Scherzer named Mets opening day starter – The Denver Post

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – One of the greatest big game pitchers in the game will be on the mound for the Mets on Opening Day.

MLB Network announced the opening day starters for all 30 clubs on Friday, with the Mets revealing Max Scherzer as their pick to start March 30 in Miami against the Marlins. He will face Sandy Alcantara at LoanDepot Park.

” It’s awesome. It’s a hell of a day to pitch,” Scherzer said after securing the Mets’ 10-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. “The atmospheres are crazy at every venue you’re at. It’s going to be a great day and it’s really fun to go for the ball in this situation.”

It will be Scherzer’s first opening day start for the Mets, but the seventh in the veteran ace’s career. Scherzer has made six opening day starts for the Washington Nationals, including four consecutive opening day starts from 2018 to 2021.

The Mets had long planned to put Scherzer up there on Day 1, but declined to announce it in order to allow MLB Network to reveal any matchups.

“I think it became official a few days ago when they warned me,” Scherzer said. “But when we left in the spring, we kind of already had it mapped out.”

That’s exactly what the Mets envisioned when they signed the three-time Cy Young Award winner in December 2021. The Mets had hoped to use Scherzer or Jacob deGrom in Game 1 of 2022, but deGrom failed to come out of camp healthy and Scherzer needed a few more days to deal with an oblique issue that subsequently put him on the disabled list.

Instead, Tylor Megill got the start and took the win over the Washington Nationals. It was a solid outing from Megill, but is currently slotted into the end of the rotation as it currently looks very different than it did this time last year. It’s much deeper and all but Jose Quintana are healthy.

“I paid attention to how I accelerate, how many throws and how my body reacted to that,” he said. “Here I’ve ramped up, hit 100 throws and feel great. The (oblique) is responding well, I don’t have any lingering effects from it. That’s the good news, I have my side built and strong like my arm too.

Scherzer hit that 100 pitch mark in his final Grapefruit League start on Friday against the Rays at Tropicana Field, opting to make the three-hour trip across the state instead of staying in Port St. Lucie to pitch on the back lots. Scherzer appeared to be in fine form midseason against a Rays roster that included several regulars, limiting them to two earned runs on four hits, walking two and striking out 12.

Throwing 100 pitches on the last spring outing isn’t typical for most pitchers, but Scherzer isn’t exactly a typical pitcher. Reaching that milestone is important to his progress and it’s been an effective way to prepare for a regular season workload for him for years.

“I always said you wanted to experience 100 pitches before the end of the regular season because spring training games aren’t at the same level of intensity as a regular season game,” Scherzer said. “That’s why you want to hit 100 today so you can be 100 when the intensity increases.”

Justin Verlander is scheduled to start the home opener on April 6, also against the Marlins, but will start Game 3 of the season instead of Game 2.

With seven games until the club play their first at Citi Field, the rotation will need to be set up to ensure Verlander is in line for the home opener. The Mets are also debating whether or not to start the season with a six-man rotation. Those details will be discussed over the weekend when the Mets hold a staff meeting to finalize the 26-man roster and set up the starting rotation for the first part of the season.

“We could have done either, but we’ve got Justin set up to kick off the home opener, so they’ll both be good for us,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That doesn’t prevent anyone from making X starts for us during the year. We would also like to separate these guys.


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