Todd Frazier: Mets are the ‘team to beat’ in the postseason
In their National League East clinching series against the Reds this past weekend, the Mets sent their four young starters to the mound in the hitter-friendly environment of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
And that didn’t matter to them one bit.
Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom – all of which have either had starts skipped or had extended absences in the last three months – combined to allow only eight earned runs in 26 innings with 34 strikeouts and no walks.
They all look fresh and ready to go as they tune up for what hopes to be a long run through October.
And there’s an influential player who got a first hand look at the Mets four young hurlers and came away with a notable compliment.
“With their pitching staff, they’re the team to beat,” Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.
Frazier went 3-for-14 with a double and six strikeouts in the four-game series, during which the Reds dropped all four games and were outscored 34-12 in the series.
“Noah Syndergaard is the real deal, he’s one of the nastiest guys I’ve faced, he’s No. 1 or No. 2 for sure,” Frazier said. “The way they’re hitting, they’re rolling on all cylinders right now. Hopefully they can keep it up. It’s fun to watch and at the same time, I’m glad we don’t have to play them 19 games.”
Considering the kind of player Frazier has become at age 29, that’s a lot of respect to offer what the Mets are hoping with be the core of their succcess for years to come.
Frazier was asked to offer a comparison to the Mets young pitching staff, and he couldn’t come up with one that was recent. But he did offer up potentially an even greater compliment when he did present his comparison.
“I remember watching the Braves back in the day when I was really little,’’ Frazier said. “I can’t think of four guns who throw in the high 90s with nasty off-speed stuff so I really feel like they are the team to beat.”
The Mets have lined up Jacob deGrom to open the Division Series against the Dodgers, whether they start in Los Angeles or New York.
The Mets hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers for home field advantage in the Division Series. The Mets also hold the tiebreaker against Los Angeles since they won the season series against them in 2015.
Therefore, the Mets magic number to clinch home field is five.
But while Harvey is lined up to pitch game two, Terry Collins hinted over the weekend he could be held back for a pivotal game three, meaning Syndergaard – who has put to bed any notion he can’t be effective on the road and could very well be devastating in the shadows at Dodger Stadium – would be the club’s game two starter.
Collins insisted he’s still debating whether or not the fourth starter will be Matz or Bartolo Colon. Colon is scheduled to start against the Phillies this week, whereas Jon Niese has officially transferred to the bullpen and will work in relief over the final week of the season.
Both Niese and the Mets are hoping Niese can find a rhythm and a routine in the bullpen quickly.
As for Matz, he seems all but certain to win the job over Colon, at which point it will likely be decided whether or not Colon or Niese make the playoff roster.
And Frazier believes Matz should win the job over Colon as well.
“I don’t know how you can’t start that kid,” Frazier said. “The other two guns with deGrom and Harvey, geez, it’s lethal.”
That’s precisely how the Mets drew this up when they realized these would be the soldiers leading them into this battle in the earlier parts of this decade.