night, hello.

Otherwise, wait for the weather report and decide accordingly on the day of --if your kids are so young or so sensitive they can't deal with a 3 hour wait.

What they COULD do for the fans (in addition to providing better info)--is perhaps, with the consent of the umpires, decide in advance how long the maximum rain delay will be, say, 3 hours, or 2.5 hours. That would have been really sad, in this case, but might work in general.

As for the person who suggested re-scheduling the game before a drop of rain had fallen--reschedule to when? A double-header for today, when the prediction is 60% for rain, and if it doesn't rain, it's going to be the devil HOT.

So we would then have a rained out double-header which would probably have to be played in San Diego and how fair is THAT to the fans?????

(Disclaimer: I am from Chicago, where people go to Bears games.)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Well, where else would people go to Bears games?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Personally, if the Lerners want to spend money, I would FAR FAR FAR rather have them spend it on players than on refunds for rain delays. THAT is how to treat your fans.

Going to the game now. Later, folks.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Just caught that, sec3. Boy, you ALWAYS make me laugh.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 26, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm from San Francisco (for a while I was, anyhow) and spent many freezing July and August nights at Candlestick Park, and saw Bears fans weep in anguish for cold (OK, to be fair, it might have been for watching the Cubs, I didn't ask).

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Live down south, have tkts for 2 games late august...I'll take my chances, it is what it is.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 26, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The point is, they have to do something to improve "the fan experience," as Stan likes to call it, and a 3-hour+ delay needs a lot of improving. It doesn't have to be honoring rain checks (which very few clubs do, even if a few smart ones are exceptions) for games that were only delayed--maybe honor them for 1/2-off, or trade them in for a free t-shirt ("Veni. Pluvia. Vadi." ?).

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Nats Lady,

You are the kind of a customer that the Lerner's love. Show up with a fist full of money and never question anything.

The Lerner's don't spend nearly enough money on anything. From not giving out free tickets to a few hundred people that stuck it out for a long rain delay to not spending on players (FA, draft, international)

They are running things on the cheap. Period.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 26, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I've just inquired with Stan Kasten as to how we can bring this Nats_Lady on board to help with the customer services we provide. She has the kind of initiative and foresight the entire Lerner family likes to see, and her dedication to the bottom line should be commended.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | July 26, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, the rainchecks wouldn't go to the few hundred who stayed, they'd go to the ones who didn't. Unless they are FSTH's, in which case they eat a rainout anyway.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Special for 505: dramatis personnae are up.

Lannan is in goal.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 26, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This is also the kind of situation where being judgemental just winds up costing you money. Either way.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Nats Lady, it's all about business decisions. Do the Nats want to be a good business that is friendly to their fans, or do they want to be indifferent to them? Honestly, your comments don't fly at all.

"Personally, if the Lerners want to spend money, I would FAR FAR FAR rather have them spend it on players than on refunds for rain delays. THAT is how to treat your fans."

Not refunds, a coupon for a ticket for a future game. Even limit the seating categories available to cheaper tickets, if you want. For a team with 20k+ unsold tickets per night, doing that is not even spending money. It's buying a bit of fan goodwill, in addition to all the concession sales that those fans will generate. Overall, I bet the team would finish up ahead financially on the deal.


"OK, so good for the Yankees, how nice of them."

Huh? Are you trying to make a point here, or are you trying to just distract from the fact that another team did exactly what you say doesn't fly with you "AT ALL" without actually saying anything? The Yankees have a lot less incentive and need to be fan-friendly than the Nats do, and yet they did it in that instance. Maybe the Nats should take a lesson from them. People trash the "Evil Empire," but do you think that the Yankees were always as successful as they are today? Take a look at how they fared during the CBS ownership days. They made their own Empire.


"If you buy season tickets or tickets in advance, you TAKE YOUR CHANCES, period. With a group, that is a challenge, but, again, that is your choice, it has never rained in DC before last night, hello."

Honestly, this is such a ridiculous thing to say. You think the Nats don't depend on season ticket sales and advance purchases? The last thing that they want is to skew their sales to walk-up purchases by alienating or being indifferent to such purchasers. If they truly view such purchasers with the level of indifference you are advocating, that is a really bad business decision. And the issue is not the fact that it sometimes rains, the issue is that 3-hour+ rain delays are extremely unusual, and prior to a couple years ago simply did not happen. They almost always canceled the game before then. If the Nats want to ignore this, that's obviously their prerogative, but it is bad business.

"Disclaimer: I am from Chicago, where people go to Bears games."

Football games get played and completed in a set period of time. The issue is not how bad the weather is while a baseball game is being played, the issue is the time at which the game is being played and completed.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 26, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

How nice of the Yankees to hand out free passes to a future game to everyone who sat through the five hour rain delay of a sold out game. Like any of those 50,000 or more people will actually be able to use those passes, seeing as how the rest of their season is already pretty much sold out. Basically an empty gesture on the Yankees' part. I give them zero brownie points for it.

Posted by: nunof1 | July 26, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

His son, Mike, owns the St. Paul Saints. I went to a game back in 2007 where it rained pretty steadily, pushing the first pitch back two hours.

Keep in mind this is independent league baseball, and the games are marketed as family events.

Once the game got started, the team announced that everyone still in attendance would receive a voucher to any remaining game that season.

-----

OTOH, Bill Veeck said the one thing he never did was give away tickets--they were the only thing he had to sell.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 26, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Wrong nunof, the vouchers can be used either this season, or next season. Not an empty gesture. And you didn't need to sit through the game to get the voucher, they were given to all ticket holders, whether you stuck around, or not.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

CiL,

I give you credit for the effort, but you're trying to reason with folks that have decided to be Lemmings and follow blindly off the edge. As if, questioning anything that the owners do is making them some how not loyal.

The incompetence of this ownership is there smacking us in the face at every turn but, seem people won't notice if they belly up to the bar ordering shot after shot of Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 26, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, this is such a ridiculous thing to say. You think the Nats don't depend on season ticket sales and advance purchases? The last thing that they want is to skew their sales to walk-up purchases by alienating or being indifferent to such purchasers. If they truly view such purchasers with the level of indifference you are advocating, that is a really bad business decision. And the issue is not the fact that it sometimes rains, the issue is that 3-hour+ rain delays are extremely unusual, and prior to a couple years ago simply did not happen. They almost always canceled the game before then. If the Nats want to ignore this, that's obviously their prerogative, but it is bad business.
--------

BINGO!! I have a twenty one game package, and this is EXACTLY why I do not intend to renew.

Posted by: miseaujeu | July 26, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Leetee & Nats_lady - I agree with you both. I know its not the Lerners fault, nor are they obligated - I'm saying here's an opportunity for a nice gesture. It would cost them very little, only administrative costs.

Posted by: AlexVa1 | July 26, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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