Asked before tonight’s game if he had any message for baseball fans in the nation’s capital heading into a season that’s seen by many as a rebuild year for the Nationals, Washington’s fifth-year manager, Davey Martinez, rejected the idea that there is any rebuilding going on with his club.
“We don’t rebuild in the major leagues, we don’t,” Martinez explained before the Nats’ 2022 season opener, reiterating a message he delivered when he spoke after the club’s workouts on Wednesday afternoon.
“We compete,” he added. “And it’s all about competing every day at the highest level, so hey, we got great fans, we really do, and they’re going to go out there and see good baseball. We’re going to play good baseball every day, some days we’re going to win, some days you’re going to lose, you can’t win them all, but we’re going to go out there and try to go 1-0 every day.”
“We’re ready to compete,” Juan Soto told reporters. “Those guys in there [in the clubhouse], they’re hungry to win, they want to win.
“I think this is not a rebuild team for me, just a team to come to the league to compete and we’re going to try as best as we can to be in the playoffs this year.”
In the season and series opener with the New York Mets tonight, the Nationals dropped a 5-1 decision.
Patrick Corbin gave the Nationals a solid-ish though brief start, throwing four scoreless on a total of 61 pitches to start the season, but a bunt single, walk, and ground ball hit loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth, and a hit-by-pitch on a two-strike slider forced in the first run of the game for either team, 1-0, and a second run scored, 2-0, before Nationals’ reliever Victor Arano got the home team out of the top of the fifth.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 76 P, 44 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
Austin Voth gave up two singles around a walk and a run in the top of the sixth inning, with a two-out single by Mets’ center fielder Mark Canha driving in the third run for NY, 3-0, and 4-0 on a two-out single to right by Jeff McNeil.
Mets’ starter Tylor Megill, who had, “the fewest major league innings pitched (89.2) of any Mets’ Opening Day starter in franchise history,” got the nod with Jacob deGrom (a stress reaction on his right scapula) and Max Scherzer (pushed back to Game 2 by a hamstring tweak) unavailable for the opener, and he tossed five scoreless on 68 pitches before the visitors went to the bullpen.
Juan Soto got the home team on the board in the bottom of the 6th inning, crushing a 96 MPH 1-0 heater from Mets’ reliever Trevor May, and sending a no-doubter into the second deck out in right field for his first homer this season and the Nationals’ first run of the year.
Soto’s shot, which traveled 428 feet to right, made it a 4-1 game, but the Mets added a run off Machado in the top of the seventh inning, 5-1, which was the final score.
Corbin showed some improvement. Soto showed off the power. But it wasn’t enough in the season opener, as the club went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and seven runners left on base in a four-run season-opening loss.
Nationals now 0-1