Game #1 Opening Day Redux with a lineup surprise!

On the originally scheduled Opening Day on April 1 for the Washington Nationals, the itinerary was chock-full with a must-see lineup for the fans in attendance as the team promised a full slate of pageantry. The pre-game was to have the military F-16 flyovers, patriotic hymns sung by military choirs, an awards ceremony, a 2019 World Series banner re-raising, and a mystery guest to throw out the first pitch. And of course each player on the Opening Day roster would get his name called as they would run down a red carpet to line up on the baseline to the applause of a sell-out crowd of 41,313 5,000 screaming fans.

There is some good news and some bad news for Nats fans, almost everything will remain the same in the pre-game is the good news — but the bad news is that the Opening Day roster will be vastly different due to COVID positives and contact tracing with nine players moved to the IL. To use the words of general manager Mike Rizzo, “several” players from the original Opening Day roster will not be on today’s roster. That would be 10 players in total if you include Will Harris who was officially put on the IL with a hand injury. This is the reality. Max Scherzer will still be the starting pitcher.

For those who were complaining about the weather reports of last week that had wind chills that would have made it feel near 30°F at first pitch, they will love today’s weather report of 72°F at first pitch with NW winds at only 6 mph.

Expect a surprise in today’s starting lineup, and don’t always believe everything you hear or see on the Interwebz. Early reports last week on Twitter had people fingering Starlin Castro as the ground-zero root of the ‘rona as people were calling it, Juan Soto was named by weak sources as being out, and Carter Kieboom was going to have to start at 3rd base. Where do these rumors start?

Yes, part of the problem is that the Nationals enjoy giving limited information. It reminds you of the kid’s game of “I have a secret, and I’m not telling you.” The mind wanders and with vivid imaginations and some negative thoughts you get rumors that spread like wildfire. The team trotted out exactly 26-players onto the field yesterday for practice, but might have had a few players inside in the batting cages who never appeared outside. The media inside the stadium chronicled the 26-players they saw. That became the gospel except that Jonathan Lucroy could find his way onto the roster if he passes his in-take COVID test.

Within a few hours, we will have the Opening Day roster and the starting lineup. Until then, guess away.

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch:  4:05  pm EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app

Line-ups subject to change without notice:

1. Victor Robles CF
2. Trea Turner SS
3. Juan Soto RF
4. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
5. Starlin Castro 3B
6. Hernan Perez 2B
7. Andrew Stevenson LF
8. Jonathan Lucroy C
9. Max Scherzer RHP


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