The 2023 MLB season begins in a little over a month. The New York Mets open things up with a road trip. Four consecutive games against the Miami Marlins followed by three more on the road versus the Milwaukee Brewers is how the journey begins.
The Marlins and Brewers have more in common than missing the playoffs last year. The 2022 NL Cy Young winner and the 2021 victor of the award happen to be on their rosters. Barring injury, it looks like the Mets will face the last two pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in the National League within the first week of the season. All of this will happen before a single game at Citi Field.
The Mets starting lineup will have an early challenge
Sandy Alcantara is likely to start on Opening Day for the Marlins. A few days later, when the Mets visit the Brewers, Corbin Burnes is likely to take the mound. Two of the league’s best pitchers get an early crack at a Mets starting lineup that may not look all that different from when they were held to only a single hit in their Game 3 loss to the San Diego Padres that ended things last October.
The Marlins and the Brewers have starting rotations that go beyond those two. The Marlins starting staff had the eighth best ERA last season. The biggest difference between then and now is they’ve swapped Pablo Lopez for Johnny Cueto. Another year of growth from their other young arms like Jesus Luzardo and Edward Cabrera could prove problematic.
Milwaukee’s starting staff has been among the best for a few seasons now. Their starters were second in strikeouts per nine last year, taking a hit in some other areas. Many of the names are the same. Behind Burnes, there is Brandon Woodruff and Eric Lauer. Veteran lefty Wade Miley will look to play the role of “guy the Mets should knock around but don’t.”
There are no early nerves about either series. After all, the same compliments we could hand out to the Marlins and Brewers could boomerang back and land on the Mets. Factoring everything into the equation, the Mets have the best rotation in baseball. It doesn’t remove the fact that the Mets hitters will have to show up early and often in the first week of the season. Otherwise, a couple of hard-luck losses could get handed down to Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander early on in 2023.
Fortunately, the Mets do have a bunch of softer starting rotations lined up in the early weeks of the year. April will give the hitters a chance to feast on the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals. From May 2-15, the team plays the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals. Any of those 13 games would be a good time to fatten up some numbers and climb the standings.