The time for prognostication and predictions has come to an end, and now it’s time to start rocking and rolling. It’s Opening Day for the vast majority of baseball teams, and that includes our beloved Atlanta Braves. They won’t be playing at SunTrust Park until April 14th (nice way to build up anticipation for the new stadium, MLB!), but they will get to serve as the “bad guys” for three teams’ home openers on this road trip and that includes today’s opponents: The New York Mets.
The Braves are running into the Mets on Opening Day, which means that they’re going to have to deal with Noah Syndergaard. Amazingly, the Braves only saw Syndergaard one time in 2016 and that game actually went well for Atlanta. That happened last September, which is when Syndergaard only lasted four innings against a Braves lineup that looks very familiar to the one that we’re going to see today. As nice as it would be to see the NL Cy Young candidate falter out of the gate today, I’d say that there’s a decent chance that we’re going to see the Syndergaard that has run roughshod over NL hitters for the past couple of seasons.
If the Braves haven’t seen enough of Noah Syndergaard, then the Mets have probably seen all that they need to see of Julio Teheran. He faced the Mets four times last season and never went fewer than six innings in either appearance. That’s including the one-hit complete game shutout that Teheran delivered during his best start of the 2016 season. It’d be crazy to expect a repeat of that performance, but this game has ‘Pitcher’s Duel’ written all over it, so don’t be surprised if both pitchers go deep into today’s game.
Now, we can’t talk about the Braves and the Mets without mentioning Freddie Freeman’s history of success in this ballpark. Freeman is liable to mash the baseball anywhere he goes, but he had an especially lovely time doing it at Citi Field last year, as this tweet from Kevin McAlpin illustrates.
With his fourth inning single, Freddie Freeman is now hitting .486 in nine games at Citi Field this season and .324 in 55 career games here— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 22, 2016
We should be in for a good game today. Plus, there’s plenty of excitement about the fact that baseball itself is back. Spring training is finished, folks. It’s time for actual, real-life, ‘This actually counts’ baseball.
Game Date/Time: Monday, April 3rd, 2017 at 1:10 PM ET
Location: Citi Field, New York, NY
TV: ESPN, Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: Braves Radio Network, WYAY 106.7, 680 AM/93.7 FM