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Series Preview 3/29, 3/31-4/1: Cardinals @ Mets

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It’s the opening series!

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets
Martinez will make his second Opening Say start.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball. Is. Back.

The Cardinals will open up the 2018 regular season on Thursday in Queens, New York, against the Mets at Citi Field with the first game of a three-game series.

It will be a battle of the staff aces in the opener, as Noah Syndergaard will face off with Carlos Martinez at 12:10 PM Central time. Syndergaard was limited to seven starts last year by a lat muscle tear. To kick off his age 25 season, Syndergaard posted a 1.35 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 20 spring innings. Martinez is entering an important season himself, with the front office expecting him to reach the next level of starting-pitching excellence - although his 2017 was solid. Martinez held a 9.53 K/9 with an opponent’s batting average of .230 in 32 outings.

After an off day Friday, it’ll be Jacob deGrom and Michael Wacha in Saturday’s 12:10 start. deGrom started 31 games for New York in 2017, maintaining a 3.50 FIP in 202 13 innings. When he toes the rubber Saturday, Wacha will hope to begin his second consecutive 30-start season - and the third of his career. The 26-year-old Wacha boasted a 3.63 FIP and 3.2 WAR in 165 23 frames last year.

Sunday’s series finale will feature Steven Matz and Luke Weaver. Some elbow trouble caused Matz to miss a chunk of last season, logging 66 2/3 innings across 13 starts. Matz struggled, as batters hit .305 with 1.62 home runs per nine innings. The Mets are hopeful their young lefty will improve upon his 2017 campaign. Weaver was a welcomed piece of stability, as he went 7-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 13 games (10 starts) from July through September.

First pitch of Sunday’s finale is scheduled for 12:10.

Notes:

  • The Cardinals signed reliever Greg Holland to a one-year, $14 million deal, as reported Thursday morning. Heather Simon (Lil_scooter93) covered the story here.