Opening Day for the New York Mets will take place on Thursday, March 30, in Miami against the Marlins. It’s both an ideal and imperfect place to begin the year. South Florida isn’t such a bad vacation spot for late March and a game against the Marlins should be within the Mets’ grasp regardless of who starts.
The starters in this game could provide us with two unique matchups. We’ll see a first in MLB history on the mound and in the field.
Mets Opening Day could feature two reigning Cy Young winners
If Buck Showalter decides to start Justin Verlander on Opening Day over Max Scherzer, we could get the dream heavyweight bout. There is little doubt the Marlins would put Sandy Alcantara on the mound to start their seasons. A pair of reigning Cy Young winners would face off to begin the 2023 season.
It’s rare for two reigning Cy Young winners to take the mound opposite of each other. It requires one to switch leagues. Verlander going from the Houston Astros to the Mets allows this to happen.
Back in 1989, Frank Viola was traded to the Mets from the Minnesota Twins. An August game against the Los Angeles Dodgers did allow for a Cy Young Champ battle when Orel Hershiser was the other pitcher on the mound. Viola was the 1988 AL Cy Young winner. Hershiser took it home in 1988.
With Interleague play more common than ever, it’s a little easier for these matchups to take place in the future. It does still require someone to change teams. The more balanced schedule does make it far more likely to happen again. The same goes for this other rarity we’re even more likely to see on Opening Day.
Mets Opening Day will feature two reigning batting champions
Jeff McNeil won the 2022 NL batting title with a .326 average. Over in the AL, it was Luis Arraez of the Minnesota Twins who capture the award. He hit .316.
Arraez was traded from the Twins to the Marlins this offseason. Expected to play second base for them, the Mets and Marlins will not only have the reigning batting champions on their roster, they’ll be playing the same position and maybe hitting against a Cy Young Award winner from last season.
It’s going to take a healthy spring and a little help from Mets management to make this all work. We already have the answer to a trivia question that no one has yet to ask.