Although they haven’t clinched yet, the New York Mets are primed for meaningful October baseball for the first time in nine years. With their dominant pitching and seemingly revitalized offense, they look primed for postseason success. With twelve games left and a 6.5-game lead on the Nationals, the only thing the Mets have to worry about is their postseason rotation.
There is currently a logjam for the rotation. If the Mets go with a typical four-man rotation, they have six guys in their current rotation, so two would have to move to the bullpen during the postseason. Regardless of the recent innings controversy, Matt Harvey is a lock to be in the top two. Jacob deGrom is also not going to the bullpen. That leaves Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard for the final two spots. Manager Terry Collins has stated publicly that he doesn’t see Matz or Syndergaard pitching out of the bullpen come October. However, things can change; people can get hurt, or their effectiveness can decrease. Niese was pitching himself back into the playoff conversation up until a few weeks ago when he started to be not as effective, so it looks like he will be coming out of the bullpen come the playoffs.
That leaves the ageless wonder Bartolo Colon. Whether you’re a Mets fan or not, you have to respect what Colon has done these last two years with the Mets. At 42 years old, Colon recently set the longest scoreless innings streak for pitchers age 42 or older. At 14-12 with a 4.15 ERA, his numbers don’t really jump out at you. In his last seven games, however, he is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA. Recently, Colon has pitched himself into consideration for the final spot.
So, that leaves the Mets with Harvey and deGrom up top, with the overpowering Syndergaard most likely in the third spot, and then Matz and Colon battling for the last spot. If I were Collins, I would choose Colon, just due to the fact that he provides a lot of playoff experience to that rotation. Also, would you honestly choose a rookie pitcher, with only five career starts, to be the last pitcher in the postseason rotation? I wouldn’t. I get that Matz is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in those five starts, but given the fact that this is about to be the first postseason for the Mets in nine years, and no one in the rotation has pitched in the postseason besides Colon, I would choose Colon for his recent play and veteran aspect.
So my postseason rotation for the Mets would be as followed: Matt Harvey as the ace, Jacob deGrom in the second spot, Noah Syndergaard as the third starter, then Bartolo Colon manning the back end. Jon Niese should cope well with being the long-man in the bullpen, and Steven Matz should thrive as the seventh-inning guy to solidify the bullpen.
Of course, nothing is set in stone. Collins could choose any combination that he thinks will be the best rotation for the Mets. The Mets could choke (again) and not make the playoffs. However, with the way they’re rolling along, can anyone stop them?