After the Washington Nationals shipped off eight veteran players at the trade deadline to begin a rebuild, it’s not too early to begin thinking of next season, even with two months remaining on this year’s schedule.
MLB seemed to agree.
The league released the 2022 season schedule Wednesday, with Washington opening against the New York Mets at Citi Field on March 31 — the sixth time the teams have started a year against the other. The Nationals’ home opener will be April 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies to start a two-game series.
As is tradition, Washington will be home for July 4, facing the Miami Marlins. And the Nationals will face the American League West division during interleague play.
Those matchups with the AL West feature a home series against the Houston Astros — a rematch of the 2019 World Series — between May 13-15.
The Seattle Mariners visit on July 12 and 13, and the Oakland Athletics come to Nationals Park between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, the first time the Athletics will play in the District since June 2005 at RFK Stadium.
Oakland’s visit will mean all 29 other franchises will have played at Nationals Park since the stadium opened in 2008.
Washington will face former National Anthony Rendon when the team visits the Los Angeles Angels on May 6 through 8. The Nationals head to the Texas Rangers on June 24 through 26 and to the Seattle Mariners between Aug. 23 and 24.
There’s a possibility right-hander Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner return to Nationals Park next season when the Dodgers come May 23 through May 25.
The two former Washington stars were traded at the deadline. Scherzer is a pending free agent, leaving his offseason destination up in the air. Turner, though, is under another season of team control in Los Angeles.
The Nationals face the Orioles twice — first in June and again in September — and conclude the season with five straight series against National League East opponents, finishing with the Phillies on Oct. 2.