After a long offseason, the New York Mets will play their first two spring training games tomorrow, and the club has revealed which pitchers will toe the rubber this weekend.
Newcomer Rick Porcello will get the nod on Saturday at Port St. Lucie against the Miami Marlins, while Marcus Stroman will bring his good vibes to Jupiter and lead the other half of the team against the St. Louis Cardinals. Steven Matz will see his first action on Sunday at Port St. Lucie as the team faces off against the Cardinals again.
The Mets have three starting pitchers competing for the final two spots in their rotation, unless they choose to go with a six-man alignment. Reigning two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Stroman have the first three spots locked up and give the team a formidable top-half of the rotation.
Matz is coming off a second straight season in which he made 30 starts, with numbers comparable to his 2018 output. He finished 2019 with a 4.21 ERA, a 4.60 FIP, a 1.34 WHIP, and 153 strikeouts in 160.1 innings. As the lone left-hander in the bunch, he stands a good shot of sliding into the rotation as either a number four or a number five.
The team brought in Porcello and Michael Wacha this offseason to one-year contracts with the hope that they would adequately replace for the production lost when Zack Wheeler left to sign a five-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Porcello is the safer bet to snag a rotation spot, leaving Wacha as the swing-man/long reliever. Porcello finished 2019 with a 5.52 ERA, a 4.76 FIP, a 1.39 WHIP, and 143 strikeouts in 174 innings with the Boston Red Sox, while Wacha posted a 4.76 ERA, a 5.61 FIP, a 1.56 WHIP, and 104 strikeouts in 126.2 innings as a member of the Cardinals.
According to Mike Puma of the NY Post, Wilson Ramos will catch Porcello in Saturday’s game. The team’s goal is to have Ramos catch the new pitchers as much as possible this spring in an effort to get him “on the same wavelength” with the newest acquisitions.