Harry Doyle, the beloved announcer on the movie Major League, said you can tell how a season is going to go by the first batter of the year. Well, you can’t. However, we like to look back at the top individual performances from Washington Nationals Opening Days of yesteryear.
Having lost six of their first seven Opening Day contests after the franchise moved from Montreal, the Nats righted the ship to run off six wins in the next seven season openers, before settling into the current two game losing streak.
We can all agree, the way Ryan Zimmerman opened up Nationals Park with his walk off home run, is an all-time favorite memory from Opening Day. You won’t find him on this list however, as it was his only hit of the day. He’s been overshadowed by other great performances.
Ranking the Top 3 individual performances from Opening Day in Washington Nationals team history.
We’ll begin with an honorable mention.
Max Scherzer 2018
Scherzer 6 IP, 5 hits allowed, 0 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts (W)
Max Scherzer was coming off back to back Cy Young performances when he took the mound on Opening Day for the Nationals in 2018. On the strength of a Ryan Zimmerman run scoring ground out in the first inning, the Nats handed a 1-0 lead to Scherzer to protect. He did just that. Mad Max accumulated seven strikeouts through three innings, and allowed just one runner past second base all day. After 100 pitches he was pulled and gave way to what the Nats thought was going to be the best backend of a bullpen, period. Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madsen and Sean Doolittle completed the shutout, giving Scherzer the win. The bullpen faltered all the season, but on day one they were able to lock down the win for the Nationals and preserve Scherzer’s gem.