Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bartolo Colon gets Mets' Opening Day nod ahead of Harvey, deGrom: Report

The New York Mets have spent most of the offseason hyping up fans with all of their talk about their young pitching. But, despite being blessed with that abundance of young arms, the team’s Opening Day starter will be a man north of age 40.

On Monday, Terry Collins made the announcement that Bartolo Colon will start on Opening Day in Washington against the Nationals’ Max Scherzer. And the young studs, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey will follow.

Beyond Scherzer, Washington has not announced its rotation, but deGrom will likely face Jordan Zimmermann, and Harvey will likely oppose Stephen Strasburg in games two and three.

Colon, at 41 years, 317 days, will be the oldest Opening Day starter in franchise history, topping Tom Glavine (41 years, 7 days) for the dubious honor. This will be the 281-pound Round Mound on the Mound's seventh career Opening Day start.

If it all sounds a little strange — even in the bizarro world of Mets baseball — for the fourth best starter in a rotation to open the season — logic says that the Mets will increase attendance for the second game at Citi Field by starting Harvey, the team's ace, because the Flushing home opener will be a big draw regardless of the starter.

Harvey, the 2013 National League All-Star starting pitcher did not appear last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the Opening Day start is usually awarded for a pitcher's recent body of work.

Last year, Colon was 15-13 with a 4.09 earned run average. He contributed 202 innings, his first 200-inning season since 2005, when he won the American League Cy Young Award.

“(Harvey) didn’t pitch last year,” Collins said. “It’s not a big deal. You’ve still got to pitch. If we get Matt Harvey his 30-some starts, I like our chances. ... That’s no disrespect to Matt at all. He is our ace, we know it, he knows it, I told him that he’s going to pitch a lot of big games this summer.

“You go back, and you look at what Bart did all season long, and you know what? He’s earned it,” Collins said.

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