WASHINGTON (AP) — Considering their injury-depleted roster and lack of success against the Cincinnati Reds this season, Mother Nature might have done the Washington Nationals a favor.
The series finale between the Reds and Nationals scheduled for Wednesday night was postponed because of rain. Cincinnati took the first two games and leads the season series 5-0.
After arriving in Washington with a three-game losing streak, the Reds won 3-2 in Monday’s opener and 5-0 Tuesday behind Johnny Cueto’s two-hit shutout.
“We’re playing good and we happen to be playing well against the Nationals, so it would have been a game that we would have liked to get in,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said.
The NL East-leading Nationals, on the other hand, could probably use the break.
Washington is not only losing games lately but also players. The team announced Wednesday that center fielder Denard Span (back spasms) will be shut down through the All-Star break.
The lineup is already without infielder Anthony Rendon (quadriceps strain), outfielder Jayson Werth (bruised wrist) and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis).
Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (oblique strain) joined that trio on the disabled list this week.
Cincinnati opens a four-game series Thursday in Miami.
Multiple bursts of rain led to Wednesday’s game getting called about 15 minutes before it was supposed to begin. No makeup date was immediately announced. This was the last scheduled game between the teams this season.
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez had been slated to face Cincinnati rookie Michael Lorenzen.
“The field is in bad shape. We’ve had so much rain (lately),” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “There was standing water everywhere. It’s been saturated.”
Additional rain was expected in the area Wednesday night.
As for the Nationals’ lineup plans heading into their weekend series at Baltimore, Williams did not provide a concrete forecast.
Max Scherzer’s turn in the rotation is Sunday. If he pitches that day, he could choose to be replaced on the active NL roster for Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
“We’ll know more Thursday,” Williams said. “We certainly have a lot of options.”
Cincinnati has had four games rained out this season. Other delays caused by weather and 10 extra-inning games have led to travel hassles.
One of those long games was a 2-1 loss in 13 innings at the New York Mets. The game was suspended because of rain on June 27 and completed the next day.
“We’ve had some really strange issues,” Price said. “I think we’ve done fairly well dealing with the challenges. … I don’t think it’s been an issue — certainly not an excuse for being six games under .500.”
Nationals: Span, who sat out Tuesday, is expected to be examined Thursday by a specialist in Dallas. “I’ve still been maintaining my play on the field. We didn’t think it was anything serious. But it’s got to the point now where I’ve got to figure out what’s going on,” he said. … INF Yunel Escobar (hamstring strain) was going to be available off the bench after sitting out Tuesday’s loss, Williams said.
SWINGIN’ FOR THE FENCES
Next week’s Home Run Derby matchups were announced. Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier will face Texas’ Prince Fielder in the opening round of the new bracket format. Frazier’s 25 home runs were tied for third-best in the majors.
The Nationals recalled RHP Taylor Hill from the minors and optioned RHP Taylor Jordan to Triple-A Syracuse.
Reds: Lorenzen (3-3, 3.58 ERA) is the most likely starter Thursday against the Marlins, Price said.
Nationals: Whenever he pitches next, Gonzalez (6-4, 4.16) will look to extend his streak of one earned run allowed in his last two starts.
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