Soggy field forces Nationals, Phillies to play two on Tuesday
The teams saw their series opener postponed Monday night due to a soggy field that was deemed unplayable. The first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader is set for a 3:05 p.m. ET start.
The damage to the infield at Citizens Bank Park happened Friday when the field was left uncovered overnight and the area got more rain than was anticipated, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The grounds crew worked to dry out the field Monday afternoon and even brought in blowtorches in an effort to make the field playable.
“In retrospect, had I known that it was going to be this much rain, we would have tarped it,” Phillies vice president of business affairs Howard Smith told MLB.com. “We didn’t. Damage was done, and now we’re just playing catch-up.”
The Phillies, meanwhile, have been cold on the field in the last month. The team has not won a series since sweeping the Miami Marlins in early August and is 11-20 in its last 31 games.
The Phillies (74-68) are five games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and five games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card spot.
“I believe in the talent in that room,” first-year Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after a 6-4 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday. “I’ve said that from Day 1. That doesn’t change when we don’t perform at our best, and we didn’t on this road trip.”
The Phillies dropped four of their six games against the Mets and Marlins last week, and they’re 28-32 against NL East foes this year (including an 8-8 mark against the Nationals). However, the Phillies are returning home to Citizens Bank Park, where they are 43-26 in 2018.
The Nationals (71-72), who are eight games back of the Braves, have not played since Saturday. Their Sunday series finale against the Chicago Cubs was rained out at Nationals Park.
Washington’s Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00 ERA) and Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.61) were set to face each other on Monday night, while Tanner Roark (8-15, 4.23) and Nick Pivetta (7-11, 4.66) were the scheduled starters for Tuesday’s game.
Fedde has made seven starts this season, and he returned to the Nationals last week after missing two months with a shoulder injury. He gave up four runs (all in the second inning) on four hits and had seven strikeouts in five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals last Tuesday.
“I think just that second inning got away from me a little bit,” Fedde told mlb.com after the game. “I started getting a little slider happy with some of the guys that came up, and I think I just let it take over.”
Fedde, 25, is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies.
Arrieta was strong in his last outing, notching 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings against the Marlins. The veteran right-hander has allowed two homers in each of his last three starts, including in a three-inning performance against the Nationals on Aug. 29.
Arrieta is 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA in 12 career starts against Washington.