MLB: Exhibition-Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles

The 2021 Washington Nationals season was supposed to begin on Thursday, April 1. After four players tested positive for COVID-19, however, they still sit at 0-0. They will finally get to take the diamond for real game action on Tuesday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves

The good news for the Nationals is they'll have a rested and surely amped Max Scherzer on the mound to start the game. The bad news is their roster is a bit depleted. The following nine players were placed on the injured list without an injury designation (which, likely, means COVID-related, whether through testing or contact tracing). 

With either Avila or Gomes along with Bell and Schwarber, that's three of their regular starters, including two middle-order hitters. Corbin is one of their vaunted "three aces," while Hand was set to assume closing duties. It's a rather important chunk of players, even if they were spared the likes of Scherzer, Juan Soto and Trea Turner to start. 

On that note, here's their "Opening Day" lineup. 

  1. Victor Robles, CF
  2. Trea Turner, SS
  3. Juan Soto, LF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  5. Starlin Castro, 3B
  6. Hernan Perez, 2B
  7. Andrew Stevenson, LF
  8. Jonathan Lucroy, C
  9. Max Scherzer, RHP

The opponent is the Braves, who started the season by getting swept in Philadelphia. The offense hit just .128/./180/.223 while 12 hits and three runs scored. One could spin this as the Nationals catching the Braves before they've heated up or that this is awful timing for the Nats, with the mighty Braves' offense clearly being a sleeping giant ready to wake up at a moment's notice. 

Regardless, it'll be good to finally see the Nationals get on the board, whether in the win or loss column. We'll finally have all 30 teams in action.