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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals ready for 2020 MLB season opener; Roster news + Max Scherzer doesn’t need a crowd for motivation

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the 2020 MLB season starts later tonight (weather permitting).

MLB: Exhibition-Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Will Max Scherzer be affected by the lack of fans in the stands in tonight’s season opener with the New York Yankees? C’mon, this is Max [blanking] Scherzer we’re talking about!!!!

“You’re trying to get used to this as best as possible,” Scherzer said yesterday of the 2020 MLB season and all the new protocols and rule changes.

“I don’t know exactly how it’s going to play or not play, but I know that I’m just mentally prepared to not let it affect me.”

Scherzer doesn’t need any extra motivation to get up for a game, he’s pretty much always up. And now these games matter again.

“These games matter,” Scherzer said, “... and when these games matter, and when you get into big-time situations, I think the adrenaline just from competing against some of these best teams in the game, that provides you sometimes maybe the most adrenaline that you need.”

So how is he going to approach the season opener and the Yankees tonight?

“I anticipate attacking tomorrow just how I would attack any other game,” Scherzer said, “... and hopefully the fans that are watching at home on TV, that’s something that they want to watch.”

We want to watch, Max. Go read your links. Scherzer will be fine.


Opening Day:

Nats, Yanks hope to set example for American team sports - (MASN)
"The opponents, the Yankees, are merely baseball’s most-storied franchise, one sending its new ace, Gerrit Cole, to the mound in its first step toward competing for its 28th World Series title."

Opening Day FAQ: Yankees vs. Nationals - (
"Let's see how these two teams stack up before Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole take the mound for first pitch."

Why the Nationals are wearing gold-trimmed jerseys - (WaPost)
“A Nationals spokeswoman said the team may continue to wear the jerseys for select home games throughout the season.”

Nationals to unveil 2019 World Series banner, signage on Opening Day against Yankees - (NBC Sports Washington)
"After months of waiting, the Washington Nationals will raise their 2019 World Series championship banner on Opening Day against the Yankees, the team announced in a press release."

Doo News:

Sean Doolittle says Nationals, Yankees discussing what to do during National Anthem on Opening Day - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Questions about what will happen Thursday night when Major League Baseball starts its season aren’t restricted to only play on the field."

Nationals pitcher Sean Dolittle remains in awe of John Lewis - (WaPost)
Sean Doolittle didn’t know what to say. It was Jackie Robinson Day — April 15, 2018 — and he was floored by the man standing next to him at Nationals Park.”

Roster Chatter + more:

MLB's shortened season could lead to wild stats - (Washington Times)
"Dave Martinez threw out a number. The Washington Nationals manager was chatting with Trea Turner when he pushed the shortstop to lead the upcoming season in stolen bases."

Suero, Elías throwing but won't make opening night bullpen - (MASN)
"Though Wander Suero and Roenis Elías have rejoined the Nationals and have been cleared to work out with the club, neither reliever will be ready to open the season on the active roster."

Nats eye repeat by going '1-0 every day' - (
"Most of the title-winning team is back for the 2020 season, and the Nats are looking to carry the momentum from last October into the next three months."

With 'chip on their shoulders', Nats ready - (
"The Nats explained, in their own words, how they anticipate they will feel on Thursday in their first game as defending World Series champs."

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has noticed 'extreme' progress from Carter Kieboom - (NBC Sports Washington)
"But with a four-month hiatus, the 22-year-old has had time to iron out some of those issues and general manager Mike Rizzo has noticed the improvement."


The Dodgers Lead Our National League Predictions, But Don’t Count Out The Nats Or … Reds? - (FiveThirtyEight)
"Staff ace Max Scherzer has enjoyed seven-straight top-five Cy Young finishes and shows little sign of slowing."

Fantasy baseball daily notes - Pitcher and hitter rankings for Opening Day - (ESPN)
"The Nationals were one of the hardest teams to strike out last season, registering a 20.9% strikeout rate that ranked fourth best in baseball..."

The Yankees’ $324 Million Question: Can Gerrit Cole Stay This Good? - (The New York Times)
"After hearing, 'Hey, this is Reggie Jackson,' Cole pulled the phone away from his ear for a second and uttered an expletive in delight."


Where Phillies' roster stands as final decisions loom - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"The Phillies signed Josh Harrison early in the offseason and he was long projected to be on the roster. But he asked for and was granted his release..."

Chili Davis dishes on the difficulties of working from home and Jeff McNeil’s natural hitting ability - (New York Daily News)
"Mets hitting coach Chili Davis is not immune from the impact of the virus as he made the difficult decision to be separated from the team, players, staff and everything he loves about baseball to work remotely from his home in Arizona."

López's strides evident entering season - (
"When the Marlins set their Opening Day roster on Thursday, Pablo López projects to be the No. 4 starter."

For Acuña and Braves, sky's the limit in '20 - (
"The 60-game season that awaits will look much different than the one navigated by those Braves 25 years ago, but the satisfaction and excitement it creates could prove to be quite similar."