Mets tip rotation hand, as Jacob deGrom expected for home opener

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Harvey already has been declared the Opening Day starter for the New York Mets opposite Kansas City Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez at Kauffman Stadium on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

Manager Terry Collins has been coy about announcing the remainder of the rotation, but it is coming into focus.

Noah Syndergaard is expected to start against the Royals on April 5, against right-hander Ian Kennedy in Game 2 of the regular season. Steven Matz will piggyback Syndergaard's start and face the Royals in relief that day -- unless Syndergaard is dominant and goes deep enough to hand the ball directly to the late-inning relievers.

That provides Jacob deGrom the opportunity to pitch the home opener April 8 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets want to give Harvey and deGrom the honors of starting the openers. And that fits well anyway because deGrom's wife, Stacey, is due with the couple's first child April 5.

That presumably leaves Matz and Bartolo Colon to round out the first home series against the Phillies in some capacity before the rotation returns to Harvey and Syndergaard.

The rotation plan became clearer when the Mets listed Matz for Friday's start in Las Vegas against the Chicago Cubs, disqualifying him for a start against the Royals on standard rest.