It is not very often a team wins 101 games and doesn’t top the division. That was the story of the 2022 New York Mets, with the 101-game winners finishing with an identical 101-61 record as the Atlanta Braves. It was a weird season. The Mets had a 10.5 game least in the NL East at one point, but a disaster of a September – including being swept y the Braves on the final weekend of the regular season – saw the Mets drop to the Wild Card round. They lost that series to the San Diego Padres, leaving this team with unfinished business in 2023.
The Mets start the season on the road, playing a pair of series against the Miami Marlins and the Milwaukee Brewers. Their home opener is on Thursday, April 6, where they again take on the Marlins in the first game of a three-game series. Later in April, they will play home series against the Padres, the Washington Nationals, and their first set of home games with the Braves.
Here are three questions for the Mets ahead of the 2023 season.
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Three Key Questions
How long does it take Kodai Senga to adapt to MLB?
Jacob deFrom has moved on to the Texas Rangers, but the Mets believe they have the players to replace him on the mound. One of those is Senga, with the 30-year-old coming off of a monster year in Japan, where he finished with an 11-6 record and a dazzling 1.94 ERA as a starter. Senga had 156 strikeouts in 144 innings last season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and he has the pedigree to be a success immediately. There are adjustments to be made – pitching to American batters is different, as is adapting to a five-man rotation – so the speed at which he can be comfortable in MLB will be important.
Is Justin Verlander the same guy at 40?
Justin Verlander is a Hall of Famer in waiting. He won the Cy Young (unanimously) last season, the third Cy Young of his career. That it came 11 years after his first is mindblowing, as is the fact he was able to post such a ridiculous season at 39 years old. The Mets signed Verlander to a two-year deal in the offseason, giving them a projected one-two punch of triple Cy Young winners alongside Max Scherzer. A healthy Verlander puts this team over the edge.
Will the bullpen be better?
The Mets had Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino playing well last season. Behind that, however, things were not good. Drew Smith will be back, but the Mets will home that signing David Robertson – a veteran reliever who has seen it all – and trading for Brooks Raley will make their bullpen much stronger this season. The Mets have the starting pitching and the batting to be a World Series contender. Those two things will mean nothing if their middle relief and closing of games aren’t better in 2023.
Upcoming Mets Home Games (Before the All-Star Break)
Mon, April 10 – San Diego Padres
Tue, April 11 – San Diego Padres
Wed, April 12 – San Diego Padres
Tue, April 25 – Washington Nationals
Wed, April 26 – Washington Nationals
Thu, April 27 – Washington Nationals
Fri, April 28 – Atlanta Braves
Sat, April 29 – Atlanta Braves
Sun, April 30 – Atlanta Braves
Fri, May 19 – Cleveland Guardians
Sat, May 20 – Cleveland Guardians
Sun, May 21 – Cleveland Guardians
Tue, May 30 – Philadelphia Phillies
Wed, May 31 – Philadelphia Phillies
Thu, June 1 – Philadelphia Phillies
Fri, June 2 – Toronto Blue Jays
Sat, June 3 – Toronto Blue Jays
Sun, June 4 – Toronto Blue Jays
Tue, June 13 – New York Yankees
Wed, June 14 – New York Yankees
Fri, June 16 – St. Louis Cardinals
Sat, June 17 -St. Louis Cardinals
Sun, June 18 – St. Louis Cardinals
Mon, June 26 – Milwaukee Brewers
Tue, June 27 – Milwaukee Brewers
Wed, June 28 – Milwaukee Brewers
Thu, June 29 – Milwaukee Brewers
Fri, June 30 – San Francisco Giants
Sat, July 1 – San Francisco Giants
Sun, July 2 – San Francisco Giants