Opening Series Preview: Washington Nationals

bryce harper

The long winter is over. It is Opening Day 2014!

The Mets will begin their schedule playing host to the division rival Washington Nationals. A team that finished 2013 on a strong note, but still comes into the new season having something to prove to make up for an overall disappointing campaign. For the Mets, 2014 has been marked by Sandy Alderson believers as the year the team is supposed to get competitive. An injury to Matt Harvey hampered those expectations a bit, but for the first time since Bernie Madoff began to make headlines, the Mets enter the season with an improved roster, at least from a free agent acquisition standpoint. It is the Opening Series, so a time for all fans to be optimistic. The Mets will play three games against the Nationals before Cincinnati comes to town over the weekend.

The Nationals

The Washington Nationals will not soon forget October 12, 2012. It was Game 5 of the NLDS and somehow a 6-0 lead turned into a 9-7 defeat. The Nationals had a remarkable season in 2012 ruined by a heartbreaking defeat. 2013 was supposed to be their year of redemption, or at least continued realization of a young roster stocked with talent. Instead, the team struggled to find any groove, hovering around .500 most of the season, before finishing September with an 18-9 record. Ex-Met manager Davey Johnson didn’t get a chance to complete his dream of another World Series title. 2014 brings a new manager and fresh opportunity for the Nationals to take their talented roster back to where they left off on that October night in 2012.

2014 Lineup

The Nationals return with the same lineup they used most of 2013.

  1. Denard Span CF
  2. Ian Desmond SS
  3. Jayson Werth RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  5. Bryce Harper LF
  6. Adam LaRoche 1B
  7. Wilson Ramos C
  8. Anthony Rendon 2B

New Faces

  • Matt Williams will take the managerial reigns from Davey Johnson. It will be his first year as a major league manager.
  • The Nationals lost starting pitcher Dan Haren, who signed with the Dodgers in the offseason, but replace him with the under-appreciated Doug Fister. In his last two seasons with Detroit, Fister pitched over 370 innings, striking out 7.19 per 9 innings, walking only 1.97 per nine, while allowing only 0.70 HR/9.
  • For added depth on the bench, the Nationals signed OF Nate McLouth and traded for back-up catcher Jose Lobaton.

Key Injuries

  • Newly acquired Doug Fister will start the season on the disabled list with a sprained lat.

Pitching Probables

Monday (1:10):  RHP Dillon Gee (0-0) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-0)
Wednesday (7:10):  RHP Bartolo Colon (0-0) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-0)
Thursday (1:10): RHP Zack Wheeler (0-0) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0)