The Washington Nationals will be able to officially put the 2020 season behind them when they take on the New York Mets to open the 2021 campaign. Thursday, April 1st, is the Nationals first game as they host the new look Mets in a nationally televised game. Let’s take a look at some of the details.
The first pitch will be thrown at 7:09pm EST. The game will be televised on ESPN as the third game of four the sports network is airing on Opening Day. This marks the second straight year the Nationals will have their opener televised on ESPN.
Fans allowed on Opening Day
Yes they are! While the majority of baseball teams are allowing between 20%-32% capacity for attendance (the Texas Rangers are allowing 100% capacity), the Washington Nationals are allowing exactly 5,000 spectators in the gates. This is about 12% of the capacity of Nationals Park. We can thank the city government for this, as at first no fans were going to be allowed in the stadium. The Nationals will discuss increasing the number of fans allowed beginning with games on April 15th.
Two perennial Cy Young pitchers will go head to head in the season’s first game. deGrom is a two time Cy winner and former Rookie of the Year winner as well. He has a 2.61 ERA in 183 career starts. deGrom will be making his third consecutive Opening Day start.
Max Scherzer takes the ball for the Nationals in what will be his fourth consecutive Opening Day assignment and sixth overall since joining the club in 2015. Mad Max has three Cy Young Awards to his name, collecting two while wearing a Nats uniform. He has won 175 games in 368 career starts, boasting an ERA of 3.21.
Opening Days Gone By
The Nationals are 7-9 in Opening Day games dating back to 2005 when the franchise relocated from Montreal. The Nationals have faced the Mets four times previously in the season’s first game, and dropped three decisions, including the 2019 tilt which pitted deGrom against Scherzer. The Nats look to break a mini two game losing streak during Opening Day games.
We are less than a week away from real baseball, where each team gets a fresh start and the games count in the standings!