PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Even blow torches couldn’t get the field dry enough for the Nationals and Phillies to play.
Despite unusual methods by the grounds crew at Citizens Bank Park, the game between the Washington and Philadelphia scheduled for Monday night was postponed because of rain. It was rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader Tuesday starting at 3:05 p.m.
Field conditions were poor because of weekend rain and the tarp hadn’t been out.
“Everybody saw the flame-throwers,” Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins said. “They did all they could. We were worried about player safety.”
Nationals star Bryce Harper playfully pretended to slip as he walked out to the first base area. He then grabbed a rake and pushed for a few seconds and reached into a bag to sprinkle a drying agent on the field.
Washington has been rained out on consecutive days and endured several hours of rain delays in their weekend series at home against the Cubs. Sunday’s postponement is scheduled to be made up Thursday.
“We didn’t want anybody to get hurt,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “It was too big a risk for the players.”
Players described the field as “spongy” and “soft” and guys from both teams tested the field during several conversations between umpires and team officials.
The Phillies began the day 4 ½ games behind Atlanta in the NL East.
Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.61 ERA) was scheduled to start for Philadelphia. He said he wasn’t sure whether he’d pitch the first or second game Tuesday. Nick Pivetta (7-11, 4.66) will take the mound in the other game.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) will start the opener and Tanner Roark (8-15, 4.23) will pitch the nightcap.
Earlier in the day, the game between the Miami Marlins and Mets in New York was called off because of rain. There have been 51 weather-related postponements in the majors this season after there were 39 all of last year.