Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’

Weekly Review (4/9)

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Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day storylines, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.

After a long spring, the Nationals made their much-anticipated return to Washington to begin the 2012 season. Following one final game in Florida against the Red Sox at their brand new Grapefruit League home, JetBlue Park, the two teams squared off again in our Nation’s Capital. While the Nationals made a valiant comeback, rallying from a 6-0 deficit to take a late lead, the real story of the day came in the second game played on the field, as the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team soundly defeated a group of D.C. celebrities.

The Nationals hit the road to officially open the season, sending Stephen Strasburg to the hill at historic Wrigley Field for his first-ever Opening Day start. Washington couldn’t break through to provide the heralded right-hander with any run support during his seven strong innings, but rallied with single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to steal a 2-1 victory. Meanwhile, as the team enjoyed an off-day on Friday, outfielders Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse were just up the road from D.C. in Bowie, MD on Major League rehab stints with the Harrisburg Senators. Both players looked just fine at the plate, as each homered in a 5-2 victory.

On Saturday, the Nationals continued their come-from-behind ways, trailing by two late before a five-run, two-out rally in the eighth inning keyed a 7-4 victory. Sunday’s game began to follow the same script, as Washington cut a three-run deficit to one on Adam LaRoche’s two-out, two-run shot in the ninth. However, the team’s third comeback attempt in three days came up just shy in a 4-3 loss to the Cubs.

Thu. @ CHC: W, 2-1

Sat. @ CHC: W, 7-4

Sun. @ CHC: L, 4-3

Weekly Record: 2-1

Past the First Bowie

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With the Nationals enjoying an early off day Friday following their thrilling, 2-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Opening Day, we decided to make the 20 mile drive northeast from Nationals Park to Price George’s Stadium, home of the Bowie Bay Sox. Why, you might ask, would we do such a thing? We wanted to check in on Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse, both on Major League rehab assignments with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, who opened their season in Bowie. We also wanted a chance to see a couple of prospects – Destin Hood and Danny Rosenbaum – play in a real game.

Rick Ankiel taking batting practice in Bowie. He would go on to homer on the first pitch he saw in the game.

While we didn’t get a chance to see Rosenbaum, a starting pitcher whose turn of the rotation lands on Sunday, we got more than our fill of Ankiel and Morse, despite each taking only three at-bats. They each looked healthy enough right from the start. Ankiel swatted the first pitch he saw deep out of the park to the opposite field, and Morse followed with a ringing double off the wall in right-center. Morse saved his best at-bat for last, though, blasting a towering shot the opposite way that hung in the air forever and still got out on a chilly Maryland night.

We also saw prospects Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus each deliver two-hit nights, both using their speed to their advantage. Both put pressure on the defense with bunts and both stole a bag, contributing to the 5-2 victory. While Hood had an off night at the plate, he looked impressive in his batting practice rounds and clearly is a player to keep an eye on over the next couple of years.

Back to big league ball today, as Nationals fans will get their first regular season look at Gio Gonzalez at Wrigley Field. We’ll have more here at Curly W Live following the game.

Open For Business

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Whew. If there was any question of how the Nationals would respond to the pressures of expectation in 2012, they showed some good signs in their first game of the season on Thursday. However, we’ll all have to wait until Saturday before enjoying chapter two.

The quirky schedule gave the team a day off Friday after just the one game. While players might normally want to save that break for a time later in the season, our fans could certainly use the chance to catch their collective breath after a nerve-wracking, gut-checking, come-from-behind victory over the Cubs on Opening Day at Wrigley Field. This is the type of game they should come to expect, though. With the way this Nationals team is built, there are likely to be a good number of well-pitched, tight, low-scoring affairs all season long. And there will be 161 more games in the next 180 days, so brace yourselves.

Stephen Strasburg looked like a seasoned veteran through seven solid innings in his first Opening Day start.

The opener had a bit of everything to make for an exciting affair: great starting pitching, would-be home runs (knocked down by the wind), sparkling defense, and a pair of late rallies, one to tie the score and the other to put Washington in front for good. Many of the offseason storylines were tested immediately. Could the top two spots in the order get on base? Check – Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa combined to reach safely in five of their 10 plate appearances. How would Stephen Strasburg fare in his first Opening Day start? His line – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 5 K – suggests he was more than up to the task. And what kind of impact could we expect from Davey Johnson’s revamped bench? Look no further than Chad Tracy’s double, which led to Brett Carroll scoring the game-winning run in the ninth. It’s as strong a first impression as Johnson could have hoped for from this group in its collective debut. So on a day when the team managed just four hits, the rest of the pieces came together to get the Nationals that all-important first Curly W.

We need not worry about Ryan Zimmerman, either, whose 0-for-2 (with two walks) performance would have been a 2-for-2 with a pair of home runs, if not for the sharp, gusting wind coming in off Lake Michigan and directly over the center field wall. The third baseman showed just how deep his value really is, though, with two superb defensive plays. He bailed out Wilson Ramos on a pick and swipe tag to catch Alfonso Soriano stealing in the fourth inning, before reversing roles and gunning down Joe Mather at the plate in the ninth (with Ramos applying the nice tag) to preserve the one-run victory.

Jayson Werth couldn't be happier to be reunited with teammate Brad Lidge.

Jayson Werth also had a potential run-scoring, extra-base hit knocked down by the wind early. However, he came up with a great defensive play of his own and battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a bases loaded walk, forcing in the game-tying run in the eighth inning. That’s what team leaders are supposed to do: find ways to contribute, no matter what the circumstance. Werth is one of the best in the game at finding ways beyond the box score to do that. Don’t take our word for it, though. Pick up the first edition of Nationals Magazine when you’re at the ballpark starting next week and read all about it.

There should be no lingering questions surrounding Brad Lidge and his stuff at this point, either. One of Johnson’s fill-in closers (along with Henry Rodriguez), Lidge utterly overwhelmed Reed Johnson with a slider and froze Marlon Byrd with a perfectly painted fastball to end the game. He could be the steal of the offseason for Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo, providing veteran leadership to the back end of the bullpen and the occasional save when called upon.

Nevertheless, it will be great to get Drew Storen back, as it will be to have outfielders Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel in Washington again. Morse and Ankiel are both on rehab assignments with Double-A Harrisburg, which is playing just up the road in Bowie this week.

In the meantime, breathe easy and enjoy the day off. There’s been plenty to talk about, but we’re just one game in. At the end of the day, though, the team is 1-0. And that’s as good of a place as you can be one game into the marathon that is the Major League Baseball season.

Our Time Begins on Opening Day

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“Don’t tell me about the world. Not today. It’s springtime and they’re knocking baseballs around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curveball.” – Pete Hamill

Native Washingtonian and esteemed sportswriter Thomas Boswell once penned the famous notion that time begins on Opening Day. For baseball fans of every generation, this simple ideal expressed their love for the sport in a way that resonated and persisted. It is a sentiment still referenced each spring as planes scatter and leap from the two hubs of the game’s preseason universe only to come to rest in the metropolises that dot the nation. This is our signal, the raised starter’s pistol, of the beginning of the season and, as such, time itself.

Stephen Strasburg takes the hill as the Nationals open 2012.

On this day, hope is always in grand supply, but its depth is not universally equal amongst the 30 squads. By now, even the blindest of faith, the homers of all homers, have admitted to themselves the boundaries of their team’s potential. Nationals fans, such as yourself, have surely looked at past editions of the team with this hesitation – with the hope that you are proven wrong by the team’s success. It’s hard to open yourself up to a team, to become vulnerable, only to have your love go unrequited in the doldrums of the dog days of summer.

Indeed, winning takes time. Building a sustainable, competitive organization takes more than that. It takes smart personnel hires, diligent research on potential draft picks, key pickups through trades, valuable free agent acquisitions, and a generally keen eye for exploiting market inefficiencies. With most winning teams, there is a moment where everything comes together and clicks. It often happens quite suddenly, so that only in hindsight can you look back and say, “well, sure, of course they were that good.”

This spring, your friends and family from Philadelphia and New York will tell you that your team is too young, that they lack the firepower to be true contenders. Some, at their most forgiving, might allow the concession that the Nationals could be competitive in a few years, somewhere down the line. It is neither the time, nor the place to argue with their steadfast proclamations. Simply nod politely, smile, and wait.

You understand. You know that their team’s clock, their time, began years ago. They are clinging to memories of teams past, or younger versions of the ones on the field in front of them this April. They are watching as the grains of sand dwindle in the top of their hourglass. The louder they chirp, the more obvious it is that they understand this. The more they dismiss the reality of the situation, the more clearly they are in denial of where the Nationals are in their own timeline.

Our team’s hourglass flips today, as full of potential as any fan could hope.

Make no mistake, none of it means anything yet. Nothing has been accomplished, not a single game won in the standings. But the squad has been assembled and the excitement in the air is both real and justified. There is no cause for celebration, just anticipation for a truly new beginning. The opportunity is there for the taking in front of a team, an organization, and a city aching for a winner.

It’s time to rethink everything you used to know about your team, right here, right now.

Let’s play ball.

Last Call for Baseball

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The Nationals still have a couple days left in the Grapefruit League season before returning to D.C. Tuesday for their exhibition game against the Red Sox, but Saturday marked the end of the home season at Space Coast Stadium. The fans in Viera were treated to a good matchup, as Opening Day starter Stephen Strasburg took on the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals in the front half of a home-and-home, which will conclude Sunday in Jupiter. But the final home game of spring means much more than just what happens between the lines.

The most recognizable man at Space Coast Stadium got a standing ovation at the end of 2012 Spring Training.

The Team Store is swamped with fans, taking advantage of the final day clearance items. All the familiar sounds of the ballpark can be heard one final time before they go into hibernation until next spring. From the entryway to the ballpark we hear the program vendor hollering his old standard: “Get your program here, only fiiiiiivvvve dollaaaarrrrs.”

Of course, we couldn’t say goodbye to Space Coast Stadium for the spring without paying tribute to the most recognizable man in the park, vendor Vincent R. While he supplies peanuts and water to the crowd, he is most well known for the other commodity that rests in his blue carry-tray.

“Ice cold beer!” he belts out across the ballpark, his booming voice echoing through the concrete bowl, soliciting laughter from newcomers and regulars alike. “Beer that is cold and in ice!”

His line is so well-known around these parts that the stadium PA booth will, on occasion, play a sound effect of a carbonated beverage pouring into a glass after Vincent delivers it. Every ballpark has its nuances, the quirks that make it unique. Space Coast Stadium wouldn’t be what it is without Vincent, who received a standing ovation from the crowd after being recognized during Friday night’s game against the Marlins. After all, this is his 12th season here in Viera, where he began working at just 13 years of age.

The Team Store was buzzing for the final home game.

For Kelley Wheeler – the  Business Operations Manager of the Single-A Brevard County Manatees, who call Space Coast Stadium home during the season – the transition is bittersweet. As the Manatees are a Brewers affiliate, Wheeler and her team have to transition the entire ballpark, from the signage on the walls and scoreboard to the merchandise in the Team Store, all in a 72-hour period to get ready for their first fan event on Wednesday evening. There are no lingering memories, just an extensive overhaul to shift from the very different worlds of Major League Spring Training and the Minor League regular season.

But the end of spring means the beginning of the real season. The laid-back nature of camps in Florida and Arizona give way to the daily intensity and scrutiny of the national media spotlight in major cities all around the country. That pressure is a good thing, though. It only exists because, beginning in just a few days, the games will count. And for the Nationals, in 2012, that’s a good thing.

Sarasota Saturday

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Ironically, the Nationals had to endure one of the longest bus rides of the spring on Saturday to square off against their geographic rivals, the Baltimore Orioles. While the two teams play less than an hour from each other during the regular season, we had to make the three-hour trek to Sarasota for the only matchup with Baltimore this Spring Training season. Thankfully, there was plenty going on around the park to keep us entertained after our long journey.

The Oriole Bird makes his way down the lunch line.

Our entertainment began a full hour before the game itself. We’re used to waiting in lines from time to time, but when we went to grab lunch in the press dining room, the line was, let’s just say, a different sort of animal. The Oriole Bird was making his way down the buffet, whistling his food orders to his handlers as they made him a plate. He got some chips, a couple scoops of macaroni and cheese, some cole slaw, and some… chicken fingers?

“Don’t even go there,” warned one of his handlers gravely. We didn’t.

We did, however, have a Dontrelle Willis sighting. The 2003 NL Rookie of the Year made his first appearance for the O’s after reporting to camp earlier this week. He allowed two runs, one earned, walking three in an up-and-down inning. He still flashed that trademark leg kick, though, and will no doubt be an interesting story for our Beltway rivals to the north.

We even had a little celebrity flair at the ballpark. There is a layout eccentricity at the newly revamped (as of 2011) Ed Smith Stadium, which sets the front row of the press box outside on a deck, in front of the club seating. There is no separation between the two, save for a barrier that is about shoulder-high from press row, and lower than that for the club attendees, who sit a couple of steps higher. As it turned out, club attendee, Maryland resident and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak sat directly behind us for the duration of the contest. Needless to say, whatever fortune he brought with him went to the home side on Saturday.

Dontrelle Willis makes his spring debut against the Nationals.

The game itself did not provide much for Nationals fans to be excited about, but manager Davey Johnson is keeping everything in perspective. He has been giving the possible bench players and minor leaguers the lion’s share of playing time to date, and will begin using his regulars more consistently beginning on Sunday. That is when he, and Nationals fans everywhere, will get a better feel for the 2012 club that will be taking the field in Chicago on Opening Day.

The Nats get to push the reset button following this grueling three-day road stretch (remember, you have to travel both directions the same day, every day in Spring Training) with a home game against the Mets on Sunday. Here are their results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4

vs. Detroit – L, 6-3

@ Atlanta – L, 6-5

vs. New York (AL) – L, 8-5

@ New York (AL) – L, 4-3 (10)

vs. Miami – T, 1-1

vs. Detroit – L, 11-7

@ New York (NL) – L, 2-0

vs. Atlanta – L, 3-2 (10)

@ St. Louis – L, 9-0

@ Houston – L, 5-1

@ Baltimore – L, 12-3

vs. New York (NL) – Sunday, 1:05pm

Overall Record: 5-13-3

One Up, One Down

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It was bound to happen eventually. As good as Gio Gonzalez had looked so far in Spring Training up until Thursday’s contest with the Cardinals, he finally had a bad day. Arguably his best performance of the spring – where he shut out the Red Birds on two hits, striking out two without walking a batter over four innings of work 11 days prior – was wiped from the record books when that game was cancelled due to rain before reaching the fifth inning. Unfortunately for Gio, this is the one that will stick on his stat line, as he absorbed his first loss of the spring in a 9-0 defeat.

It was a good day to remember that these games don’t matter in the standings, something Gonzalez was keenly aware of.

When the Nationals play the Cardinals, there is plenty of red both on the scoreboard and in the stands.

“You’re going to have some of those days,” he said. “The great part about today was that it was Spring Training.”

And if a rough outing in March can translate into a smooth start in August or September against the defending champs, well, the Nationals will certainly take that trade-off. As for the result itself, manager Davey Johnson wasn’t too worried. With the team playing the first of three consecutive road games, the lineup was devoid of many of its regular starters, as players receive alternating days off from the rigors of Grapefruit League travel.

“These are kind of the doldrums of spring,” Johnson explained. “When we come home (to Viera), I’ll be starting guys for nine innings more frequently in the lineup.”

The skipper had a sense of humor about the game as well.

“I don’t want (our guys) peaking too early,” he said, then quipped, “they’re not.”

In other Gio news, earlier this week he learned his assignment as the number two starter, following Stephen Strasburg who’ll toe the rubber on Opening Day vs. the Cubs. The whole point of landing Gonzalez in the offseason trade was to have a power lefty to slot in between the club’s young righties, Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. That appears to be exactly where Gio will fit as the rotation begins its first turn at Wrigley Field in Chicago in just under two weeks.

Gonzalez will follow in the rotation behind Strasburg, who was named the Opening Day starter.

We have one other note from an otherwise largely note-less afternoon. Another oddity of Spring Training came on a routine ground ball from former National Alex Cora in the sixth inning. Cora grounded into a force out, with Minor League second baseman Seth Bynum shuffling the ball to shortstop Andres Blanco at second base. There was nothing remarkable about the play itself, except that #13 (Cora) hit the ball to #13 (Bynum), who made the putout to #13 (Blanco). With the additional Minor Leaguers filling out the roster for the road game, there are often double-ups on jersey numbers, as players keep their assigned jerseys from Minor League camp. Still, it’s unusual to see three players wearing the same number involved in the same play.

The Nationals will play the second of those three straight road games against Houston in Kissimmee on Friday afternoon. Here are the team’s results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4

vs. Detroit – L, 6-3

@ Atlanta – L, 6-5

vs. New York (AL) – L, 8-5

@ New York (AL) – L, 4-3 (10)

vs. Miami – T, 1-1

vs. Detroit – L, 11-7

@ New York (NL) – L, 2-0

vs. Atlanta – L, 3-2 (10)

@ St. Louis – L, 9-0

@ Houston – Friday, 1:05pm

Overall Record: 5-11-3

Capps weathers the storm and Opening Week photos

Matt Capps first save.jpgThe thunderstorm was swiftly approaching Nationals Park, the radar map was decorated with Christmas colors and ominous clouds crept closer with each passing minute. The Head Groundkeeper John Turnour informed the umpires of the looming storm and a few fans in the park intently watched the radar map with their blackberry’s. The Nats were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth with the heart of the Phillies’ lineup ready to create thunder of their own. After last year, it seemed only fitting that lighting would strike at Nationals Park, not the lighting from the sky but the Phillies lineup.

If it was last year, the game would have been at 7:05 p.m.–not at 4:35 p.m.–and postponed due to rain. If it was last year, the Phillies would have tied the game in the ninth. It isn’t 2009. It is a new year and there is a new team and bolstered bullpen. Newly acquired set-up man Brian Bruney pitched a scoreless top of the eighth to preserve a one run lead for closer Matt Capps.  

The bullpen gate swung open and Capps slowly made the walk from right field to the mound–the eye of the storm. Capps doesn’t try to create fear with his entry or stare, he just tries to locate his 95 mph fastball and get outs. There is nothing scary about the soft-spoken Capps. His introduction song is Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” he looks like a cuddly teddy bear and if you didn’t know any better you would bet he wouldn’t be able to grow a beard on his baby face.

He threw a couple of warm-up pitches, walked behind the mound, removed his cap, looked down at the grass and said a prayer–he would need all the help he could get against the fearsome Phillies lineup: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth.

It didn’t take long before there was a storm brewing on the field. Utley doubled and Howard was intentionally walked. Two on and zero outs typically spells tied game.

“Only the rain can save this game for the Nats,” yelled a Phillies fan.

But Capps quickly got Werth to fly out to center and Utley advanced to third.

Cool, calm and collected is Capp’s style. He would only need four more pitches, all fastballs, to get the save. He got Raul Ibanez to fly out to left and Shane Victorino to fly out to shortstop.

“To go through that lineup, you have to feel good about it,” Capps said. “It was a great feeling when Guzman caught the ball because I knew it wasn’t hit well [enough] to do any damage. Nyjer did a great job on that ball Werth hit. Nyjer getting that ball saved the game. There were a few more nerves going out in that save situation. Everything felt good today. I threw the ball well… today felt good.”

Capps nailed it down and beat the storm on the field and avoided the storm in the sky. The rain would eventually fall but the Nats were already celebrating on the train to New York. It was only one game but it was an important win and it would have been an even tougher loss, a type of loss they experienced one too many times last year.

“As we saw Bruney battle there in the eighth, and the way Capps was firing in the ninth, it was really encouraging to see because our pitching has to come together,” Jim Riggleman said. “It’s making strides. It’s coming together. When it does, it’s going to give us a chance.”

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. I don’t know where they got that arbitrary number. I think the best pictures are worth zero words–they tell the story so you don’t have to. But for the sake of argument, let’s say a picture is worth 10,000 words. So here is a thesis paper worth of photos as we look back at the Opening Series…


Nats fan.JPG
nyger morgan opening day c.JPG
040510-363 ryan zimmerman c.JPG
nationals park opening day 2010.JPG
pres. obama first pitch.JPG
zimmerman and obama.JPG
obama in the booth.JPG 

2010 Opening Day Lineup

2010 Opening Day Lineup


  1. Jimmy Rollins – SS
  2. Placido Polanco – 3B
  3. Chase Utley – 2B
  4. Ryan Howard – 1B
  5. Jayson Werth – RF
  6. Raul Ibanez – LF
  7. Shane Victorino – CF
  8. Carlos Ruis – C
  9. Roy Halladay – SP



  1. Nyjer Morgan – CF
  2. Willie Harris – RF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Adam Dunn – 1B
  5. Josh Willingham – LF
  6. Adam Kennedy – 2B
  7. Ivan Rodriguez – C
  8. Ian Desmond – SS
  9. John Lannan – SP


Below is the list of Opening Day lineups since the Nationals returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005. Cristian Guzman has been a mainstay and Livan Hernandez is back but the better question is… where were you when Terrmel Sledge started in left field?

2009 Opening Day Lineup–a 12-6 loss on April 6 against the Marlins at Land Shark Stadium.

  1. Lastings Milledge – CF
  2. Cristian Guzman – SS
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Adam Dunn – LF
  5. Nick Johnson- 1B
  6. Austin Kearns- RF
  7. Ronnie Belliard- 2B
  8. Jesus Flores- C
  9. John Lannan- SP


2008 Opening Day Lineup–a 3-2 victory over the Braves to open up Nationals Park. Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

  1. Cristian Guzman – SS
  2. Lastings Milledge – CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Nick Johnson – 1B
  5. Austin Kearns – RF
  6. Paul Lo Duca – C
  7. Elijah Dukes – LF
  8. Ronnie Belliard – 2B
  9. Odalis Perez – SP


2007 Opening Day Lineup–a 9-2 loss to the Marlins at RFK Stadium.

  1. Felipe Lopez – 2B
  2. Cristian Guzman – SS
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Austin Kearns – RF
  5. Dmitri Young – 1B
  6. Brian Schneider – C
  7. Ryan Church – LF
  8. Nook Logan – CF
  9. John Patterson – SP


2006 Opening Day Lineup–a 3-2 loss to the Mets on April 3 at Shea Stadium.

  1. Brandon Watson – CF
  2. Jose Vidro – 2B
  3. Jose Guillen – RF
  4. Nick Johnson – 1B
  5. Alfonso Soriano – LF
  6. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  7. Royce Clayton – SS
  8. Brian Schneider – C
  9. Livan Hernandez – SP


2005 Opening Day Lineup–a 8-4 loss to the Phillies on April 4 at Citizens Bank Park.

  1. Brad Wilkerson – CF
  2. Cristian Guzman – SS
  3. Jose Vidro – 2B
  4. Jose Guillen – RF
  5. Nick Johnson – 1B
  6. Vinny Castilla – 3B
  7. Terrmel Sledge–LF
  8. Brian Schneider – C
  9. Livan Hernandez – SP

Roster set for now

The Nationals finalized their 25-man roster yesterday, however, it won’t be long before it changes. The Nats kept an extra reliever (eight total) because they won’t need a fifth starter–Livan Hernandez–until Sunday against the Mets.

“There are a couple of spots that are going to be vulnerable when we add the fifth starter,” Jim Riggleman said. “So that will be another tough call. A lot of guys are making the club right now, but we can’t carry eight relievers when we get to the 11th of April.”

Opening Day 2010

The Rotation:

1.      John Lannan – LHP

2.      Jason Marquis – RHP

3.      Craig Stammen – RHP

4.      Garrett Mock – RHP


1.      Matt Capps – RHP

2.      Brian Bruney – RHP

3.      Tyler Clippard – RHP

4.      Sean Burnett – LHP

5.      Miguel Batista – RHP

6.      Jason Bergmann – RHP

7.      Jesse English – LHP

8.      Tyler Walker – RHP


1.      Wil Nieves

2.      Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez


1.      Ryan Zimmerman

2.      Cristian Guzman

3.      Ian Desmond

4.      Adam Dunn

5.      Adam Kennedy

6.      Alberto Gonzalez

7.      Mike Morse


1.      Willie Harris

2.      Nyjer Morgan

3.      Josh Willingham

4.      Willy Tavares


Here is a look back at the Opening Day 2009 25-man roster. (The names in bold are on the 2010 Opening Day roster.)

The Rotation:

1.      John Lannan – LHP

2.      Scott Olsen – LHP–Triple-A Syracuse

3.      Daniel Cabrera – RHP

4.      Shairon Martis – RHP–Triple-A Syracuse


1.      Joel Hanrahan – RHP

2.      Joe Beimel – LHP

3.      Mike Hinckley – LHP

4.      Wil Ledezma – LHP

5.      Saul Rivera – RHP

6.      Steven Shell – RHP

7.      Julian Tavarez – RHP


1.      Jesus Flores–60-day DL 

2.      Wil Nieves

3.      Josh Bard


1.      Ryan Zimmerman

2.      Cristian Guzman

3.      Ronnie Belliard

4.      Nick Johnson

5.      Willie Harris

6.      Alberto Gonzalez


1.      Adam Dunn

2.      Lastings Milledge

3.      Austin Kearns

4.      Josh Willingham

5.      Elijah Dukes

It was an unconventional roster, with 11 pitchers and 14 position players, three of which were catchers. They could do that because they didn’t need a fifth starter until the middle of April. Jordan Zimmermann was the fifth starter but wasn’t called up until April 20 when Josh Bard was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.