NY Mets (0-0) at Kansas City (0-0)
When: Sunday, April 3rd 2016
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Time: 8:37 ET | TV: ESPN
ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball kicks off the 2016 season with a rematch of last year’s World Series between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals from Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won their second title back in November when they defeated the Mets in five games and have kept the majority of their roster intact for the 2016 season. Kansas City finished the Cactus League schedule at 14-21 including two losses on Friday and Saturday at Chase Field in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks. Edinson Volquez gets the opening day start after starting the clinching Game 5 of the World Series. Volquez has put up 13 wins and a sub-4.00 ERA in two straight seasons, but is 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in nine career starts against the Mets. He ended the 2015 season with a career-high 200 1/3 innings before adding another 28 2/3 in the playoffs. New York’s Curtis Granderson, David Wright, and Neil Walker are a combined 5-for-39 with seven strikeouts against Volquez.
Probable Pitchers: Mets – Matt Harvey (2015: 13-8, 2.71 ERA) | Royals – Edinson Volquez (2015: 13-9, 3.55)
The Mets weren’t suppose to compete last year with their young pitching staff, but compete they did. They started the 2015 season out 13-3 and hung around until they acquired Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers and the offense took off. The Mets had the worst offense in Baseball prior to the All-Star Break and the best afterwards thanks to Cespedes and Lucas Duda, who had 27 homeruns and 73 RBI. The Mets acquired second baseman Neil Walker in the offseason to bolster their offense a bit. Walker is coming off a .269 season with 32 doubles and 71 RBI. Matt Harvey will make the start tonight despite struggling during the spring and also recently dealt with a blood clot in his bladder. He managed to pitch two innings on Wednesday against Washington but gave up a three-run homer to lift his spring training ERA to 7.50, some of which was the result of nine walks in 12 innings. The Mets lost their last 13 spring games before splitting a pair with the Cubs in Las Vegas.
The Royals obviously have the momentum from last season and Harvey’s spring has me a little worried about taking him this early in the season. I still think the Mets need more on offense to compete this season and the Royals team chemistry is undeniable.
Pick: Royals +105