Last April, Terry Collins stressed the importance of the New York Mets getting off to a quick start in order for the younger players to realize they belong.
Well, they finished the month with a record of 13-10, much to the surprise of many people. I felt that they had the makings of a team that could last the season.
That was, until they suddenly stopped hitting with two outs and couldn't hold a late-game lead.
With that being said, I expect the 2013 to be much of the same. They generally get out to quick starts and fade fast.
Fortunately for them, 15 of the 27 April games are against teams that are actually inferior to them and will be at or close to last place in their divisions.
I expect a 14-13 April record which will temporarily bring optimism to the fan base, prior to their annual collapse leaving them at around 78 wins.
The Mets have the best Opening Day winning percentage of any team, with 33 wins in 51 tries—good for a .647 percentage.
They tend to fire on all cylinders on the first game, and I believe this will be no different. Jon Niese will throw seven innings and limit the Padres to one run.
David Wright will drive in his first run as the official captain in the first inning, and Ike Davis will hit first home run of the season.
A temporary undefeated start to the season will be a good feeling entering an off day.
I pick the Padres to win this game mainly because the Mets generally do not like prosperity. They gain some positive vibes and immediately have them dashed.
Additionally, I do not believe Shaun Marcum properly prepared for the season and I think he will be ineffective, especially with his command.
Matt Harvey endeared himself to Mets fans last season during his abbreviated stint with the big club. The fact that very few people are expecting a sophomore slump is telling about the young right-handed pitcher.
Harvey has been lauded for his work ethic, and I believe he will have a terrific season and it will get off to a great start against the Padres. I expect a low scoring game, and the Mets will finish the series with the victory.
These two teams will most likely be fighting for fourth place in the NL East once again.
Despite their constant phases of rebuilding, the Marlins generally give fits to the Mets with 2007 and 2008 obviously being the prime examples of that.
Christian Yelich is going to be the next Marlins player that kills the Mets, with Omar Infante and Gaby Sanchez no longer with the club.
I think it would be typical Marlins to put up a solid showing in their first game of the season against the Mets, but since it is only April they will come up small the final two games.
The Mets will turn the tables on the Marlins with a win in this game. It will be interesting to see if Terry Collins chooses to use Jeremy Hefner in this game or return to the top of the rotation with Jon Niese.
The rubber game of the series will be played at Citi Field with the Mets taking the final game as they head into their 10-game road trip on a high note.
The first game of the extended road trip will be in Philadelphia, where the Mets have actually handled the Phillies relatively well over the past few seasons.
That comes as a surprise considering the painful days of September 2007.
This series will begin with the Mets winning the first game. David Wright loves hitting in Philadelphia and he will have a big day.
Ryan Howard has always been a thorn in the side to Mets fans. Last year he hit the game-winning home run against Josh Edgin to spoil a master piece by Matt Harvey.
In this game he will be the difference which will force a rubber game.
The Phillies will find a way to down the Mets in this series finale and send the Mets on their cross country road trip with a sour taste.
The Minnesota Twins are a team in a rebuilding phase right now. This should be a very dull series, but they still have Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, which poses a threat for opposing pitchers.
Aside from them, there are very few recognizable faces on the team.
I think the Mets will win their first game in the Twins new outdoor facility.
The Mets will take the second game over the Twins as well, with Ike Davis hitting two home runs during this matinee.
Unfortunately, the Mets will be unable to sweep the Twins. They will lose the third game as they did so often last season.
Colorado has put some beatings on the Mets over the past few years. Last season was the famous 18-9 game, which was nothing short of embarrassing.
In the previous year, Troy Tulowitzki made Citi Field into a band box, as he lit up Mets pitching the entire series.
I think the Rockies will win the first game in a blowout.
The Mets will buck the trend with a hard fought win. These were the kinds of victories that made a believer out of me last April. They bounced back from tough losses with resiliency.
The Mets will win the third game of the series and will enter the final game with the chance for a solid series win.
The Rockies will win this mid week matinee and thwart the Mets chances of a convincing series win.
Regardless whether the games are played in New York or Washington, the Nationals style of play gives the Mets little opportunity to consistently beat them.
I expect a tough series for the Mets, with Stephen Strasburg shutting them down in game one.
Gio Gonzalez will take the mound in Game 2 and throw a complete game to put the Mets on the verge of being swept.
The Mets will find a way to avoid the sweep in a fairly easy victory as they enter an off day prior to taking on Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a much improved team and will give the Mets a difficult time, but I believe they will scrape out the victory in the first game of the series.
The Mets will falter in Game 2; the Dodgers have a strong pitching staff and well-rounded offense. If Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke is on the mound, it will be tough to put a run on the board.
The Dodgers will win the rubber game of the series. Last season, the Mets had problems closing out series. That is a big reason why they are not a playoff team. That could separate a 90-win team from a 78-win team over the course of a season.
This could be the first appearance of Travis d'Arnaud, especially if he is performing well at Triple-A Las Vegas.
If it is his first game, I expect the 24-year-old to make his presence felt with a huge day at the plate as the Mets capture the first game of the series of Philadelphia..
The Mets will frustrate the Phillies with another win, putting them in position for the three-game sweep.
Jonathon Papelbon will close the door on the Mets in the ninth inning to finish off a 2-1 win.
The Mets will be looking for an off day at this point, having played seven straight games, but they will find a way to win to improve their record to two games over .500.
The Marlins will win this April 30 match, up which will conclude the month of baseball with the Mets finishing one game over .500 at 14-13 and three games behind the first place Washington Nationals.