We’ve finally made it, folks. MLB Opening Day 2023 is officially here and Mets baseball games (that count) are back! New York won’t say hello to the fans in Flushing until April 6th. But, things get kicked off Thursday afternoon in Miami against the Marlins.
Here’s what the probable pitching matchups look like for the Mets’ first regular-season series of the year.
Thursday at 4:10 pm ET: Max Scherzer vs. Sandy Alcantara
Max Scherzer gets the Opening Day nod in his second year with New York. He’s coming off a 2.29-ERA, 4.4-fWAR campaign in 2022, which spanned 145.1 innings. His ramp-up to pitching in this game went quite well, too. Through 17.2 frames this spring, Scherzer posted a 1.53 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
He’s facing no slouch, either. Scherzer has three Cy Young Awards to his name, but Sandy Alcantara is the reigning Cy Young winner. He posted a 2.28 ERA and 5.7 fWAR in 228 innings of work. And similar to his opponent, Alcantara also finished his spring strong. His last start of Grapefruit League play included striking out eight straight hitters.
Friday at 6:40 pm ET: David Peterson vs. Jesus Luzardo
There’s one lefty in the Mets’ Opening Day rotation. We initially expected it to be Jose Quintana. But because of injury, David Peterson gets the honors after beating out Tylor Megill. The southpaw didn’t give up an earned run to go along with a 0.75 WHIP in 12 spring innings. Through a career-high 105.2 frames in 2022, Peterson posted a 3.83 ERA, 1.4 fWAR, and 27.8% strikeout rate.
He’ll be facing a fellow lefty in Jesus Luzardo. The 25-year-old piled up 100.1 innings last year that produced a 3.32 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He’s faced the Mets four times in his career. Across 20 innings, he’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.
Saturday at 4:10 pm ET: Tylor Megill vs. Edward Cabrera
This game originally belonged to Justin Verlander. However, a stint on the injured list to officially begin his Mets career means Tylor Megill already gets a call from Triple-A. Even before he had a chance to pitch on Opening Day for Syracuse. The right-hander stepped in admirably in a similar situation last April when Jacob deGrom went on the injured list right before Opening Day. Through his first 28 innings pitched, “Big Drip” twirled a 1.93 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with a 25.6% strikeout rate and 5.6% walk rate.
Edward Cabrera is starting his third year in the big leagues. He produced a 3.01 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 75 strikeouts in 71.2 innings last year. Cabrera also put together a solid spring, which included a 1.80 ERA with 14 strikeouts and six walks across 15 innings. Like Luzardo, he’s also faced New York four times in his career. Cabrera is 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in those starts.
Sunday at 1:40 pm ET: Kodai Senga vs. Trevor Rogers
Kodai Senga will make his much-anticipated MLB debut in the Sunday finale of this four-game set. The right-hander threw just nine innings in Grapefruit League play as he continues adjusting to all the differences between here and Japan. He’s looked good, though, especially in his final tuneup on Monday, which was an intrasquad game vs. minor leaguers in Port St. Lucie.
After finishing second in the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year voting thanks to a 2.64 ERA in 133 innings, Trevor Rogers came back and posted a 5.47 ERA with a 1.51 WHIP in 107 innings last year. He did strikeout 17 hitters across 18 innings during spring training, which was accompanied by a 5.00 ERA, 15 hits allowed, three walks allowed, and a 1.000 WHIP.
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You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.