- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

Pitching matchup

Florida’s Dontrelle Willis is an accomplished ace. Washington’s John Patterson aspires to become one. Willis has given the Nationals problems before — in 14 career starts against them, he’s 9-4 with a 3.46 ERA. Patterson has tossed a few gems against the Marlins, but like his career as a whole, his record is spotty.

Support staff

Ryan Zimmerman is going to have a big season based on his superb rookie campaign. He will be even better if the guys around him perform, meaning opposing teams won’t be able to pitch around him. Felipe Lopez and Cristian Guzman have to get on base ahead of Zimmerman, and Austin Kearns has to produce behind him.

RFK’s final countdown

Today marks the beginning of the end for RFK Stadium, and the Nationals plan to use Opening Day to honor past and present Washington baseball heroes. Ceremonial first pitch participants will include Walter Johnson’s grandson, ex-Senators Mickey Vernon and Chuck Hinton, the widow of former Homestead Grays ace Wilmer Fields and new Nationals manager Manny Acta.

— Mark Zuckerman

Want more Nats? Check out Nats Home Plate.

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