Opening Day FAQ: Brewers vs. Mets

March 29th, 2024

Neither the Mets nor the Brewers quite resembles the team it was at this time last year. Gone from New York are Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and a slew of other high-profile names. From Milwaukee, Corbin Burnes went to Baltimore, and Brandon Woodruff won't pitch this season after undergoing right shoulder surgery. Even the Brewers’ ex-president of baseball operations David Stearns switched sides, heading from the shores of Lake Michigan to those of Flushing Bay.

Win projections, understandably, for both teams have mellowed. Yet both also feel they can make noise with their revamped rosters, starting on Opening Day -- which was pushed back to Friday at 1:40 p.m. ET/12:40 CT due to forecasted rain in New York.

The Mets enter 2024 with lower expectations than they had at this time a year ago, but they still believe their roster is strong enough to make the playoffs for the first time since '22. In his first offseason at the helm, Stearns collected a small army of pitchers on one- and two-year deals while also making moves to shore up the team’s defense.

The Brewers, meanwhile, completed a host of trades to tweak a roster that won the National League Central by nine games last season but fell short in the playoffs.

Opening Day will give both clubs a chance to see how their altered rosters will look in games that matter. It will also mark the managerial debuts of Carlos Mendoza for the Mets and Pat Murphy for the Brewers.

When is the game and how can I watch it?

First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. ET/12:40 p.m. CT Friday on MLB.TV. SNY and Bally Sports Wisconsin will broadcast the game in their local markets, while WCBS 880 (New York) and WTMJ 620 (Milwaukee) will air the game on the radio.

What are the lineups?

Brewers: Opening Day will be Rhys Hoskins’ Brewers debut, with the former Phillies slugger anchoring the middle of the order. It will also be the MLB debut for highly touted prospect Jackson Chourio, who leads off and starts in right field. With Garrett Mitchell out with a fracture in his left hand, the Brewers are now planning to use Sal Frelick in center field against right-handed pitchers and Blake Perkins against lefties -- which for Opening Day would mean the switch-hitting Perkins as Milwaukee faces Jose Quintana.

Mets: The Mets will wait until after their first homestand to debut , who signed less than a week before the start of the season. While Martinez ramps up to speed in the Minors, this is how New York will begin the season.

Who are the starting pitchers?

Brewers: is making his first career Opening Day start as the new ace of the Brewers’ staff. It’s the first time in five years that Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter won’t be Burnes or Woodruff, but that makes this is a well-earned opportunity for Peralta. The 27-year-old is coming off an excellent 2023 that saw him go 12-10 with a 3.86 ERA and a career-high 210 strikeouts. Now Peralta, who has spent his entire big league career with the Brewers and was an NL All-Star in '21, has his sights set on becoming a 200-inning workhorse for the first time.

Mets: Ace suffered a shoulder injury during Spring Training and won’t be available until at least May. As a result, the Mets gave the Opening Day nod to Jose Quintana, a steady veteran who was the team’s most consistent pitcher after returning from injury himself last July. This will be the second career Opening Day start for Quintana, who also took the ball in 2017 for the White Sox. The left-hander produced a 3.57 ERA over 13 starts last season, with 60 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings.

How might the bullpens line up after the starter?

Brewers: The big question is who's going to finish. With All-Star closer out until June with two stress fractures in his back, someone has to step into the ninth-inning role, but exactly who that is remains to be seen. Big right-hander , who posted 13.5 K/9 last season thanks to his overpowering 99 mph fastball and wipeout knuckle-curve, seems like a good choice if a save opportunity arises on Opening Day. Electric 23-year-old , last year's setup man and lefty sidewinder are the other relievers likely to see high-leverage innings for Milwaukee.

Mets: After missing all of last season due to a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, is healthy and ready to reclaim his role as one of the game’s top closers. and are also back and will serve as high-leverage options alongside newcomers and . will also open the year as a trusted member of the bullpen.

Any injuries of note?

Brewers: Mitchell’s fractured left hand threw a major wrench into the Brewers’ Opening Day plans. Frelick and Perkins are set to take over in center, since Milwaukee wants to use Chourio in right, at least initially. But the Brewers’ most significant injuries are on their pitching staff. Woodruff might have been the Opening Day starter if he were healthy, but he won't pitch in 2024 as he rehabs. Southpaw , who also would have started a game against the Mets, is instead starting the season on the injured list due to left shoulder soreness -- his No. 2 start will now go to . And then there’s Williams, one of the best relievers in baseball, who will miss several months.

Mets: Four Mets will begin the year on the injured list: Senga, who will spend the next six-plus weeks rehabbing a strained posterior capsule in his right shoulder; , who is due back from left hip labrum surgery in late May; , a one-time rotation candidate who’s nursing a left hamstring strain; and , who’s likely to miss the season recovering from right knee surgery. All but Mauricio should play roles later this year.

Who’s hot and who’s not?

Brewers: Adames just had a three-homer game against the D-backs on Sunday, giving him six home runs in Cactus League play after he led the team with 24 last season. Hoskins hit just .195 in Spring Training as he enters his first season with the club, although he did have four home runs.

Mets: Baty started slowly in spring but put together an excellent March to win the starting third-base job. Two of his three homers came over the final week of camp. On the other side of things, McNeil missed more than three weeks due to a left biceps issue and never found his timing at the plate, going 0-for-13 in Grapefruit League play.

Anything else fans might want to know?

• The Mets remain by far the most successful Major League franchise on Opening Day, a fact made more astounding by the fact that they lost their first eight openers from 1962-69. Since that time, the Mets have gone a remarkable 41-13 in season openers, including wins in six of the past seven years.

• Chourio -- the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball -- is set to become the youngest Brewer to make his MLB debut on Opening Day since Robin Yount in 1974. That debut will come with a lot of hype: The 20-year-old phenom is a power-speed outfielder in the mold of Ronald Acuña Jr. or Julio Rodríguez, and he hit .282 with 22 home runs, 44 stolen bases and 91 RBIs in the Minors last season. Chourio will be the youngest player in the Majors when he debuts, and the Brewers are expecting big things from a player they consider a future franchise cornerstone.

• More on Chourio: at 20 years, 17 days old, he'll become the fifth-youngest player to start on Opening Day at any position in MLB’s divisional era (since 1969). The only younger players: Yount in 1974 (18 years, 201 days) and '75 (19 years, 204 days), Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989 (19 years, 133 days) and Adrián Beltré in 1999 (19 years, 363 days).