Game 1 lineups: Nats at Reds (Senzel scratched)

CINCINNATI – And away we go!

Forget about anything that happened last season. Forget about anything that happened over the winter. Forget about anything that happened during spring training. It all made for great conversation and debate, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Starting today, we have actual baseball to watch and evaluate.

The 20th season of Washington Nationals baseball begins on the road. It’s actually the first time the Nats have opened on the road since 2018, when rookie manager Davey Martinez debuted with a win in … Cincinnati! This is the eighth road opener in club history, and it’s strange to think the only repeat towns during that time are New York and Cincinnati of all places.

This is also only the fourth Opening Day against someone from outside the National League East. The others: at the Cubs in 2012, home against the Yankees in the bizarre 2020 season. Among division foes, the Nationals have faced the Mets and Braves five times apiece, the Marlins four times and the Phillies twice.

The last 12 season openers have seen only three starting pitchers take the mound: Max Scherzer (six times), Stephen Strasburg (four) and Patrick Corbin (two). But today, the Nats pass the ceremonial baton to someone new: Josiah Gray, who makes his first career Opening Day start, against the franchise that drafted him in 2018 (and then traded him to the Dodgers six months later).

On the mound for the Reds will be Frankie Montas, the 31-year-old right-hander who signed this winter for $16 million after eight previous seasons with the White Sox, Athletics and Yankees. Montas missed almost the entire 2023 season following shoulder surgery, returning only to make one relief appearance at the end of September.

Update: We had a late lineup change for the Nationals: Nick Senzel was scratched after taking a grounder off his finger during batting practice, so it'll be Ildemaro Vargas starting at third base and batting eighth now.

Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Gametime: 4:10 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM,
Weather: Mostly sunny, 56 degrees, wind 10 mph out to left field

SS CJ Abrams
RF Lane Thomas
LF Jesse Winker
DH Joey Meneses
1B Joey Gallo
C Keibert Ruiz
CF Eddie Rosario
3B Nick Senzel Ildemaro Vargas
2B Luis García Jr.

RHP Josiah Gray

2B Jonathan India

CF Will Benson
1B Christian Encarnacion-Strand
3B Jeimer Candelario
RF Jake Fraley
SS Elly De La Cruz
LF Spencer Steer
DH Nick Martini
C Tyler Stephenson

RHP Frankie Montas

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