The Mets are keeping their pitching plans as top secret as the nuclear codes.
Manager Buck Showalter was hesitant to give away any information about the club’s starting rotation for their NL wild card series against the San Diego Padres. We know that Max Scherzer will start Friday night at Citi Field. But after that, he’s still not saying.
“We know what we’re planning to do, but some things are dictated by (Friday) night’s game,” Showalter said Thursday at Citi Field after the Mets held their first postseason workout.
Reading between the lines it looks as though the Mets will use Jacob deGrom on Saturday if the Padres win the first game of the series. If the Mets win Friday and are looking to close out the series in Game 2, they would use Chris Bassitt. This would allow them to save deGrom for an NLDS start in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers are waiting for the winner of this series.
Typically, teams don’t have to start worrying about which arms are available for the next round until a few games into play, but with a short series like this, wild card teams have to do some advance planning.
So, how do they balance that? The Mets have a deep staff, but if they use Scherzer, Bassitt and deGrom in a wild card series, would they trust Carlos Carrasco or Taijuan Walker to start against the Dodgers on Monday night?
Scherzer has struggled with an oblique injury this season and recently missed time in September when it forced him onto the injured list. The 2019 World Series-winning ace says it isn’t a concern right now, but he doesn’t want to talk about the potential of pitching on short rest until it becomes a reality.
“Worry about that at a different point in time,” he said. “We have a three game set, all I’ve got to do is go out there pitch Game 1. We can figure out the rest later, we’ve got to win the series first.”
The Padres have already lined up Blake Snell behind Game 1 starter Yu Darvish. Darvish is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in eight career games against the Mets (all starts) and Snell, a southpaw, is 3-3 with a 2.73 ERA in six games.
Bassitt is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA in three starts against San Diego, two of which came this season. The big right-hander, who was acquired from the Oakland A’s ahead of the season, took the loss in both games against the Padres this year. In San Diego on June 8, he lasted just 3 1/3 innings, getting hammered for seven earned runs. Bassitt pitched well in the home contest on July 23 but Manny Machado hit a two-run homer off of the right-hander in the sixth inning to help the Padres win 2-1.
DeGrom did not face San Diego this season but the right-hander is 6-3 with a 1.28 ERA in 10 career games against the Padres.
It’s a tough call, but the Mets are playing the odds as they progress through this short, best-of-three series.
“The focus is completely on tomorrow night’s game,” Showalter said. “When you’re doing rosters and stuff, without jeopardizing it, you have to put your best foot forward to these three games. You do have to at least consider that everybody does. The tiebreaker will always be what’s best for these three games.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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