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W:S.Strasburg(1-0) L:R.Nolasco(0-1) S:R.Soriano (1)
HR: MIA- None WAS- B.Harper 2 (2)
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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 1st (All times Eastern)

Miami Marlins (0-0) at Washington Nationals (0-0), 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Ricky Nolasco (0-0, 0.00) Washington - Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 0.00)

(Sports Network) - Expectations are through the roof in the nation's capital.

The Washington Nationals start what has been dubbed a "World Series or bust" season on Monday against the new look Miami Marlins at Nationals Park.

After finishing in the bottom of the NL East six times in seven seasons from 2004-2010, the Nationals began a slow climb up the standings with a third- place finish in 2011. And though that 80-81 record wasn't much to write home about, it did show that the Nats were headed in the right direction.

Not too much was expected out of Washington in 2012, a campaign that figured to serve as seasoning for the returning Stephen Strasburg from Tommy John surgery and rookie Bryce Harper, a pair of No. 1 overall picks from 2009 and '10 respectively charged with leading the franchise into a successful future.

It ended up being much more as Strasburg was dominant until being shut down due to an innings limit and Harper won the NL Rookie of the Year award. Gio Gonzalez led all of baseball with 21 wins in his first season with the Nationals and Tyler Clippard saved the bullpen, while Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond all provided pop at the plate to help Harper.

The result was an 18-win improvement and the franchise's first trip to the playoffs since the Montreal Expos advanced to the NLCS in the 1981 split season. Washington's 98-64 record was also the best in baseball, but it failed to get out of the NLDS, falling in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals after failing to hold leads of 6-0 and 7-5 in the series-deciding contest.

Strasburg will be on the hill Monday, as he begins the season unrestricted.

"Harper hit .270 last year. He had a rough stretch. And through all that (shutdown) thing at the end, Stras had some rough starts. I look at them to weather the bad times they went through last year. That's why we're very optimistic about this year," manager Davey Johnson said.

That brief taste of success left the Nats wanting more. They were able to get Johnson, winner of the NL Manager of the Year award, to return for the 2013 season before the 70-year-old moves into a consultant role next year and were big players in free agency.

Washington hit each aspect, adding center fielder Denard Span, right-handed starter Dan Haren and closer Rafael Soriano to form one of the deeper teams in the league and also brought back first baseman Adam LaRoche to fill out the meat of the order.

While the Nats are the odds-on favorites to repeat as NL East champions, not much is expected from a Miami team that underwent a complete overhaul this offseason.

Marlins fans had seen radical moves at the end of a season before, but those usually came after a World Series title, not after a year in which they were favored to make the playoffs and ultimately disappointed, going 68-83.

Miami stunned the baseball world with a shocking 12-player trade on Nov. 19 that sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, starter Josh Johnson, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays for a collection of mostly young prospects and a removal of around $160 million in salary off the books.

It also came after the Marlins had previously dealt Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez and Gaby Sanchez during the 2012 regular season.

Owner Jeffrey Loria, who had already gotten taxpayers to finance a large part of the new stadium, became public enemy No. 1, but his defense cry has been that a high payroll didn't work so it was time for another youth movement.

The moves made this winter certainly didn't bring much excitement unless the likes of Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco and Jon Rauch get your blood flowing.

First-year manager Mike Redmond may have his work cut out for him, as he takes over for Ozzie Guillen, who was fired after a tumultuous first season to say the least with the Marlins.

"It's a new start. It's a clean slate," Redmond said. "I think it's going to be an easy sell. The sell is the opportunity. There has been so much change and guys are so young. This reminds me a lot of '98, when I got to the big leagues. It was a great opportunity for us. Sure, there were good days and bad days, but we all went through it together. When we won the World Series in 2003, it was so satisfying with all that we had gone through."

One of the few Marlins fans will recognize from last year's club will be on the mound, as righty Ricky Nolasco makes his second Opening Day start. Nolasco, whose 76 big league wins are more than the rest of the Marlins' projected rotation combined (67), was 12-13 last season with a 4.48 ERA.

"He's the leader on that staff," Redmond said of his ace. "I know he's excited about it. He has that experience. He knows how to pitch. He knows the league."

The Marlins and Nationals split 18 head-to-head games last year.

04/01 10:24:46 ET

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Falcons

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Oakland at Denver

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Denver at Cincinnati

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Devils

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice

    Wednesday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
POR
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
SAC
Final
MEM 55
BYU 48
 
Final
BRAD 54
ARKLR 64
 
Final
CCST 55
BRO 67
 
Final
NW 63
ILLCH 46
Final
FSU 63
STET 59
 
Final
GWU 77
OHIO 49
Final
KNST 65
ELON 67
 
Final
ARKPB 70
SUTAH 61
 
Final
PSU 69
DART 49
 
2nd
UCI 72
UWGB 70
 
2nd
COL 71
DEP 58
 
2nd
PORT 66
L 37
 
Half
ABCHRIST 23
SCST 30
 
1st
PURD 29
GWEBB 22
 
1st
NKENTUCKY 18
IDAHO 15
 
1st
FORD 20
MAN 16
 
1st
OSU 34
UMO 9
 
1st
MSU 21
CITA 17
 
1st
GSOUT 25
TRUETT 11
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMICH
ALAAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MNTER
BING
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
BUCK
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
RMU
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
VCU
ETST
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
EKENT
7:00pm Tonight
GTDNS
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
ILLST
MAST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
KU
7:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIB
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNH
LIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BONA
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
MERC
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
NORST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALCOR
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ND
NILL
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
OU
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
SELA
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
TOWS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
TENNM
7:00pm Tonight
VT
VMI
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
WMARY
7:05pm Tonight
IND
NO
 
7:30pm Tonight
UCONN
CLMB
7:30pm Tonight
STJ
LBSU
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
WOFF
8:00pm Tonight
MCNST
CMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
CSOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SIUE
CHIST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MICH
COPST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
FUR
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
GRAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULSA
INCWORD
 
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
LOYC
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
8:00pm Tonight
IOWA
UNF
 
8:00pm Tonight
VANDY
PENN
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
SEMIZ
8:00pm Tonight
BAY
SOUTH
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAT
UAB
8:00pm Tonight
OKLA
WEBER
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
MURST
 
8:05pm Tonight
MIZST
ORU
 
8:05pm Tonight
DRAK
SIMPSON
 
8:05pm Tonight
UMKC
TENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
LSU
COC
9:00pm Tonight
AFA
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
KSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
PROV
MIAMI
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UWMIL
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
NDAK
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
NE
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NNM
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
UCD
 
9:00pm Tonight
OREG
UCSB
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
WISC
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
LCST
 
9:05pm Tonight
PORST
WALLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
NEV
MARS
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
TAMCC
 
10:30pm Tonight
HOU
BSU
11:00pm Tonight
WICHS
LMU
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
TULA
11:00pm Tonight
SDST
UCR
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NAS
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
OTT
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
PIT
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
ARI
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CAL
8:30pm Tonight
CIN
DEN