The Washington Nationals will open their 2021 MLB season on Tuesday afternoon. The Nats, who will be shorthanded, are the last team to kick off their season after four positive COVID-19 tests among Washington players caused the team's first four games to be postponed. Max Scherzer will take the mound at Nationals Park against the winless Atlanta Braves. The two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader Wednesday to make up Monday's postponement.
The Nationals will be playing in front of fans in D.C. for the first time since winning the 2019 World Series. Viewing information and storylines for the game can be found below.
Nationals vs. Braves
Date: Tuesday, April 6 | Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park -- Washington, D.C.
Pitching matchup: Max Scherzer (WAS) vs. Drew Smyly (ATL)
TV: MLB Network, MASN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free); MLB.TV
Odds: ATL +105; WSH -115; O/U: 7.5
Nationals: Five days after their originally scheduled opener, the Nats will finally take the field Tuesday. The team's opening series against the Mets and their Monday game vs. the Braves were called off after four players tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The Nationals announced their Opening Day roster on Tuesday, and they will be without a handful of key players due to the positive tests and contact tracing protocols.
Scherzer will be on the mound to start the season for the Nationals. The 36-year-old righty is coming off a down year by his own standards, but he still posted a 3.74 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings during the shortened 2020 season.
Braves: The Braves opened their season on the wrong foot against the Phillies. Atlanta managed just three runs in three games and were swept by Philadelphia over the weekend. Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman and second baseman Ozzie Albies, in particular, had a rough start to the season. Freeman and Albies combined to go 0 for 21 against the Phillies. Smyly will be making his Braves debut after signing as a free agent in the offseason. The lefty had a 3.42 ERA in seven appearances (five starts) for the Giants in 2020.