Over the course of a 162-game season, the first 25 games can make a big difference. The first month of six sets the tone, particular this coming season for the Mets, when the league has made all eight series against NL East rivals. For three straight years now the Mets have gotten off to strong starts, going 15-7 last year, 15-8 the year prior, and 15-10 in 2014. Let’s hope we can do it again.
The Mets will open with a six-game homestand at Citi Field. It’s great that they’ll have the home crowd behind them, but five of those six early April games will be night games, which, in New York, is likely going to mean some brisk weather. We’ll start with the Braves and Marlins, two teams with pretty potent lineups, suspect pitching, and a knack for sticking it to the Mets. Game one, a day game on Monday, April 3 will feature a matchup of Noah Syndergaard and Julio Teheran. Neither pitcher is likely to give up many hits, nor last more than six innings. Hopefully, the Mets can rally behind a superior bullpen and start off 1-0. Freddie Freeman might go 10 for 15 in the series, but, we can hold Dansby Swanson and the rest of the lineup in check while scoring some runs off of our old friends, Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey. Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and the rest of the Marlins lineup will give us fits, but we should be able to feast on a weak pitching staff on our way to a 4-2 home stand.
Next, the Mets hit the road for three games against the still rebuilding, but somewhat improved Phillies. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, the last of the glory days players are gone and the team is now led by up-and-comers like Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera. They’ll likely improve as the season progresses, but, at least early on, they should be no match for the Mets. This sweepable series is followed by four nice warm games in Miami where we can take three of four.
The Mets, at 10-4, return home for three three-game series against the Phillies, Nationals, and Braves. A 6-3 home stand would be great, but 5-4 might be more realistic. The Nationals are going to be tough again this year with the return of a top-notch rotation, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy in the lineup, plus the emergence of Trea Turner and the addition of Adam Eaton. Their bullpen is without a true closer and the bottom of their lineup is weak, yet there’s still enough talent to repeat as NL East champs – but we’re not going to let that happen.
At 15-8, the Mets hit the road for a rematch with the Nationals. Even if we lose two out of three, we finish the month 16-10. That would be a solid start. With the weather warming up, the starting pitchers stretching out, and reinforcements coming in the way of Jeurys Familia off suspension, Zack Wheeler possibly off extended spring training, and David Wright possibly off the injured list, the momentum will keep us atop the division.
Here we go. Just 10 days until Syndergaard steps tot the mound, stares down the Braves’ Ender Inciarte, and throws the first pitch of the Mets’ 2017 season at Citi Field. Let’s go Mets!