Welcome to Opening Day 2022 or Night, as it turns out. It’s the most “normal” Opening Day since 2019. If you call the designated hitter in the National League, normal. It’ll get even less normal in 2023.

This season’s Opening Day is later than it has been because the team owners had a lockout for some reason. I guess the players won? 

It’s going to be a long season for Washington Nationals fans.

The team is a shadow of its former self. Juan Soto is the last man standing in many respects with Stephen Strasburg on the shelf, again. Ryan Zimmerman retired. Max Scherzer is in Flushing, scheduled to on the mound in the bottom of the first for the visiting New York Mets. Trea Turner was also traded to LA, with a year left on his contract. Anthony Rendon went to obscurity in Anaheim.

What’s left besides Soto? 

Patrick Corbin, who was dreadful in 2021 – now the “ace” of the staff. Sean Doolittle, Gerardo Parra and Tyler Clippard are back for nostalgia. Erick Fedde is still around. Joe Ross is hurt again. Carter Kieboom, who can’t hit the area code, but has a hard seltzer deal, is hurt. Josh Bell should hit 25 homers or so. Nelson Cruz might be good for 30 or so. Can’t help but get those Zimmerman-Dunn-Willingham vibes from this lineup. It’s fitting because these Nats are going to remind you of…

2009

Yup, they are going to be bad. Real bad. 95 or more losses bad. Probably worse than last year’s 65-97 team that was two games over as July started. I just assume Chico Harlan bylines, Distinguished Senators, Capital Punsihment and hearing live-reads for pancakes from Charlie & Dave will suddenly appear.

Perhaps Keibert Ruiz is a solid starter behind the dish. He has been more promising than pitcher Josiah Gray. There just isn’t a lot of hope for a while. Perhaps Cade Cavalli can become the first pitcher developed in DC since Walter Johnson. No, it’s not that bad, but maybe Jordan Zimmermann?

Prediction

Prediction? Pain.

63-99 – Enjoy Juan Soto while we can.

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