Could the Mets go with a three-man rotation in the NLDS?
The Mets are now less than certain to have Steven Matz available for the National League Division Series, which starts Friday, October 9 against the Dodgers.
That means one of Bartolo Colon or Jon Niese could be starting game four of the series, which is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13.
Right now, the Mets rotation seems to be playing out with Jacob deGrom starting on Friday in game one, Noah Syndergaard on Saturday in game two, and Matt Harvey next Monday in game three.
In a Division Series with two off-days, there’s always the option of sending the game one starter out for game four on three days rest, and the game two starter out for game five on regular rest.
The Dodgers did just that in the 2014 NLDS when Clayton Kershaw, their game one starter, pitched on three days rest in game four, only to allow three runs in the seventh inning and lose their series to the Cardinals.
The Mets could conceivably choose to go this route if Matz is not available for game four, and not run the risk of a throwaway game with either Colon or Niese. Syndergaard can then pitch on regular rest in game five. And according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, the Mets are considering a three-man rotation as an option.
There are risks and unknowns with this configuration, however, and probably should only be considered if the Mets are down 2-1 heading into game four.
DeGrom has never pitched on three days rest in his two seasons in the big leagues. So preparation could be an issue for him. In addition, his ability to pitch deep into that game – and potentially his game one start – could be impacted.
If the Mets are considering this course of action, they’ll need to decide before game one, for sure and plan deGrom’s workload accordingly.
Harvey would then be in-line to pitch game one of the National League Championship Series if the Mets get that far. DeGrom could then go on regular rest in game two, with Matz and Syndergaard going in games three and four in whatever order they choose, assuming Matz is healthy. Harvey could then go on the fifth day in game five and deGrom would go on the fifth day in game six.
This is getting ahead of the current agenda, but it clearly impacts how the Mets plan the rest of their playoff rotation if they make the choice to start deGrom on short rest in game four.
But winning trumps everything, especially in a do or die situation.
And this is all solved anyway if Matz is available and on the playoff roster next Friday.