Mets anxious for Opening Day 2.0

After hitting the “pause” button last week, it’s finally time for the Mets to press “play” — and the next word is “ball.” Their wild six days of nothingness in Washington concluded

After hitting the “pause” button last week, it’s finally time for the Mets to press “play” — and the next word is “ball.”

Their wild six days of nothingness in Washington concluded Sunday with a team workout. The Mets then boarded buses for a ride to Philadelphia and Opening Night 2.0, scheduled for Monday with Jacob deGrom on the mound at Citizens Bank Park.

“The guys are like caged animals right now,” manager Luis Rojas said Sunday.

Hungry for competition after their three-game series against the Nationals was postponed because of safety concerns following positive COVID-19 cases among Washington players, the Mets don’t care much about the particulars, including the absence of opening night pomp and circumstance.

The Phillies have played three home games already (they swept the Braves), so Monday won’t bring a grand pregame celebration. Such was a recent topic of conversation between Michael Conforto and James McCann.

“It’s going to be interesting to not have Opening Day ceremonies,” Conforto said. “[But] really in the grand scheme of things, especially when you are on the away side, it really gets in the way of your routine to get ready for a game. I think it will be special to have it at home, welcoming fans back and that will feel like a nice welcome back to Citi Field for us and the fans.”

Rojas was asked if he sensed his players were as amped up as they were on the eve of last week’s scheduled opener or if this was a case of just wanting to get on with it, already.

Mets manager Luis Rojas
Corey Sipkin

“You feel the guys have that excitement brewing again,” Rojas said. “Everyone here is fresh and ready to go.”

The Mets haven’t faced another team since playing the Cardinals last Monday in Jupiter, Fla., to conclude the exhibition season. Since then they have held five team workouts, which included a simulated game Saturday at Nationals Park.

DeGrom, set to start his third straight opener — Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Johan Santana are the only other pitchers in franchise history to have hit that milestone — has thrown multiple side sessions to keep sharp since last facing batters in a spring training “B” game on March 26.

Conforto said it would be counterproductive to let frustration override the positive vibes of opening the new season.

“We were just saying [Sunday] would have been a beautiful day, Easter Sunday, it’s nice and warm out there as opposed to the last couple of days here [in Washington],” Conforto said. “It’s tough watching other teams play, but it’s in the past and there is no sense in lingering on it. We have done a good job of staying ready in D.C. and we are just looking forward to getting out and being a part of the season.”

DeGrom, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson are the Mets’ scheduled starters for the three-game series. The Phillies will counter with lefty Matt Moore, Chase Anderson and Aaron Nola. For the home opener on Thursday, the Mets plan to start Taijuan Walker against the Marlins.

“Nothing is going to take away from those first-game jitters you have every year,” Conforto said. “The butterflies that go away after the first at-bat, the first pitch, whatever it is, and then we will just be rolling, on a mission to make a deep playoff push, a World Series run and play up to our potential.”

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mike Puma

Follow us on Google News