Game #21 and #Nats go with the opener!

Photo of the front gates of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter by Sol Tucker for

Once again the Washington Nationals are traveling that 14-mile road trip to the north to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium which is the Spring Training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals jointly. They are part of the four team configuration along with the Nats and Astros that call Palm Beach County home. This time the Nats face the Marlins for the sixth and final time of the Grapefruit League games. But don’t fret, the Nats and Marlins will play each other 19 more times in this regular season.

The last time these two teams met, the Nats got to face Gio Gonzalez as a pitcher for the Marlins. The Nats absolutely smoked Gio in the game, and was not going to make their team. He decided to retire and posted a beautiful letter on his Instagram account.

” … unfortunately my body wasn’t keeping up with my mind,” Gio wrote. It is something I wrote unfortunately too many times about aging athletes when their bodies will no longer do what the brain asks of it.

“Washington Nationals, what an incredible 7 years you gave me and my family, because of you I will forever be thankful. You helped me become the man/ father I am today, the most unbelievable love I could ever ask for! So happy for the World Series title your team and fans WELL DESERVED! So many incredible people I have met in my time there, that helped with me and my family, THANK YOU!”

For Gio G., he will always be a huge part of Washington Nationals history. He was on the first playoff team of 2012 and won 21-games that year. He won four NL East titles with the team, and was traded during the dismal 2018 season to Milwaukee. Fans loved him even when he frustrated them. Gio had that way about him as he was the “nibbler” on the mound. He loves teaching kids, and hopefully he will coach the youth how to play the game of baseball. His ties back to DC will always be there as his wife is from Maryland and still has family in Montgomery County.

Also of note, manager Dave Martinez is going with the “opener” today with Luis Avilan which will allow Erick Fedde to follow out of the bullpen. It is a sign that Avilan might be the team’s pick for the Opening Day bullpen which seemed to be down to Avilan, Sam Clay and T.J. McFarland.

The Nats almost had what looked like an Opening Day lineup until Starlin Castro had a hamstring tweak. Castro said he was a cramp but the MRI showed that it was a strain. He is still listed day-to-day but it also puts his spot on the Opening Day roster in jeopardy unless he can make it back quickly.

In tonight’s lineup, Trea Turner is back at the leadoff, and the pitcher is in the eight spot with Victor Robles batting ninth. That could be something we see when the Nats are facing a tough righty like Sixto Sanchez in tonight’s game.

Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins
Stadium:   Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Jupiter Florida
1st Pitch: 6:05 pm EDT
TV: No TV but fixed pressbox camera has video
Radio: Nats radio

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

1. Trea Turner SS
2. Juan Soto RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
4. Kyle Schwarber LF
5. Josh Harrison 3B
6. Luis Garcia 2B
7. Yan Gomes C
8. Luis Avilan LHP
9. Victor Robles CF

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