The Mets rotation and bullpen plans for the playoffs hinge on Steven Matz’s health
The Mets are still mulling their plans for their roster in the Division Series, but have started to identify players who might have been on the bubble who will and will not be on the active roster come Friday in Los Angeles.
The Mets sent six players to the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie to participate the Instructional League: Logan Verrett, Eric Young Jr., Bobby Parnell, Eric O’Flaherty, Anthony Recker, and Eric Campbell.
That means, these players will not be on the initial postseason roster. Rather, the Mets say they are heading to Florida to remain sharp in the event they need to serve as injury replacements.
In addition, Tim Stauffer appears unlikely to serve on the playoff roster or as an injury replacement.
The Mets have informed Erik Goeddel he will be in the bullpen in the Division Series. He will presumably join Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, Hansel Robles, and Jeurys Familia as the staples in the bullpen.
The rest of the bullpen remains up in the air. It seems likely Sean Gilmartin will earn a spot in the bullpen, giving the Mets four right-handers and one left-handed reliever.
The rest of the Mets pitching staff is up in the air, and will likely be determined based on how Steven Matz fares this week pitching in the Instructional League.
The Mets skipped his start last week against the Phillies after he slept awkwardly on a sofa in Philadelphia, straining a muscle in his back. He was unable to pitch in relief as the team had hoped this past weekend against the Nationals, either.
If he makes it through his outing this week in Port St. Lucie ok and recovers well, he will be in the playoff rotation as the fourth starter. Terry Collins has hinted at the notion he could use Jacob deGrom on three days rest in game four, but won’t if the club is up 2-1 in the NLDS.
If Matz is healthy, it makes the decision easier for Collins – simply put, Matz would likely get that start and Bartolo Colon seems likely to win the last spot in the bullpen over Jon Niese.
But if Matz isn’t healthy, Colon seems to be their Plan B in the rotation, at least on paper, with Niese in the bullpen. But that could press the Mets to comeback with deGrom on short rest, especially if the Dodgers decide to pitch Clayton Kershaw on short rest at Citi Field.
There’s no telling how this is going to play out in the end, but the Mets would have every reason to bring deGrom back on short rest regardless of who’s up 2-1 in game four. Why wouldn’t the Mets make their best effort to not return to Los Angeles and face Zack Greinke on regular rest in game five if their leading the series?
That’s not a knock on Colon, but he hasn’t exactly had much success outside of the National League East in 2015. And he once again showed on Sunday he can be a capable reliever for this team as well, which is where he might have the most value to the Mets in the playoffs.