NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The last recollection the New York Mets have from Citi Field is losing the World Series after squandering a late lead in Game 5.
Time to make some new memories.
Eager to celebrate a scintillating 2015 season with their rejuvenated fans, Curtis Granderson, David Wright and the rest of the Mets face Philadelphia in their home opener Friday afternoon. Former pennant-winning stars Rusty Staub, John Franco and Edgardo Alfonzo will be on hand to hoist the National League championship banner during a pregame ceremony.
“I can’t wait,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “To be in front of the best fans in the world and to be able to share a great year last year with all of them and to see that flag go up is going to be pretty magical.”
Once all the pomp and festivities are finished, the Mets finally get to play someone other than Kansas City. They’re just not sure who’s going to pitch.
Jacob deGrom is scheduled to start, a fitting choice after he won 17 games last season — including three in the playoffs. But his wife was due this week with their first child, and deGrom planned to head for home in Florida whenever she went into labor.
“I’m still getting ready to pitch the home opener, but I’m excited about both,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m definitely looking forward to it. The energy was unbelievable in the playoffs. I didn’t get to pitch any home games in the playoffs last year. I’m looking forward to getting back home and making that first start at home.”
If the All-Star right-hander is unavailable, New York will call upon 42-year-old Bartolo Colon to start.
Noah Syndergaard and three relievers combined on a 2-0 shutout Tuesday, giving the Mets a split at Kauffman Stadium before they enjoyed consecutive days off — a rarity during the regular season. They were working out Thursday at Citi Field — and deGrom was on hand.
“With the crazy days off and the intros, the ceremonies and this and that, as a player you want to get into a routine, and with the ceremonies you can’t do that — the wackiness of the first week,” Wright said. “It’ll be nice to get home, get settled into our places to live, go to work out on Thursday and get ready to take care of business at home.”
While the Mets were in Kansas City, they watched the Royals raise their World Series banner two days before receiving their glittering rings. New York was practically forced to relive some of the most painful moments from last fall as the reigning champs played highlights on the stadium video boards.
Now, the Mets get a chance to relish their own success in front of a packed house of cheering fans.
“I know they are excited,” manager Terry Collins said. “We saw it in spring training — big crowds wherever we went. We’re anxious to get home.”
Jerad Eickhoff is slated to pitch for the rival Phillies, who dropped their first two games in Cincinnati this week after finishing with the worst record in the majors last year at 63-99.
The right-hander was called up on Aug. 21 and went 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA in eight major league starts last season. Three came against the Mets, and he pitched pretty well, going 1-2 with seven shutout innings and 10 strikeouts in a victory Oct. 1.
New York reliever Hansel Robles, who riled up the Phillies by quick-pitching last year, returns from a two-game suspension for throwing near the head of Philadelphia catcher Cameron Rupp in September.
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