Washington Nationals: Ranking The Past Opening Day Lineups

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May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; General view of Nationals park during the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; General view of Nationals park during the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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2005 – 13.4

The team that pops up in the middle of our countdown is the inaugural Nats team in Washington D.C. On a team that went 81-81 that year, the team added two notable players before that season in third baseman Vinny Castilla (0.8 WAR) and right fielder Jose Guillen (3.8).

This was a unique season in terms of the lineup because two positions shared the same WAR of 3.6. It was Guillen and first baseman Nick Johnson. Coincidentally, those were the two players that were the top two on the home run list (Guillen had 23 and Johnson had 16).

One of the players who had a negative WAR in that lineup was left fielder Terrmel Sledge (-0.2). But. Sledge is a part of history. His two-run home run off Phillies starter Jon Lieber in the top of the sixth on Opening Day was the first home run by a Nats player. He drove in three of the team’s four runs that day.

The first starter in team history was Livan Hernandez (3.0 WAR). He went 15-10 that season with a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts that season. His 15 wins were tied for the second most he had in a single season and he ended up making the National League All-Star team that year.

At Citizens Bank Park that day, the Phillies ended up winning the game by a final score of 8-4. Hernandez did not make it out of the fifth inning as he gave up seven runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings in the loss. Kenny Lofton’s three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth that afternoon turned a 4-1 deficit into 7-1.

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