Let’s Play Two… again

The Nationals are playing a day-night doubleheader today thanks to yesterday’s game being rained out. Sound familiar? It should, since the same thing happened over the weekend—Saturday’s game against the Brewers was rained out, leading to a traditional double-header on Sunday. There are two main differences between the two types: a traditional doubleheader is started shortly after the first game ends and you get two games for the price of one and a day-night double header is just that, one game is in the afternoon and one is in the evening and you have to have two tickets to go to both games.

Yes, the Nationals are playing back-to-back doubleheaders. It’s something of a rarity these days. But it wasn’t always so: the Washington baseball record for back-to-back doubleheaders was set in 1909, when the old Nationals played in eight straight doubleheaders between July 27 and August 5. During this time they swept one, split two and were swept five times, leading to a record of 4-12 in that period. That season, Washington finished 42-110. If you’re wondering: yes, that was dead last in the American League.

If eight doubleheaders played back-to-back makes your head spin, hold on to your seat for this one: The Major League record for consecutive doubleheaders was set by the old Boston Braves back in 1928. From August 31 to September 15, the Braves played in a staggering 11—yes, 11—doubleheaders. That included nine in a row. For that 23-game stretch they went 6-17, but managed to avoid the “last in the League” distinction. That went to the Phillies, who placed last in the NL at 43-109.

We like to think that the Nationals of today can appreciate such historic precedence for back-to-back doubleheaders. Since MLB returned to DC in 2005, the Nationals are 3-3-4 (sweeps, swept, splits) when playing twice in a single day, or 10-10 overall. They are 1-2-3 in day-night doubleheaders and 2-1-1 in traditional twinbills.

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