WASHINGTON – The game between the Cubs and Washington Nationals was postponed Friday night after two rain delays totaling more than four hours. It was scoreless in the top of the second inning when it was called.
The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 2:05 p.m.
A thunderstorm delayed the start of the game 81 minutes, but the rain had stopped when play began. Heavy rain and lightning returned with two outs and nobody on in the top of the second inning.
The rain eventually stopped as midnight approached, but the game was called after a wait of 2 hours, 55 minutes.
The rain spoiled the return of Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, who was making his first major league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July of 2017. The 25-year-old Ross, whose fastball reached 97 mph, allowed a hit, hit a batter and had a strikeout.
Jon Lester tossed a scoreless first inning for the Cubs, giving up one hit.
Earlier in the day, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was hopeful the teams would get the game in.
“We want to play. We don’t want rainouts,” Maddon said. “It’s supposed to rain here for three days. We can plow through. We’ve done that already this year so many times.”
“We’d rather plow through this than a doubleheader and a makeup game. We’re going through 23 in a row, so we need to play this,” he said.
The NL Central-leading Cubs are 12-5 in the first 17 games of 23 games in 23 days without a day off.
Washington has lost three straight games and is 2-5 on its 10-game homestand against NL Central teams.
Cubs: Right fielder Ben Zobrist was scratched from the lineup because of neck stiffness.
Nationals: Left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle (stress reaction, left foot) was reinstated from the disabled list. The closer missed 54 games. ... Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (right wrist sprain) threw a 50-pitch simulated game and will throw a bullpen session Sunday.
Cubs lefty Cole Hamels (4-0, 1.00 with the Cubs) and right-hander Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.28) were scheduled to duel for the second time in a month in Saturday night’s game. Neither got a decision Aug. 12 when David Bote’s grand slam off Ryan Madson in the bottom of the ninth won it for the Cubs, 4-3. Hamels is 16-9 with a 2.63 ERA in 36 career starts against Washington, while Scherzer is 3-1, 2.45 in seven starts against the Cubs.