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The San Diego Padres and New York Mets will kick off a three-game set on Monday in what will serve as a rematch of last fall's National League Wild Card Series. The Padres, of course, won that series by a 2-1 margin, advancing to play the Los Angeles Dodgers en route to their NL Championship Series loss against the Philadelphia Phillies. (The Phillies themselves lost in the World Series.)

Both clubs have altered their identities since last October. The Mets had perhaps the busiest offseason in the majors, adding Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga, among others, while retaining Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Díaz. (Verlander and Díaz are both on the injured list.) The Padres, for their part, signed Xander Bogaerts and Nelson Cruz, who joined elite company on Sunday night when he launched his second home run of the young season.

Here are four other things to know heading into Monday night's game.

1. Darvish-Scherzer on tap

The day's best pitching matchup will be on display in this series when Yu Darvish squares off with Max Scherzer. (We'd also accept arguments for the showdown in San Francisco between Julio Urias and Logan Webb.) The two have combined for 13 All-Star Games, three Cy Young Awards (all Scherzer's; Darvish does have a pair of top-three finishes, however), and 297 victories.  

Darvish has made just one start so far this year, compiling five one-run innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was uncharacteristically imprecise in that outing, walking four batters and throwing just 56% of his pitches for strikes. For reference, Darvish's career big-league rates in those respective categories are 2.9 walks per nine innings and 64.8% strikes.

Scherzer, conversely, will be making his third start of the short season. He recorded a quality start his first time out, against the Miami Marlins. Things didn't go as well for him in his last start, with the Milwaukee Brewers touching him up for five runs in 5 1/3 innings. That outing saw the Brewers hit three home runs against Scherzer, the most he had allowed since a start last May.

Here's hoping both are on top of their games on Monday night.

2. Bogaerts, Alonso surging

If you're more into hitting than pitching, then keep an eye on Padres shortstop Xander Bogaerts and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso this series.

Bogaerts will enter Monday's game hitting .324/.422/.649 (190 OPS+) with three home runs and more walks than strikeouts (7 versus 5) in his first 10 games with San Diego. Alonso, tied for the majors' lead in home runs with five, is sporting a .237/.326/.658 slash line (153 OPS+) in his first 10 games.

Overall, both offenses have underperformed expectations to date. The Padres rank 20th in the majors in runs scored, while the Mets check in at 22nd. Neither ranking seems likely to stand for much longer. 

3. Mets' inexperienced arms to be tested 

The Mets' rotation is currently without veterans Justin Verlander and José Quintana, necessitating that Buck Showalter and company turn to the likes of David Peterson and Tylor Megill. Each will make a start in this series. 

Verlander is aiming to return sometime in April, while Quintana is likely out until around the All-Star Game. With that in mind, Megill and Peterson are essentially competing for the right to remain in the rotation for a while longer.

Megill would appear to be the leader. Through two appearances, he's posted a 1.64 ERA with a 2.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Peterson, for his part, has a 6.00 ERA and a 1.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

Peterson and Megill will be opposed by a pair of southpaws, in Ryan Weathers and Blake Snell.

4. Musgrove's ears won't be issue

The enduring image of last fall's series between the Padres and the Mets had to be umpires checking San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove's (admittedly shiny) ears for grip-enhancing substances. The umpires didn't find anything they found objectionable, allowing Musgrove to proceed with a brilliant start that saw him hold the Mets to one hit and no runs over seven innings.

We can promise that Musgrove and his ears will not play a role in this series one way or another. That's because he's currently on the injured list with a fractured toe. Musgrove is expected to make his season debut this weekend, potentially opposite Corbin Burnes and the Brewers.