Hurricane Florence could bring more havoc to water-logged baseball season
The past few days have been rough for the water-logged Washington Nationals, who had games rained out Friday and Sunday in D.C. and then wet grounds forced a postponement Monday in Philadelphia.
But that may be just a precursor for the scheduling challenge that Major League Baseball may face in the coming days with Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic region later this week.
MLB is doing all that it can to play any makeup games involving possible playoff teams before regular-season play ends Sunday, Sept. 30. The playoffs are slated to begin Tuesday, October 2.
Those plans, however, could be above the MLB pay grade as Mother Nature may have the final say. The NL East-leading Atlanta Braves are slated to begin a series at home Friday with the third-place Nationals, but the hurricane could make it difficult for those games to be played.
And there is no guarantee the Nationals will even be able to get to Atlanta.
Washington was originally supposed to head to Georgia after ending its series Wednesday night with the Phillies in Philadelphia.
But the Nationals now have a makeup game with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday at 4:05 p.m. at Nationals Park after the game was rained out Sunday. Of course, rain is slated to hit D.C. sometime Thursday afternoon. The first-place Cubs entered Tuesday one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.
Then Washington had a game postponed Monday due to “wet grounds” in Philadelphia after the grounds crew did not cover the field for part of this past weekend while the Phillies were in New York. It was the first time since Sept. 21, 1987, in Milwaukee, that a game was postponed due to “wet grounds,” according to Retrosheet.
“For the safety of players on both teams, I didn’t want to put our players out there,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters in Philadelphia. “So we’ll go back and try again (with a possible doubleheader Tuesday).
The Braves are in San Francisco through Wednesday, are off Thursday and are slated to host the St. Louis Cardinals in a series that begins Monday. But that series, along with the one with the Nationals, could be in danger.
The Marlins and Pirates are scheduled to play a makeup game Monday, Oct. 1 in Pittsburgh. But that game may become irrelevant if and when the fourth-place Pirates are eliminated from postseason play. The fifth-place Marlins game on Monday in New York against the fourth-place Mets was also postponed due to rain.
This has been one of the wettest seasons in recent memory for MLB. There were 25 games postponed in April, tying a record set in 2007, and now rain is playing havoc this month.
Nats radio broadcaster Dave Jageler tweeted Monday that, in the past 72 hours, the Nats had been involved in 10 hours, 58 minutes of rain delays while playing six hours, 23 minutes of baseball.
At the minor league level, the Potomac Nationals, based in Woodbridge, Virginia, are in the championship series of the Single-A Carolina League. That series was slated to begin Tuesday in Buies Creek, North Carolina against a farm team of the world champion Astros. The best-of-5 series is slated to hold Game 3 in Woodbridge on Thursday, weather permitting.
Hurricane Irma forced the Carolina League to cancel the 2017 Mills Cup championship series.