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Mets announce Opening Day lineup

Pete Alonso is batting second, and Juan Lagares is starting in center field.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at New York Mets Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have posted their lineup for today’s Opening Day contest against the Nationals in Washington DC. Of course, we all already knew about the marquee pitching matchup: the newly-extended Jacob deGrom faces off against Nationals ace Max Scherzer.

The rest of the lineup is as follows:

  1. Brandon Nimmo – LF
  2. Pete Alonso – 1B
  3. Robinson Cano – 2B
  4. Michael Conforto – RF
  5. Wilson Ramos – C
  6. Jeff McNeil – 3B
  7. Amed Rosario – SS
  8. Juan Lagares – CF
  9. Jacob deGrom - P

Notably, the Mets have decided to bat Pete Alonso second, which they experimented with a bit toward the end of spring training, as a way to break up the lefties at the top of the Mets’ order. As a result, Jeff McNeil drops down to the six hole rather than his customary second spot in the batting order. Brandon Nimmo will bat leadoff, which is expected to be the case nearly every day and Mickey Callaway follows through on his plan to bat Robinson Cano third, where he had the majority of his at-bats last season. The Mets are expecting big things out of Michael Conforto this year. He is batting cleanup with the new Mets’ catcher Wilson Ramos following him out of the five hole.

Pretty much the last detail to be decided was whether Keon Broxton, who had a solid spring, would get the center field start over Juan Lagares, who struggled. The Mets have decided to give Lagares the nod for Opening Day, although it’s unclear what exactly the playing time split will be between them. Lagares batting eighth moves Amed Rosario up a position to seventh in the order, which is likely a good thing for Rosario. Rosario thrived out of the nine hole and did well when he was given some starts as the leadoff hitter, but struggled when hitting directly in front of the pitcher because he wasn’t getting too many pitches to hit. Hitting higher in the order should help Rosario, who had a very strong showing in spring, continue to take steps forward toward realizing his potential.

With Dominic Smith’s torrid spring, he is on the roster as well as a left-handed bat off the bench. Luis Guillorme is the other player available on the bench from the left side, while the Mets have J.D. Davis and Keon Broxton available as pinch hitters from the right side. Tomas Nido serves as the backup catcher with Travis d’Arnaud beginning the season on the injured list.

Despite the absence of Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie, and Todd Frazier, it’s hard to argue that this lineup isn’t more formidable than the 2018 Opening Day lineup, which included Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Plawecki at the bottom of the order and Jay Bruce hitting third. The return of Lowrie and Frazier should lengthen this lineup further, as Lowrie will likely push Lagares to the bench with McNeil moving to the outfield.