By now you’re used to seeing select games from great and not-so-great Nationals teams of the past on MASN. But we’re throwing you way back with a couple of “Nationals Classics” telecasts this week, starting this afternoon. The Nats’ inaugural season of 2005 turned out better than one might expect of a new club with a bunch of guys no one is considering for Cooperstown. At least it wasn’t a losing year, as the team went 81-81. The Nats did, nonetheless, finish fifth in the National League East, a division in which every other team finished above .500 that season.
You’ll also enjoy a replay of a game from the Nats’ second year in D.C. in which a familiar face does the damage in a Nationals win, as well as a slew of exciting contests from the 2010s. When you get a look at this lineup, you might just want to get snowed in.
Thursday, Jan. 10, 1 p.m. - The first home game ever for the Nationals took place April 14, 2005 at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. The Nats christened their new home right, beating the Diamondbacks 5-3. The visitors made it exciting at the end, with Chad Tracy hitting a three-run homer off Nats starter Liván Hernández in the ninth. Chad Cordero rode to the rescue and recorded his second save of the young season. Third baseman Vinny Castilla went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, incredibly falling short of the cycle by just a single.
Friday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m. - Two of the game’s brightest young stars went toe-to-toe on July 18, 2017 as the Nats and Angels played the first of a three-game series in Anaheim, and Bryce Harper and Mike Trout gave fans their money’s worth. Each homered, and Trout drove in two runs total. Harper’s homer, also a solo, gave him his only RBI of the day, but he scored two while going 4-for-4.
Saturday, Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. - Throughout his career, Ryan Zimmerman has demonstrated a knack for walk-off hits and for giving the Phillies fits. He did both on Aug. 22, 2018, delighting the Nats Park crowd with a two-run homer that gave the home team an 8-7 win over their NL East rivals. The game-winner marked the veteran’s 11th career walk-off. Harper, Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Wilmer Difo, like Zimmerman, had multi-hit games in a seesaw affair.
Sunday, Jan. 13, 1 p.m. - Interleague ball is so much fun that on April 24, 2016 the Nats and Twins couldn’t seem to get enough of it, taking the finale of their three-game series at Nationals Park to the 16th inning before Chris Heisey ended the party with a leadoff homer to left-center that gave the Nats a 6-5 win and a series sweep. Wilson Ramos drove in two runs with an eighth-inning double. The Nats had to make up a run in the 15th, and lefty reliever Oliver Pérez made things happen on offense, reaching base when Twins catcher John Ryan Murphy fielded Pérez’s bunt but then threw wildly to first. That allowed Danny Espinosa to score and kept the marathon going a little longer.
Monday, Jan. 14, 1 p.m. - Back we go to the Nationals’ first series in Washington. On April 17, 2005, the Nats exploded for six runs in the seventh to propel a 7-3 win and complete a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks. The scoring in that big inning started with a two-RBI triple from Nick Johnson. Right-handed reliever T.J. Tucker, playing in his final big league season, picked up a win with minimal effort. Tucker came on in the top of the seventh and got his only batter of the day, Troy Glaus, on a fly ball for the final out of the inning.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 9 a.m. - After finishing at the .500 mark in 2005, the Nats took a step back in their sophomore season in D.C. But one of the beautiful things about baseball is that even the worst team can beat the best on any given game day. On June 18, 2006, the Nats won 3-2 in a walk-off, scoring two in the bottom of the ninth on Zimmerman’s homer to take the rubber game of three at RFK Stadium against the mighty Yankees.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m. - It was Stephen Drew’s turn to give the Nationals an instant win on July 23, 2016, tripling off Padres right-hander Kevin Quackenbush in the ninth to plate Anthony Rendon and give the Nats a 3-2 victory. Max Scherzer pitched seven innings of four-hit baseball, and Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth and got the win.
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1:30 p.m. - No fooling, the Nats really did open the 2013 season at home, beating the Marlins 2-0, on April 1, 2013. Winning pitcher Stephen Strasburg scattered three hits over seven innings. He gave up a base hit to leadoff batter Juan Pierre in the first, but then retired 19 straight. The only runs of the game came from two solo homers from Harper.