US Presswire file photo
The Nats haven't played on Sunday night since the 2008 opener at Nationals Park.
ESPN will nationally televise the May 6 home game against the Phillies, as well as the May 27 game at the Braves. First pitch for both games will be after 8 p.m. EDT, so prepare for some late nights at the ballpark.
The Nationals could make even more appearances on Sunday Night Baseball later in the season. ESPN and MLB don't announce those schedule changes until three weeks in advance of each game.
These two already-scheduled Sunday night games are nearly as many as the Nationals have played over the past seven seasons. They've appeared only three previous times:
-- May 1, 2005 against the Mets at RFK Stadium, a 6-3 loss best remembered for a crazy play in which reliever Joey Eischen broke his non-throwing arm diving after a ball near the mound.
-- April 23, 2006 against the Braves at RFK, a 3-1 loss made possible by a Wilson Betemit three-run homer off Gary Majewski in the top of the eighth.
-- March 30, 2008 against the Braves in the first game played at Nationals Park, with Ryan Zimmerman clubbing a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Nats a 3-2 victory.
These Sunday night games may be great for fans and for national exposure, but they're a nightmare for the players. Sundays are almost always getaway days, which means teams traditionally have to travel immediately following the game.
The Nationals actually catch a break with their first Sunday night game this year because they're off the following day before heading to Pittsburgh for a three-game series. But the May 26 night game at Atlanta will be followed by a 1:10 p.m. Memorial Day game in Miami. Don't be surprised if the Nats show up a bit sluggish for that one.