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Washington Nationals at Houston Astros: Grapefruit League Opener GameThread

They met in the 2019 World Series. They share a Spring Training facility. They go at it again tonight at 6:05 PM EST on MASN! Baseball is back! Grapefruit League Baseball, but baseball!!

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals

If you’re expecting the Washington Nationals to do baseball a favor and send some receipts the Houston Astros’ way tonight as some form of retaliation after their sign-stealing and the trashcan-banging in 2017 were exposed this winter, don’t hold your breath.

First of all, Max Scherzer is on the mound for the Nationals tonight in the Grapefruit League opener, which is on MASN (and the MLB Network) at 6:05 PM EST tonight live from West Palm Beach, FL, and he’s a pitcher who’s all about getting his work in, so he’s probably not looking to get ejected in his first start of the Spring, and Davey Martinez told reporters this week that he expects his club to act professionally when they’re on the field with the Astros again, after beating Houston in the World Series all the way back in October.

“I’m hoping that on our side - I can’t tell you about the Houston Astros and what they’re going to do - but for us, [I’m hoping] we act professional,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “We go about our business. And we get ready for the season.”

Scherzer, 35, who threw a live bullpen session earlier this week in preparation for his first start of the Spring, said afterwards that he was sore in all the right places and looking to tonight’s outing as the next step as he ramps up in preparation for the start of 2020’s MLB campaign. His plan for the outing vs the Astros?

“Get ready to throw 30-40 pitches in the game on Saturday, and then from there just go,” Scherzer said.

His manager said it’s likely to be closer to the 30-pitch end of that range this afternoon.

Martinez said earlier this week that Joe Ross will follow Max Scherzer out of the bullpen in the first game of the Spring, and the manager’s first lineup card of the season has a bunch of expected everyday regulars listed when it was released this afternoon:

Are you ready for the return of Nationals baseball? You don’t have to wait long because they will be back on the field tonight, and back on your TV or computer. Huzzah! Enjoy.