The Mets must confront familiar foes in their first homestand of the year

Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

After a 3-4 road trip to start the 2023 season, the New York Mets open their home schedule with a six-game homestand starting today against familiar foes.

The Mets host the struggling Miami Marlins starting today for their home opener in front of what is likely to be a sellout crowd at Citi Field. They’ll meet again on Saturday and Sunday. Then the Mets will play the San Diego Padres beginning on Monday evening with an eye on some revenge as the Padres ended their season in Flushing last fall.

The Miami Marlins are a more talented offensive team than they were last year, but have yet to play into that narrative.

The 3-4 Marlins found a perfect leadoff hitter for their spacious loanDepot Park this offseason in Luis Arraez in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, and we saw why last week in Miami. Arraez, who turns 26 on Sunday, had nine hits in 16 at-bats, including four singles on Saturday.

Garrett Cooper is healthy and is primed for plenty of playing time for the Marlins, and he went 5-of-13 with a home run off Max Scherzer last week.

Only one other starting position player has an OPS+ over 100 in the early going, and that’s Jorge Soler, who hit two home runs against the Twins on Wednesday. Remember, this guy hit 48 home runs for Kansas City four years ago.

The rest of the lineup, meanwhile, was pedestrian against New York’s pitching, as they hit just .150. The Marlins showed that they are still have holes offensively, and they are a flawed team defensively, as Jazz Chisholm, Jr. struggled in his first acts as the full-time center fielder, as I counted at least four balls that were either playable or could have prevented runs if played cleanly.

Arraez and the Marlins will see two of the starters they faced this weekend. The Mets will send Tylor Megill to the hill in the home opener and Kodai Senga on Saturday, who made life miserable for the opposition on Sunday with the ghost fork. They’ll see Carlos Carrasco on Sunday.

The Marlins had an ERA+ of 106 last year, only worse in the NL than the league’s three 100-win teams from last year, the Dodgers, Braves, and Mets, and that rating is 119 through their first seven games this year, but they were overall not great, especially their bullpen, against the Mets last week.

Their two best starters, Sandy Alcantara (who tossed a shutout against the Twins on Tuesday) and Jesus Luzardo will not have their turn in the rotation this series, so the Mets catch a break there.

Instead, it’ll be Edward Cabrera, Trevor Rogers, and probably a bullpen game on Sunday with Johnny Cueto on the injured list in that order for Marlins starters.

The San Diego Padres have World Series aspirations this year, and the Mets remember what they did last fall.

Today marks six months to the day the Padres began a stunning upset of the Mets in the Wild Card Series at Citi Field last October. The Mets sent out their best starting pitchers, and two of them got their butts kicked.

This offseason, the Padres, who made an unexpected run that came up three wins short of a pennant, got mightier. They added All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280 million contract and four other sluggers to their roster, including Nelson Cruz, who at 42 years old, signed with the team in hopes of getting that elusive World Series ring that he missed by one foot 12 years ago.

The Padres also shook up their rotation depth, as they let Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea walk and replaced them with ex-Mets Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo; Lugo wanted to start somewhere after the Mets put him in the bullpen for a few years. The Mets are likely to miss Lugo, though, as he is pitching on Sunday night against the Braves in Atlanta.

This means the Mets are likely to see the three starting pitchers they saw six months ago in the playoffs, with a Game 1 rematch between Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer on Monday night. Remember that totally pointless crazy ear check on Joe Musgrove last year? Well, he will make his season debut likely on Tuesday against David Peterson, and Blake Snell will go on Wednesday against Megill.

Next. 2 truths and 1 lie about this year's Mets team. dark