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Happy Opening Day! What to expect from the Mets in 2023
The Mets season kicks off this afternoon in Miami. Plus, the Just Mets round table makes their predictions for the season.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
RHP Max Scherzer will make his first Opening Day start as a member of the Mets
New York has not named an official closer after losing RHP Edwin Díaz to a season-ending injury
RHP Elieser Hernandez, who was not slated to make the Opening Day roster, is headed to the injured list due to a right shoulder sprain
Former Mets 2B Daniel Murphy signed a contract with the Long Island Ducks (release)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets vs. Marlins
Where: loanDepot Park — Miami, FL
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer vs. RHP Sandy Alcantara
When: 4:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY, MLB.tv
Opening Day Game Notes
The Mets open their 62nd season in franchise history this afternoon - they are 40-21 on opening day, the best in MLB history
The Mets have won 40 of their last 53 Opening Day games after losing their first eight
This is their first opening day game against the Marlins since 2011 - they are 2-2 against the Marlins in their history on Opening Day
The Mets went 13-6 against the Marlins in 2022
Just Mets Round Table: 2023 Season Expectations ✍🏻
Michael Baron — 96-66, NL East Champions
Yes, the Mets are down Edwin Díaz. Yes, they have questions around their designated hitter(s). Yes, their rotation is aging and must be massaged over the course of 162 games in 2023.
But their roster is still as deep as any in baseball, have two of the best starting pitchers over the last 15 years, and upgraded the defense in the battery with Omar Narváez. All of this combined with a lineup which, while it may lack well-rounded power, is one of the most dynamic and contact-centric in the game. All of that overseen by one of the best managers in the game should propel this club to their first division title since 2015.
Are they a 100-win club? That’s always difficult to predict. But this is a 95-100 win roster on paper and if they stay healthy and can fill their innings gaps in the rotation and the bullpen strategically and effectively, could easily match if not eclipse the 101-win mark from a year ago.
I also think there’s little doubt Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler will address their hole in the bullpen when transformational options become available in the trade market.
Rich MacLeod — 96-66, NL East Champions
While the sting of 2022 remains, I do have high expectations for the Mets this season. Yes, that’s right, I’m ready to be hurt again.
But look, when you have a team with the likes of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor leading the charge and are coming off an offseason where the club spent nearly 400 million dollars in high-profile signings, re-signings and extensions, there’s no reason not to believe that this team shouldn’t be incredibly competitive in the NL East.
For all the noise about how last season ended in flames (which it did), the Mets finished with the exact same record as the vaunted Atlanta Braves and the two teams won the exact same number of postseason games, as well. And yes, while New York has lost an incredibly vital piece in Edwin Díaz for the season, the Braves let one of their lineup stalwarts in Dansby Swanson walk out the door and didn’t even bother to replace him. While I don’t expect Atlanta to get off to as mediocre a start as they did last season, I also find it highly unlikely that they’ll repeat their four-month charge where they won over 70 percent of their games as they did one summer ago.
The Phillies are also definitely improved, most notably by adding Trea Turner, and have a lot of buzz coming off of their unexpected run to the World Series last year, but they are still the flawed team that finished 14 games behind the Mets and Braves last year. And had the league not expanded to six playoff teams last year, the Phillies would have never even made it to the dance after fumbling down the final few weeks of the regular season. They’ll certainly be a more difficult match-up for the Mets this year — New York won’t match their 14-5 record against them from last year — they did just suffer a huge loss of their own, losing Rhys Hoskins for all of 2023 to injury.
At the end of the day, the biggest questions for the Mets will be their health (that goes for any team, honestly) and if they’re going to be able to hit for enough power throughout the season. If they can meet the challenge, there is no reason to think that this is not a team that can not only win the division, but once again compete for that elusive championship.
Justin Mears — 95-67, NL East Champions
The Mets won 101 games last season and disappointingly had to settle for a Wild Card berth. This time around I think they’ll win fewer games but walk away with the NL East title. Yes, New York was dealt a difficult hand when Edwin Díaz inexplicably suffered a serious knee injury while celebrating in the WBC. But looking around the rest of this division… they’re not alone there.
Philadelphia is going to be without Bryce Harper for the early portion of the season and just lost Rhys Hoskins to a torn ACL. Atlanta is really going to miss Dansby Swanson’s production and leadership, particularly after watching Freddie Freeman walk a winter earlier.
The East will almost certainly develop into a three-team gauntlet, but if Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander can stay healthy the Mets have the top starting pitching duo in the division. At some point this season you have to imagine youngsters like Brett Baty and Mark Vientos will help supplement what is already a good offensive core. This race is going to come down to the wire, and hopefully last summer’s relative inactivity at the trade deadline makes the team more aggressive this July in an effort to finish the job.
Linda Surovich — 90-72, First Wild Card
Despite another busy offseason where they spent heavily, the Mets once again need to hope everything breaks right for them. Their older rotation needs to stay healthy as does their injury-prone outfield. This team can not reasonably rely on Tommy Pham should any of their outfielders miss significant time. They are also without a proven right-handed option at DH and the bullpen is a man down with Edwin Díaz most likely done for the year.
The Phillies and Braves will stay competitive for the top spot in the division and the Marlins have improved themselves from last season and have a good rotation lead by reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcántara.
However, should everything break right the Mets remain a dangerous team. They have major league caliber starters ready to fill in should anyone in the rotation get injured, and Kodai Senga has the potential to be a third ace. Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso both looked fantastic in camp and Jeff McNeil is the reigning batting champion. They also have Brett Baty and Francisco Álvarez waiting in the wings who both have the potential to add some offensive punch to the lineup. No matter what gone are the days where this team is out of it by July and it should be another exciting season in Queens.