Here are the dates to circle on the Nationals' 2021 schedule

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Ethan Cadeaux
·4 min read
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Dates to circle on the Nationals' 2021 schedule originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Nationals released their 2021 schedule on Thursday, a sign that baseball season is officially upon us.

While there are many intriguing matchups over the six-month season and fans can't catch every game, here are the ones you should circle on the calendar while hoping the ongoing coronavirus pandemic eases enough to allow fans to return to Nationals Park sooner than later...

April 1: Nationals vs. Mets: It's Opening Day! Nobody misses Opening Day. Washington faces the Mets to begin their season in what should likely be a pitching matchup between two aces: Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.

April 9-11: Nationals at Dodgers: Washington gets its first look at the defending World Series champions when they travel to Los Angeles for the second weekend of the MLB season. This series will, of course, also be Washington's first time traveling to Dodger Stadium since the Nationals edged the Dodgers in the 2019 NLDS en route to the team's first World Series title.

April 19-21: Nationals vs. Cardinals: The new-look Cardinals, who have added the sport's best third baseman in Nolan Arenado this offseason, come to Washington for the first time since the Nats swept them in the 2019 NLCS.

May 7-9: Nationals at Yankees: Anytime the Nationals play the Yankees, it's must-see TV. The two teams played one another last year, too, in what was the first series of the 60-game sprint in 2020. Hopefully, we get another Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer matchup.

May 21-23: Nationals vs. Orioles: The Battle of the Beltways begin during the second-to-last weekend in May this season with the Orioles driving down the B-W Parkway for a three-game series.

June 8-9: Nationals at Rays: The Nationals take on the defending AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in the middle of the week, a short two-game series at Tropicana Field. 

July 1-4: Nationals vs Dodgers: The Nationals host the Dodgers for a four-game weekend series to begin July with Washington capping off the stint with its annual 11:05 a.m. first pitch on the July 4 holiday. The game is early enough to let you watch fireworks ... and so Washington can hop on a plane and head to California for a west coast road trip. 

July 5-7: Nationals at Padres: After a four-game stint at home against the Dodgers, the Nationals travel across the country to face the San Diego Padres. San Diego is quickly turning into one of the best young teams in the sport with some of the most exciting players in the game. For fans wanting to see a highly entertaining team, this is the series to watch.

July 12-15: All-Star Break: Hopefully, the pandemic cooperates enough to allow this game to be played. And if so, this should be Juan Soto's first All-Star game of many.

August 13-15: Nationals vs. Braves: It's hard to believe we've made it to August without highlighting any Nats-Braves matchups. But, when the teams play 19 times per season, there aren't any specific dates that particualry stand out. However, based on when this series is being played (mid-August), this feels like it will be an important three-game stretch for both teams in the NL East race.

September 20-29: Long road stretch: If the Nationals' playoff hopes depend on their play over the final week of the season, Washington will need to win on the road. Washington plays 10 straight games away from home to end the month of September -- three in Miami, four in Cincinnati and three in Colorado -- before they return home for one last weekend series.

October 1-3: Nationals vs. Red Sox: How about that, huh? Washington ends its 162-game campaign with its first series of the 2021 season against the Red Sox. This will be fun one way or another.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
St. Louis
+115--
Washington
-139--