Welcome to Opening Day 2023. When you don’t make the postseason, the offseason gets real long, and Washington Nationals’ fans have real baseball today after nearly six months without baseball that counts. This Opening Day is historic with all of the new rule changes. The Nats have the Braves in town just like 15 years ago to the day when Ryan Zimmerman hit the walk-off home run against Atlanta for the first game ever at Nationals Park. In 15 years since, some things have not changed, the stadium, despite some efforts, is still called Nationals Park. There is a scheduled day-off tomorrow and then these two teams play on Saturday and Sunday to wrap up the first series of the season. Expect full sunshine today but some chilly weather and 47ºF at first pitch at 1:05 pm. The game should see temps rise as the afternoon moves forward.
The Nats chose Patrick Corbin as their starter for this one. He gets this start despite all of his struggles last year. Until Corbin’s last start of Spring Training, he had put together a string of encouraging starts. The Nats will face Braves’ lefty Max Fried for this one. The Nats plan to pitch Josiah Gray on Saturday and MacKenzie Gore on Sunday. The Braves are supposed to line up Spencer Strider and Jared Shuster for the weekend games.
It appears that the Nats did not make any waiver claims or trades for MLB players, and the 26-man roster seems to be set. Here’s what we believe will be the Opening Day roster:
With all of that the Nats would be putting four Non-Roster Invitees on the active roster, and will need to clear four roster spots on the 40-man roster for Kuhl, Banda, Harris, and Chavis. Most likely that will entail four moves of players to the 60-day IL with Tanner Rainey, Stephen Strasburg, and Cade Cavalli. The fourth spot could open with a move of Victor Arano or Carter Kieboom to the 60-day IL or there could be a surprise DFA.
With the four NRIs listed above, five free agent signings with bringing back Ramirez, and newbies Candelario, Smith, Williams, and Dickerson plus Ward via the Rule-5 draft, that’s nine new faces on this 2023 roster. Some might say it’s 10 new faces with Gore’s arrival from the Padres’ trade through the injured list to a key member of the starting rotation.
Tomorrow or the next few days could also be a time for a waiver claim if general manager Mike Rizzo sees a DFA’d player who he really covets.
With all of the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day as a major event, there will be Clydesdale horses, jet flyovers, and a Ted Lerner memorial ceremony, all before players are announced and the outfield is covered with the largest American flag before D.C. Washington sings the National Anthem in the nation’s capital. You can read all about it here by Ben Belford-Peltzman.
Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app
Line-up subject to change (without notice):