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Ronald Acuna Jr. welcomes Max Scherzer, Nationals to 2021 season with first-pitch homer

Braves, Nationals, Ronald Acuna Jr, Max Scherzer

The Washington Nationals’ 2021 campaign had previously been put on hold due to COVID-19 issues, meaning they did not start the season until Tuesday.

Washington hardly received the warmest welcome to the new season in its opener against the Atlanta Braves.

Superstar Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. greeted Nats ace, Max Scherzer, with a first-pitch home run to deep left-center field.

So, in summary: Washington’s COVID issues led to MLB canceling its opening series with the New York Mets. Another postponement Monday led to the Nationals and Braves taking the field Tuesday, then Wednesday with a doubleheader. Then, Acuna waves goodbye on Scherzer’s first pitch of the season.

Tough start, to be sure. But the craziest part is it was getting worse in a hurry.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman followed Acuna’s round-tripper with a homer of his own just two batters later. Atlanta, after hitting just two homers in three games in its opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies, matched the season total just three days into Tuesday’s game.

The homers also continued a strange trend for the Nationals ace. The three-time Cy Young Award-winner has now given up a home run in the first inning of the season in three straight years.

Incredibly, Atlanta still wasn’t done inflicting damage on “Mad Max.”

Scherzer got through the rest of the first inning after Freeman’s homer. But he served up another dinger to Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson to lead off the top of the second frame.

It is unlikely Nationals fans envisioned this kind of start to 2021 after having to wait five days for Washington’s season to get underway.