The New York Mets meet the Washington Nationals as live online video carries the 2015 Opening Day for the National League East rivals — in a game that features an unexpected pitching matchup for a season opener.
For the Nationals, who won the NL East going away in 2014, finishing 17 games ahead of the 79-83 Mets tying for second place with the Atlanta Braves, the starting pitcher is not really a surprise, even though lefty Max Scherzer has never pitched a game for Washington before.
But in January, the Nationals won a bidding contest for the former Detroit Tigers hurler’s services, showering the 30-year-old with an astonishing, seven-year, $210 million contract, so even though the Nationals rotation is loaded with elite arms such as Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez — the best starting five in Majpr League Baseball, according to many experts — Washington elected to put Scherzer to work earning his incredible salary right away.
On the Mets side, the brightest spot of Spring Training and the single factor that gives New York the most hope of ending its streak of six straight sub-.500 seasons and rise back into contention for a postseason berth has been the return of 26-year-old former first-round draft pick Matt Harvey.
After exploding into the Mets rotation in 2012 and 2013 and posting a stellar 2.29 ERA with nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings over his 36 career starts, Harvey succumbed to elbow woes and missed the entire 2014 season with Tommy John surgery.
But this spring, Harvey appeared fully-healed and back to full strength — and the Mets still declined to anoint Harvey their Opening Day starter.
Instead, the honor goes to 41-year-old Bartolo Colon, entering his second season with the Mets — the ninth team of his 17-year Major League career.
Colon has been around for so long that he actually pitched a full season for the Montreal Expos, the team that moved to Washington in 2005 to become the Nationals. He has also pitched for the New York Yankees and, briefly, the Boston Red Sox.
While the Nationals come into 2015 as clear favorites to win the NL East again, and even to win the World Series thanks mainly to their pitching staff, on Opening Day, Washington will still be dealing with injuries to key players, including two-thirds of its regular outfield, Jayson Werth and Denard Span, as well as third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Catch online video of the New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals live from Nationals Park starting at 4:05 Eastern Time on Monday, April 5, by visiting WatchESPN at this link, or via the WatchESPN app for mobile devices. MLB.TV will also stream the game at this link, but requires a subscription fee which includes almost every Major League game played by every team in the 2015 season.
[Images: Denis Poroy/Greg Fiume/Getty Images]