April 18, 2021

Makeshift Nationals Enjoy Dramatic Comeback Victory on Belated Opening Day (FanGraphs)

If you had Jonathan Lucroy driving in the first runs of the Nationals’ 2021 season, take your ticket to the window and claim your winnings. Due to a COVID-19 outbreak that forced the team to sideline nine players, the 34-year-old backstop, who was unemployed as of last week, suddenly became Max Scherzer’s batterymate for the Nationals’ season opener against the Braves. Things didn’t go well at the outset, but in his first major league plate appearance in about a year and a half, Lucroy helped the Nationals’ ace dig out of an early 3-0 hole with a two-run double.

In their first game in front of fans since winning the 2019 World Series — albeit just 4,801 fans, with Nationals Park only allowed to be filled to about 12% capacity — the Nationals completed a dramatic comeback via Juan Soto’s walk-off single in the ninth for a belated Opening Day win under very strange circumstances.

The situation was the culmination of a sequence of events that served to remind Major League Baseball that yes, there’s still a pandemic going on. Despite just 25 players out of a total of more than 2,000 testing positive for COVID-19 either on intake or during spring training,…

Read “Makeshift Nationals Enjoy Dramatic Comeback Victory on Belated Opening Day” at FanGraphs