Nationals weather 4 rainouts over 10 days

Baker making effort to ensure all players get necessary work

March 29th, 2016
The Nationals had a game cancelled due to rain for the second consecutive day Tuesday. (AP)

JUPITER, Fla. -- A Jose Lobaton sacrifice fly had just given the Nationals a 1-0 lead over the Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon when lightning flashed at Roger Dean Stadium in the top of the fourth inning, halting the game. About 30 minutes later, the game was called.

It marked the fourth time in the last 10 days a game involving the Nationals had to be cancelled because of inclement weather. There was nothing the Nationals could do about it, except work inside the Cardinals' Spring Training complex.

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Manager Dusty Baker has to find a way to get work for his bullpen during the rest of the week. Jonathan Papelbon and Oliver Perez were scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but they could throw in a Minor League game or pitch against the Mets on Wednesday.

"You still have to deal with it. You have no choice," Baker said. "You don't like it. … Mother Nature don't care if you like it or not. The way I look at it, we have been very fortunate. [At one point,] we didn't have any rain until now. "

Once the game was delayed, the Nationals didn't stop working. For example, after dealing for three shutout innings, Stephen Strasburg went to the indoor batting cage and threw. Strasburg is scheduled to pitch the home opener at Nationals Park against the Marlins on April 7.

"I was hoping to get these guys nine innings and also get some of the Minor League guys in there. I wanted to see if I could see the difference in some of the guys since [they were sent down]," Baker said.

Baker was most impressed with Scott Sizemore, who was sent to Minor League camp Monday. Sizemore went 2-for-2 in the rain shortened game.

"That goes a long way with me, especially when he was told that he was sent out. He still performed," Baker said. "Whether you are doing it with pride or just loving to play or even anger -- I've been there. As long as you perform, that impresses me."

Up next for the Nationals:

The Nationals play their last game in Florida on Wednesday against the Mets at 12:05 p.m. ET in Port St. Lucie. The game will air on MLB.TV. Right-hander Max Scherzer will take the mound for Washington. Scherzer, who is expected to be the Opening Day starter against the Braves on April 4, is having a great spring, having allowing two earned runs in 13 innings.