Nationals lose opening series to Atlanta
The Washington Nationals opened the 2023 season by dropping their first two games, but they were able to win the last of the three home games versus the Atlanta Braves. During those first two losses, three unsettling developments involved the number three.
- Three errors. On Opening Day, three errors by CJ Abrams reminded many Nats fans of a young Ian Desmond. However, Desmond only made one error during his first Opening Day start as the Nats everyday shortstop. Eerily, Abrams’ first mishandle also came on the first ball hit to him in game 1. It worked out well overall for Dezzy’s career. At 22, CJ still has plenty of time to recover and thrive.
- Three innings. Also on Opening Day, Nats starting pitcher Patrick Corbin began the season just as he performed in the prior two. Corbin was only able to last three innings. The Nats defense let Corbin down, but in facing 20 batters, he allowed ten of them to reach by base by hit (seven) or walk (three).
- Three homers. In game two versus the Braves on Saturday, Josiah Gray also picked up right where he left off in 2022. Gray gave up HR-bombs to the first two Atlanta batters he faced. Later in the game, Gray gave up a third dinger.
On a more positive note, who were the Nats Top 3 Players of the Opening Series?
- MacKenzie Gore. Gore’s first career start at Nats Park resulted in the team’s first victory in 2023 on Sunday April 2. Gore struck out six batters in 5.1 innings, but also walked four. The lefty sporting a cool looking #1 on his jersey, faced 21 batters and his Groundout-to-Airout Ratio (GO/AO) was 1.67.
- Keibert Ruiz. It was a good start to the season for the switch-hitting catcher as Ruiz went 4 for 10 during the three-game set. Ruiz knocked two hits in each of the first two games, including a ripping double down the LF line on Opening Day and a HR wallop to the upper deck and tucked inside the right field foul pole on Saturday. Two walks on Sunday added up to a .500 on base percentage for the first three games of the season for Ruiz.
- Dominic Smith. It’s still taking some time for me to adjust to seeing a different Washington lefty batter wearing number 22. But Smith was 3 for 10 with 2 walks and two strikeouts in his first series as a National. Smith also played defense at first base and was on the finishing end of all seven double plays turned by the Nats in the series.
- After 3 games, the Nats lead all of MLB with 7 double plays.
- Thanks to Dave Preston of WTOP Sports who pointed out that for the first time since April 21, 2022, the Nationals were NOT in last place in the NL East.
Luis Garcia ran into the only out on the bases when he got nailed trying to steal second on Sunday in the 4th inning.
Joey “Four Bags” Tracker
Joey Meneses hit safely twice in five at bats and an RBI on Opening Day, March 31. In the next two games, Meneses struggled.
- 0-4 with 3 strikeouts on Saturday.
- 1-4 with 2 strikeouts on Sunday.
Corey Dickerson experienced left calf tightness in the late innings of last Saturday’s game. Before that, Dickerson was 0 for 2 with a walk and two strikeouts. Subsequently, Dickerson was placed on the 10-day injured list. To fill his spot on the Nats roster, Stone Garrett was called up from Triple-A Rochester. Garret will probably split time with Alex Call in left field.
Kevin Plawecki was signed to a minor league deal on Saturday according to Andrew Golden of the Washington Post. Plawecki, 32, will initially report to the Rochester Redwings. This move makes a lot of sense for the Nats. Although Plawecki’s offensive and defensive skills are in decline, his eight years of experience will come in handy for the Nats’ developing pitchers and catchers. In five of Plawecki’s eight seasons, he has made at least one appearance on the pitcher’s mound. You can’t rule out that scenario in 2023.
Time and Attendance for each Home Game
|Home Game #||Time of Game||Attendance|
Up Next for Washington
Next Up for the Nats, the Tampa Bay Rays are in town for a three-game series. Following that, the Nationals begin a seven-game road trip starting with four games in Colorado and then three games in Anaheim vs the Angels.