It won’t be Jacob deGrom taking the ball for the New York Mets on Opening Day. It might not even be Max Scherzer. While deGrom sits on the sidelines for at least the next few weeks, Scherzer is dealing with a hamstring issue that could delay his Mets debut.
Does the team turn to Chris Bassitt? Maybe not.
Manager Buck Showalter has everyone lined up with Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker ready to pitch after the first two games of the season. Rather than mess with the rhythm like I did many times in the fifth grade orchestra we were required to participate in, the Mets could begin the year with a relief pitcher on Opening Day.
The 2022 Mets Opening Day starter might be an opener
Look how far the excitement has fallen. From the duo of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation to an Opening Day with—does it really matter which reliever they chose?—the excitement level has gone down from an 11 to somewhere around a 5. It’s still baseball, after all. And after a long offseason where there wasn’t much happening at all, it’s good to have it back.
The Mets still have room to surprise us. Tylor Megill could be a reasonable option for the Mets and keep the other three veterans in their spots. Even Trevor Williams, the club’s long man out of the bullpen, could go more than the typical one or two innings you get from relief pitchers in a bullpen game. Williams has spent most of his career as a starter.
Whomever they do choose, if it’s not deGrom or Scherzer, it’s a little bit of a rain on the Mets’ Opening Day parade. This was supposed to be the year when everything went well. Steve Cohen went full billionaire on us in the offseason. Skies were bright over Citi Field. Nothing could stop the Mets except for some bad news days before Opening Day.
A potential bullpen game to begin the 2022 season is not what anyone had planned when making their preseason predictions. Bullpen games are reserved for the dog days of summer and the Tampa Bay Rays whenever they please.
We’ll have to hope there’s plenty of ice and pillows to elevate Scherzer’s aching hamstring. Otherwise, game 1 of 162 is likely to begin with a showcase of relief pitchers.