Washington Nationals Opening Day Recap

After all the suspense, Opening Day has come and gone, and the Nationals had a lackluster performance to sell it straight.
Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds / Ben Jackson/GettyImages

Opening Day began on the road for the first time in 6 years, with Washington heading to Cincinnati for a 3-game set. Washington would send RHP Josiah Gray to the mound, who earned his first opening day start of his career following his first career All Star appearance last season. Opposing Josiah would be veteran RHP Frankie Montas, who had not pitched since early 2023 due to injury. The Lineup looked quite different for the Nationals, with Joey Gallo playing first, Eddie Rosario starting over Victor Robles in Center, and Jesse Winker starting in LF due to Stone Garrett being on the IL. 3B Nick Senzel was slated to start, but due to a finger injury during game warm-ups, Ildemaro Vargas stepped in and played 3rd at the last minute.

The game began on a 54-degree day at 4:10 PM, and the Nationals came out aggressive with the bats, but to no avail. Many quick counts and quick at bats gave Montas the upper hand, as the first 15 outs did not leave the infield. Josiah Gray would struggle in his opening day start against the team that drafted him, going 4 innings giving up 7 runs, striking out 6 and walking 2 batters. Nick Martini played as Gray’s kryptonite, hitting 2 homers against the right-hander for Cincinnati. Montas would deal in his first real start in over a year, going 6 strong innings, striking out 6 and walking 0 Nationals. The Nationals would fall to the Reds 8-2 and will start the season 0-1.

There are some positives to the game, as many of the new Nationals played very well. LF Jesse Winker went 1-4 in his return to Cincinnati but was caught trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning. CF Eddie Rosario would provide the teams only scoring with a 2-run home run in the 7th inning off Emilio Pagan.

The new righties in the bullpen Dylan Floro & Matt Barnes both pitched scoreless innings, and lefty Robert Garcia would as well, striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced. RHP Tanner Rainey would also return to the mound but gave up a run in the 8th inning.

The biggest worry for Josiah Gray has always been the long ball. Giving up 38 in ‘22 and 22 in ‘23. One of the biggest keys for Josiah’s success will be limiting the long ball this season. LHP Patrick Corbin will look to shine in what is likely to be his final season with Washington, getting the start in game 2, and second year RHP Jake Irvin gets the start in Game 3.

Unfortunately for Nick Senzel, the finger injury has landed the veteran on the 10-day injured list. However, this has provided a great opportunity for one of the young prospects. INF Trey Lipscomb received word that he would Travel to Cincinnati and make his Big League debut against the Reds on Saturday. Lipscomb hit .400 in spring training and many fans believed he had earned a spot on the roster over Nick Senzel or Nasim Nunez. Now, Lipscomb joins the team and will get to run across the red carpet when the team returns home on April 1st against Pittsburgh.

The Nationals will get a chance to even the series and their overall record today as they will send out LHP Patrick Corbin for game 2 against the Reds. On the other side, fireballer Hunter Greene will be on the mound for Cincinnati. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10pm EST.