Nats Off to a Hot Start

(Photo courtesy of

Sean Clary, Staff Writer

After sweeping the Atlanta Braves in a two game series, the Washington Nationals began their 2016 season on Thursday, April 7, in some of the worst Opening Day weather in franchise history.  To make matters worse, the Nationals lost to the Miami Marlins, 6-4.  But the whistling wind, pouring rain, and bitter cold weren’t enough to keep some 41,000 fans from watching their red-hot Nationals kick off the season.  The Nats had right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark on the mound going up against left-handed Adam Conley of the Marlins.  Conley didn’t pitch for long because of an 85-minute rain delay that occurred right after the first inning.  Roark couldn’t find his rhythm as he threw a 31-pitch inning before being forced to sit through a rain delay.  The weather was keeping some Falls Church students from attending the game including Ryan Bailey who said “ I wanted to go to the game and buy tickets but I knew the weather would be a problem.”  

The good news that the Nationals got back from an overall sloppy Opening Day was that Daniel Murphy proved himself yet again with a bases-loaded triple.  Murphy was signed by the Nats after spending seven successful seasons with the rival New York Mets.  Murphy has been everything the Nats expected and more.  He began this campaign right where he left off after having an outstanding postseason in 2015.  Murphy finished his night with two hits and four total bases.

Murphy isn’t the only new blood in the Nationals locker room.  Dusty Baker is the new manager that the Nats have invested in to help realize this team’s full potential.  Baker seems to be liked by the players and he has established an aggressive tone when running the bases which the players seem to like.  Baker felt that the team gave a solid effort against the Marlins considering the strange weather conditions.

Baker said, “The difference in the ballgame is that they got two out hits. … Sometimes, it’s one of those nights where the ball’s falling their way and it’s not falling your way.”

The Nats have one of the strongest pitching staffs in the country and with consistency from power hitters Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy, the Nats could very well be playing into late October, and hopefully even November.  The Nationals franchise has been surrounded by hype and high expectations for the last few years but with a few changes in a successful offseason, the Nats seem to have the best opening day lineup in franchise history.