Game #1 Opening Day marks the 20th in Nats’ history

Today marks the first game in the 20th season of Washington Nationals baseball. This season also coincides with the 100th anniversary of Washington’s first World Series win in 1924, and the fifth year since the Nationals won their World Series in 2019. While much has changed in the past 20 years, the one constant is that every year brings plenty of surprises. Nothing is scripted, and too often, the best team built on paper does not win the ring.

With the Korean two-game series that the Dodgers and Padres split, every team technically is not tied, as we go into today’s Opening Day for the other 28 teams. The Nats open in Cincinnati for a three-game series and a scheduled day-off tomorrow. Six year ago, these Cincinnati Reds drafted Josiah Gray in the 2nd round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Le Moyne College (Syracuse, NY), and he will be starting this Opening Day against the team that drafted him.

The Nats finished Spring Training with a winning record, and some optimism on their final roster. But now everything counts and a winning record in the Grapefruit League does not necessarily translate to the regular season. This is why we play the games.

“We are coming off one of the best Spring Training camps that we have had since I became the manager. I truly believe that. This group worked as hard as any club out there every single day, and they pushed each other to be their absolute best every time they took the field.”

— manager Dave Martinez said in a statement

The Nats chose Gray to start this opener followed by Patrick Corbin on Saturday and Jake Irvin for Sunday’s series finale in the Queen City. The Nats’ home opener on Monday has MacKenzie Gore on the mound, and the Nats can choose to pitch Gray on one day of extra rest or go with their No. 5 starter Trevor Williams.

Game time temperature for first pitch is forecasted to be around 55 degrees which is about the same temperature the team had for Tuesday’s exhibition game against the top prospects.

While the Nats’ positional roster for this Opening Day only has five changes from last year at this time, the bullpen has a change of six spots, and the rotation has Jake Irvin in place of Chad Kuhl. In the bullpen a year ago, Martinez had Carl Edwards Jr., Erasmo Ramirez, Anthony Banda and Hobie Harris who are all gone, and Mason Thompson is on the 60-day IL, and Thaddeus Ward is in the minor leagues. This 2024 bullpen has five pitchers who finished the season with the 2023 team, and they added Dylan Floro, Matt Barnes, and Derek Law to this roster, the latter two came via NRIs to Spring Training camp on minor league deals.

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. We wait on what the team does with Stephen Strasburg as to whether he retires or goes on the 60-day IL. We should know that shortly. If he goes to the 60-day IL, it does not mean they won’t have a retirement agreed to at a later date. We do know that Stone Garrett will be moved to the 10-day IL to allow him to rehab from his leg injury and not rush him back.

“We’re having conversations with [Strasburg]. I think it’s going to end up where we want it to end up. And, you know, we’re not going to say much more about that because we don’t want it to be a distraction, and he doesn’t want to be a distraction.”

— General Manager Mike Rizzo said to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post a month ago

Here’s what we believe will be the Opening Day roster:

Starting pitchers: Josiah Gray, Patrick Corbin (L), Jake Irvin, MacKenzie Gore (L), Trevor Williams

Relievers: Kyle Finnegan, Hunter HarveyMatt BarnesDylan FloroRobert Garcia (L), Derek LawTanner RaineyJordan Weems

Here are your 13 position players: Riley Adams and Keibert Ruiz (S) for the catchers. For the infielders, CJ Abrams (L), Luis Garcia Jr. (L), Joey Gallo (L), Joey MenesesNasim Nunez (S), Nick Senzel, and Ildemaro Vargas (S). The outfielders are Victor RoblesEddie Rosario (L), Lane Thomas, and Jesse Winker (L)

With all of that, the Nats would be put a total of four Non-Roster Invitees on the active roster, but they did not add any top prospects to this roster outside of Rule-5 draftee Nasim Nunez.

With the four NRIs listed above, and three free agent signings plus Nunez via the Rule-5 draft, that’s eight new faces on this 2024 roster.

With all of the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day as a major event, the game also comes with inflated prices. Who knew that the Reds would have the second most expensive tickets on average for Opening Day? According to a recent report, that is the case at $164 a ticket. WHAT?!?

The Reds are starting right-hander Frankie Montas on the mound, and Martinez will counter with six batters who will go lefty against Montas. That meant starting Eddie Rosario in center field, but the Nats’ manager is staying with the righty Nick Senzel instead of going with the switch-hitting Ildemaro Vargas.

Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds

Stadium: Great American Ball Park; Cincinnati, Ohio
1st Pitch: 4:10 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app; Sirius/XM Online for the Nats with Channel 178 for the opposing team

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

Lineup change: Ildemaro Vargas will play third base in the place of Nick Senzel, batting 8th.

TalkNats is Celebrating the 5 and 100 year anniversaries of World Series Wins by providing Game-by-Game Summaries.
Game 1:
The 2019 Nationals lost on 03/28 at home against the Mets by the score of 0-2 resulting in a record of 0-1. Box Score / Standings
The 1924 Senators won on 04/15 at home against the Athletics by the score of 4-0 resulting in a record of 1-0. Box Score / Standings

This entry was posted in InGame. Bookmark the permalink.