The New York Mets must get off to a good start if they want to win the most difficult division in baseball. The Mets got off to a great start and had a stranglehold of first place until the final week of the season. With another good start, hopefully they can see it all the way through this time. Another 101 wins should hopefully be good enough.
The Mets open the season in Miami against reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara. New York could throw Justin Verlander in the opener which would set for a very intriguing matchup. Even with Miami acquiring Luis Arraez, the Mets should handle that series.
There are three crucial series to keep an eye on as the Mets look to get off to another good start.
1) Mets vs Braves - April 28-May 1
The Mets didn't play the Braves last season until the beginning of May. They split a four-game series but did sweep a doubleheader which is always good. Had the Mets won one more of those games they would've won the division and who knows what would've happened after that.
Regardless, the Mets and Braves only play each other 13 times in 2023 thanks to the new schedule. This makes division matchups just that much more important. With the Mets getting a four-game series at home against the Braves, they need to take at least three of them. The Mets took four of five in a crucial series at home late in the season, a repeat of that series victory would be massive.
2) Mets vs Padres - April 10-12
The Mets host the Padres at the end of their first homestand of the season. The Mets play their first series at Citi Field in 2023 against the Marlins but the Padres come to Citi Field right after that in what should be a really fun watch. San Diego came to Citi Field in the playoffs and took two of three to advance to the NLDS. The Mets should be seeking revenge.
The Padres were just three wins shy of an NL Pennant and got better by bringing in Xander Bogaerts. The Padres will also have Fernando Tatis Jr. returning after missing the entire 2022 campaign with injury and a PED suspension. They lost that playoff series and lost four of six in the regular season against this team as well. The Mets will have their hands full but need to win this series.
3) Mets @ Dodgers - April 17-19
The Mets open the season with 16 of their first 22 games on the road including a ten-game west coast road trip. The Mets begin this trip out west by heading to Oakland and ending it in San Francisco. Right in the middle of that, they play three games at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers have been the class of the National League in the regular season for years now, and the Mets seem to always have trouble winning at Dodger Stadium. They did go to Los Angeles last season and after losing the first two games of a four-game series, they won the next two including one of the best wins of the season which saw Adonis Medina record an unlikely save.
The Dodgers look worse on paper after losing Trea Turner and Tyler Anderson and replacing them with Miguel Rojas and Noah Syndergaard. They are, however, the Dodgers and seem to always find a way to be a juggernaut in the regular season. The Mets can set an early statement with a series win.