The New York Mets opened the 2022 season on April 7 on the road against the Washington Nationals. Tylor Megill was called upon to start the game due to a late spring injury to Jacob deGrom. Rather than push Max Scherzer to start on shorter rest, the Mets gave their sophomore starter a chance to do something not many get to add to their resume.
Megill was hardly the only starter in the lineup last year that might strike a fan today as hard to believe. There were quite a few participants in spots we wouldn’t have thought.
We’ve all forgotten what the 2022 NY Mets Opening Day lineup looked like
Starling Marte led off and played right field which was something a bit unusual but not hard to believe. Brandon Nimmo was dealing with a minor injury and unavailable, leaving center field duties for Mark Canha. This had further ramifications down the line. Starting in left field, we find Jeff McNeil.
McNeil didn’t play nearly as much outfield as he did in previous years. Concretely the starting second baseman for the team, his spot at his main position was occupied by Robinson Cano in game number one. Cano would actually secure two hits and score a pair of runs. Most Mets fans could believe those were the only times he reached base during his stint with the club last season.
Another oddity for McNeil, the future 2022 National League batting champion hit eighth in the order. Way up at the top and batting second was the DH, J.D. Davis. Patrick Corbin was the opposing pitcher so it kind of makes sense, especially with McNeil coming off of such a bad 2021 campaign.
The middle of the lineup was nothing unusual. Francisco Lindor batted third. Pete Alonso batted fourth. Behind him was Eduardo Escobar which seemed to fit at the start of the year. Cano hit sixth followed by Canha, McNeil, and finally, James McCann.
Buck Showalter turned to two bench players in this game, asking Dominic Smith to pinch run then play first base for Alonso. Travis Jankowski got into the game as a pinch runner for Cano. He’d stay in the game to play center field with Canha moving to left field and McNeil shifting to second base.
The 5-1 victory with the only blemish against the Mets coming on a solo home run by Juan Soto began with a starting lineup I’m sure we never saw again in 2022. There would be 100 more wins to follow and a bunch of new names on the roster.