By: Michael Ganci

Opening Day Preview: Syndergaard Leads Mets vs. Braves

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OPENING DAY: The Mets are set to open their 56th season today. In the history of Major League Baseball, the Mets (35-20, .636) have the best winning percentage on Opening Day.

OPENING DAY: After losing their first eight Opening Day contests, the Mets have won 35 of their last 47 Opening Day games. New York took nine straight openers from 1975-1983 to tie a major league record. The Mets have won eight of their last 11 openers.

OPENING AT HOME: Today is the fifth time the Mets have opened the season at Citi Field. New York is 3-1 when starting the year at Citi Field. The Mets are 20-3 in their last 23 Opening Days at home and 20-8 overall when starting the season at home.

VS. ATLANTA: Today is the fifth time the Mets and Braves have met on Opening Day. New York is 3-1, winning the last three match-ups between the two clubs. The last time Atlanta and New York played on Opening Day was in 2012 at Citi Field when the Mets won, 1-0. The Mets topped the Braves on Opening Day in 2004, 7-2, in Atlanta and won, 6-4, in 10 innings in Atlanta on Opening Day in 2001. New York lost, 3-2, to the Braves on Opening Day, 1966 at Shea.

NOAH SYNDERGAARD: Will make his first career Opening Day start today. Syndergaard will be the Mets’ seventh different starting pitcher in the last seven years, joining Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey. That seven-year streak with a different Opening Day starting pitcher every season is the longest in team history. The previous streak was a six-year run (1980-1985). Info courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau. Syndergaard will be the 26th different pitcher to start on Opening Day for the Mets. Tom Seaver holds the record with 12 Opening Day nods.

YOUNG GUN: Syndergaard is the third-youngest Opening Day starter in team history. Only Dwight Gooden four times (1985-86, 88-89) and Tom Seaver twice (1968-69) were younger.

FOR THE FIRST TIME: Four Mets are taking part in their first career Opening Day.The list includes Robert Gsellman, Ty Kelly, T.J. Rivera and Josh Smoker.

FESTIVITIES: Today’s National Anthem will be performed by NYPD Makiah Brown. FDNY’s Regina Wilson will sing God Bless America in the middle of the seventh-inning. Today’s flyover will be Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 12, flying the MH-53E Sea Dragon, based out of Norfolk, Virginia. Today’s ceremonial first pitches will be Connor McDonald, the son of late NYPD officer Steven McDonald and Jose, Kenneth, Justin and Isaiah, the sons of late EMT Yadira Arroyo.

SECOND TIME IN TEAM HISTORY: New York has reached the postseason in consecutive years for the second time in team history (also 1999-2000). The club will seek to reach the postseason in three straight years for the first time in team history.

POWER UP: The Mets hit a franchise-record 218 home runs last year. The 218 homers by the Mets ranked second in the NL and fifth in the majors. The Mets were 77-40 when they homered. New York hit 112 home runs at home a franchise-record for a single-season.

LEADOFF HOME RUN: Kazuo Matsui is the only Met to hit a leadoff home run on Opening Day when he took Atlanta’s Russ Ortiz deep on April 6, 2004 at Turner Field.

GRAND SLAMS: Collin Cowgill and Todd Hundley are the only two Mets to hit a grand slam on Opening Day. Cowgill went deep on April 1, 2013 off San Diego’s Brad Brach. Hundley’s slam came on April 26, 1995 at Colorado off Billy Swift.

TWO HOME RUNS: Robin Ventura, Bobby Bonilla, Cleon Jones, Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds are the only five players in club history to hit two home runs in an Opening Day tilt. Ventura was the last to accomplish the feat on April 3, 2001 at Atlanta.

OPENING O: The Mets scored a franchise-best 12 runs on Opening Day on April 4, 1994 at Chicago-NL.

OPENING DAY ZEROS: The Mets have recorded seven shutouts on Opening Day. The last time New York held an opponent scoreless on Opening Day was in 2012, when the Mets blanked the Braves, 1-0. Meanwhile, the Mets have been shut out only once (7-0, April 9, 1963 vs. St. Louis) on Opening Day.

WALK IT OFF: The Mets have had three walk-off wins on Opening Day. Joe Torre delivered an RBI single off Steve Carlton to beat the Phillies on April 8, 1975. Gary Carter slugged a 10th-inning walk-off home run in his first game with the Mets to beat the Cardinals, 6-5 on April 9, 1985 and Alberto Castillo had a 14th-inning RBI single to lift the Mets over the Phillies, 1-0, on March 31, 1998.

EXTRA, EXTRA ON OPENING DAY: The Mets have played seven extra-inning games on Opening Day. They are 5-2 in those contests. The last extra-inning affair was in 2014, a 9-7 loss to the Nationals. The last Mets Opening Day win in extras was a 6-4, 10-inning victory on April 3, 2001 at Atlanta.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jay Bruce turns 30 today.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he’d have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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