When you think of Opening Day starters, what comes to your mind? Maybe power versus power. Possibly power versus finesse. Certainly not power versus a number four or five starter.
How do you choose the starter? Do you base that on seniority? Some say stats should be the determining factor. If you are the New York Mets, it should be based on whoever will get the fans to the ballpark.
The team has yet to sell out for Opening Day. There are fans who are holding out because they are angry with ownership. Some don’t have the funds. After all, tickets aren’t cheap. I know a few fans are waiting until after the big day to begin their baseball season because tickets are cheaper. This being the case, the organization needs to go by the best matchup.
Jonathan Niese will not be the starter due to elbow inflammation. In his place, but not set
in stone, is Dillon Gee. Now, nothing personal, I like Gee just fine. He became a better pitcher as the season wore on last year. All the fans ever talk about is how great he was after the Yankee series. Well what about before that?
Gee has started 12 games in April/March. In those games, he has a 5.26 ERA. Offseason acquisition Bartolo Colon has pitched 69 games in his career in the same time frame and has a 3.76 ERA. Based on the stats, the Opening Day starter should, in fact, be Colon. If you want to base it on seniority, it should still be Colon. It does not matter his level of seniority with the team. You are paying him for the big games. The start to the season is a big game. It sets the tone.
Now, with all this being said, Stephen Strasburg has been announced as the starter for the Washington Nationals on that day. So who do you see as the starter for the Mets? How about Zack Wheeler? Yes, he has no seniority or the numbers to back this one up, but he has the quality. He has the power to make the first game of the year a pitcher’s duel. Fans would love it. If this was Noah Syndergaard, would we be having this conversation? I’m sure all of you would love to see him on that mound. So many wanted to see him break camp with the team.
The final decision for the home opener will be made over the weekend. Until then, who do you want to see pitch? Who do you think can set the tone for the season?