"It's a marathon, not a sprint."
And though the saying refers to the importance of a 162-game season over one single game, especially early in the summer, it could just as easily refer to the Phillies' current series in Washington.
Thanks to the capriciousness of Mother Nature, who has been something of a mean mother when it came to April showers, the Phillies and Nationals find themselves in the midst of a compressed four-game set in which, barring even more rain, all 39-or-more innings are scheduled to be played in the space of fewer than 48 hours.
The Friday night game began at 7:05 p.m. ET and finished 12 innings and four-and-a-half hours later, shortly before midnight.
Both clubs were up bright and early Saturday with a day-night doubleheader to look forward to, with 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. starts, respectively.
The weekend is capped with a great big cherry of a Sunday start at 1:35 p.m.
Add to that the threat of, yes, more rain on Saturday and Sunday, and the picture could get even muddier, both literally and figuratively.
Even for a team of athletes in peak condition, it's still a grind. But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel thinks it's just part of the game.
"It ain't hard," mused Manuel on Friday afternoon before he watched nearly his entire bullpen trot out to the mound for an eventual 10-6 victory. "Baseball is geared for that. You play doubleheaders, you play split doubleheaders, you play day games -- that's part of the season. It's part of the journey. They can handle it. Some guys might play both games of the doubleheader."
Still, Manuel did tweak his pregame schedule to give guys a break, rescheduling the bus from the hotel to the park to an 11 a.m. departure time and canceling batting practice. (There turned out to be a tarp on the field anyway).
The players definitely hastened their postgame "primping" Friday night, though, looking to get as much sleep as they could and already thinking ahead to morning caffeine, but they were philosophical about it as well.
"You know what? I think there may be a visit to Starbucks tomorrow morning," said Ryan Howard, who contributed to the victory with a three-run homer, with a laugh on Friday night. "It's going to be a long day, but hopefully it will be a fun day."
The good news? After a postgame train ride back to Philadelphia on Sunday, the team has Monday off. However, at least part of that off-day will be spent en route from Philadelphia to Cincinnati, where the Phillies open their next road trip on Tuesday.
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less