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How we’re feeling: Bustin’ loose

Why: Think back to 2012, the Nats’ only playoff appearance before this year. The home opener was in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. The starting pitcher was Edwin Jackson, who was the team’s worst starter that season. It wasn’t even the first game of the series, thanks to an MLB scheduling quirk that required the series to start in St. Louis even though the Nats had the National League’s best record. All in all, it was a weird home opener, and the Nats got blown out 8-0. This year, our starter is Stephen Strasburg, the franchise savior finally making his playoff debut. The game starts shortly after 3 p.m. on a Friday, a time that (well-publicized conflict with Yom Kippur notwithstanding) is far more conducive to achieving maximum #Natitude. The Nats had a great final two months of the season, winning more than two-thirds of their games down the stretch, and finished the season with Jordan Zimmermann‘s no-hitter. Everything feels right. Go get that curly W.

What’s next: Game 1 against the San Francisco Giants, at 3:07 p.m. today at Nats Park. The teams announced their rosters for the series this morning. The Nats couldn’t find room for pitcher Ross Detwiler—a former first-round pick whose performance in Game 4 in 2012 kept the Nats alive for another day—or outfielder Scott Hairston, an 11-year veteran who has never been on a playoff team before. Failing to make the cut for the Giants was Michael Morse, a former Nats fan favorite who’s dealing with an injury.

Illustration by Jandos Rothstein / photo by Mrs. Gemstone via Flickr