CINCINNATI — Call it ‘The Final Punch in the Stomach’ for the Cincinnati Reds, a one-day trip to Washington to make up a rained out game that is meaningless to both teams.
The game is Monday afternoon in Nationals Park at 3:05 and probably will be witnessed by more pigeons and sea gulls than fans.
The original game was in mid-July and it rained most of that day, but as soon as the game was postponed the sun came out and it rained no more. And rain is predicted for Monday in the nation’s capital.
ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY of rain, manager Bryan Price said, “Awesome. That’s exactly what it didn’t do the last time we got rained out. No rain. Let’s go to Washington and have a legitimate rainout.”
So far this season, the Reds have endured 23 rain delays totaling 30 hours and 25 minutes. And more than 24 hours of those delays have happened on the rain delta of Great American Ball Park.
With the trip to Washington on a scheduled off day, the Reds will finish the season playing 17 straight days.
“THIS IS OUR LAST kick in the seat of the pants,” said Price. “It really is. From a weather standpoint it exacerbates an already difficult and challenging season. To play 17 straight days to end the season is just like rubbing your face in it.”
And for the trip it will be all hands on deck, all hands and feet available to play baseball.
“No, we won’t have a full travel group going to Washington,” said Price. “It will be a modified traveling party. We have some end of season physical stuff, follow-up stuff we can take care of tomorrow.”
All players on the disabled list who normally travel with the Reds won’t go. Josh Smith, Tuesday’s starter when the Reds return home to play the Chicago Cubs, won’t go. Billy Hamilton, scheduled for surgery Tuesday, won’t go.
“But everybody capable of playing, other than Smith, will be going,” said Price. “We have to go there and play hard and play the game to win. We can’t just go roll it out there and play it like a spring training game, because it’s not.”
CATCHER DEVIN MESORACO, one of the disabled list travelers most of the season, won’t be on the Washington excursion.
Asked if there is any concern that Mesoraco won’t be able to catch next year after his hip labrum surgery, Price said, “The only thing I’m waiting to see is him in action. We hope he makes a commitment to come back to Cincinnati after the holidays and works with (catching instructor) Mike Stefanski.
“Then we’ll have a pretty good underetanding of what he looks like when he re-initiates his catching work. We used to hear labrum and thought it was always the shoulder. In the last eight or ten years we’ve come to realize there is a labrum in the hip as well.
“He is a catcher, such a demanding position with the movement for that type of injury,” Price added. “We’ve been given great confidence that this will not hinder Devin moving forward. But it will be nice to see him doing his thing, looking like normal. Once I see that all my reservations will be put to bed.”
AFTER A HULLABALOO of optimism about relief pitcher Sean Marshall pitching in a game or two before the season’s conclusion, well, it isn’t going to happen.
“He won’t pitch,” said Price. “We’ve shut him down because he is having a little recurring tenderness in his shoulder. He tried to work his way through and had some productive bullpen sessions. He probably has thrown over a dozen bullpens but hasn’t been able to get over the hump where he could go an extended period of time without some discomfort.”
In addition, starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias is done for the season with shoulder issues and a range of motion problem.
“We’ve made the decision not to pitch Iglesias,” Price added. “There are some things we want to accomplish with his range of motion. There just isn’t enough time. He was limited in his range of motion when he got here, something not uncommon with pitchers. He’s lost a little range of motion and considering he also had shoulder fatigue it just made no sense for him to pitch the rest of the year. The focus now will be on spring training.”