While the opening series in Australia only five days away between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the rest of baseball has an extra week of spring training before throwing out the first pitch of the season. Once March rolls into April, the hype of college basketball will be about over, and baseball can take center stage with Opening Day. Here’s a look at the opening series for the NL East teams.
Washington Nationals at New York Mets
This is the only series featuring two NL East opponents. Neither team has announced their opening day starter at this point, but the Nationals have an assortment of options to get their season underway. Stephen Strasburg may be the fan favorite because of his high heat, but Gio Gonzalez is more than capable of starting Opening Day. He is a 20-game winner who has proven he can pitch with the best of them.
The Mets have more question marks than the Riddler in Batman movies. Bartolo Colon is listed as the team’s number one on their official depth chart. With Jon Niese injured, Colon may be the best option to start Opening Day at this point. He has more experience than the rest of the pitching staff combined. Even if he struggles, there are extra off days early in the season to allow the bullpen to work overtime if needed.
This series should set the tone for the season for both teams. Washington likely will win the series with the possibility of a sweep looming. Washington is on the upswing and looking to get off to a hot start after a disappointing finish to 2013. New York has little hope of competing within their division this season, but everybody is tied for first at the beginning. That beginning might be short lived if the Mets can’t find a way to win at least one game against the Nationals.