It’s probably safe to say that this isn’t how anyone expected the New York Mets season to start. In a cruel twist of fate, fans will have to wait a little bit longer before seeing one of the most exciting Mets teams in years take the field. Fortunately, this may end up being a short term blessing in disguise. While having to make up the series with the Washington Nationals later on is something of a pain, it does give the Mets an easier April schedule to start the season. With the race between the Mets and the Braves for the division title projecting to be a tight one, getting off to hot start will be crucial down the line.
After the postponement, the Mets play 22 games this month, with 12 at home and 10 on the road. Of those games, only six will be against against teams with winning records in 2020. Three of those will be in a divisional matchup at home against the Miami Marlins starting on April 8, while the other three will be at the Chicago Cubs starting on April 20. Both just so happen to be the only 2020 playoff teams as well. Luckily, neither is expected to seriously compete this year, making this an almost non-factor.
As for other divisional showdowns, the Mets play three at home against the Nationals starting on the 23rd. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies make up the bulk of the April schedule with 10 games. This includes the season opener this Monday, followed by a four-game series starting on the 12th, and one final game in Philadelphia on the 30th. These two are the only teams the Mets play this month that have any real playoff aspirations.
Outside of the division, the Mets have a three-game stint at the Colorado Rockies starting on April 16. Later, the Boston Red Sox will be the lone American League team facing the Mets this month when they come to town on the 27th for a two-game series.
Starting Off Right
The season opener at the Phillies is probably the most important series of this month. Starting the season with a series win over a division rival is vital to both the record and team morale. With a lot of new faces on the roster, getting things started with a win can go a long way towards building chemistry among the players
All eyes will be on Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor during this series. The NL Cy Young favorite will begin his journey for his third award, while the newly minted richest shortstop in history will hopefully bring a spark to an offense that has historically failed to backup deGrom’s efforts. Helping matters is the fact that Phillies ace Aaron Nola won’t appear until the final game of the series. Hopefully the Mets won’t have too much trouble scoring on backend starter Matt Moore in game one.
Series to Watch
After the opener, the series with the Rockies may be an exciting one, though, not for the pitchers. Entering the most hitter friendly stadium in baseball, the formidable Mets lineup should put on quite a show. Led by Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and Lindor, the Mets can have a mini Home Run Derby at Coors Field. For any player in an early slump, this series should provide the spark for them to get going.
The other big series to lookout for is the one with the Nationals. Whether or not MLB decides to reschedule some of the postponed games to this series remains to be seen. For now, this has the potential to be one of the most exciting pitching exhibitions of the season. Seeing deGrom go head-to-head with Max Scherzer has been an annual treat for years now. In addition to this, Co-aces Marcus Stroman and Stephen Strasburg should also make for close, low-scoring duel. Even Patrick Corbin vs. David Peterson/Taijuan Walker has the potential to be a fairly impressive bout as well. Of course, all of this is dependent on the teams’ rotations lining up with each other.
If these games end up being as close as expected, they could also provide the first real challenge for relievers Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances. A strong showing here could quell many fans’ fears over the abilities of these three. Regardless, taking a series against a team that’s only a couple years removed from a World Series title should prove the talent of this new and improved Mets squad.
Featured Image Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/Getty Images
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