Redbirds must find makeup date for Nationals

Monday, May 4, 2009

The final game of the four-game series was was rained out Sunday in Washington.

WASHINGTON -- John Lannan was prepared to face the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. Instead, the Washington Nationals left-hander waited out a nearly 2-hour rain delay, then turned his attention to watching video of an unexpected opponent.

Sunday's scheduled game between the Cardinals and Nationals was postponed by rain after a delay of 1 hour, 54 minutes. Lannan's start was pushed back to tonight, when he'll face the Houston Astros at Nationals Park.

Sunday's game never got started as persistent showers swept through Washington and never let up.

No makeup date was immediately announced, and choosing one for the rescheduled game could be tricky. It was the last in a four-game series between the teams that marks the Cardinals' only visit to Washington this season.

The game was postponed at 2:29 p.m.

St. Louis already had scratched scheduled starter Kyle Lohse because of the wet conditions and replaced him with reliever Kyle McClellan, who would have made his first major league start.

Instead, McClellan will return to the bullpen and Lohse will start tonight at home against Philadelphia.

"We said McClellan was going to be the starter, so we got Kyle out of his starter mentality [and] thinking about tomorrow," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That works well."

McClellan, who had never pitched more than three innings in his 78 relief appearances over the past two seasons, was surprised when informed of the switch.

"I had no clue," he said. "I didn't know what the weather was. That's kind of life in the bullpen. The phone rings and you're ready to go."

The Cardinals and Nationals share only three common off days for the remainder of the season: May 28, June 15 and July 23. Washington plays a three-game series in St. Louis from Aug. 28 to 30.

Baseball's collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from playing more than 20 consecutive days, though that provision can be mutually waived by the teams involved.

"We're trying to figure out what the options are," said McClellan, the Cardinals' union representative. "It will probably be a few days."

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