Planning for the Postseason


Thanks again to Joe Petruccio for the image above. Joe sums up our feelings in a joyous image worth a thousand words. Check out Joe’s brilliant daily Mets paintings on his Facebook page and his Instagram is @joey_paints

Thanks also to the New York Mets… They’ve exceeded even my overly optimistic expectations and Daring Dan Capwell stands above 99.9% of experts that thought the Nats would win the division. Bravo, Cappy!

The 2015 season has been marked by a series of right turns that could have gone terribly wrong. It seems each time the Mets faced a challenge, they kicked on harder than before.

Noah Syndergaard and Colon’s fast start filled the void created by Wheeler. Matz gave the Mets a brief jolt in the arm. Uribe socked a few and Wilmer did too. Cespedes socked a bunch and a rally parakeet came to celebrate. Colon came up big in September, and Wright and d’Arnaud came back as good as before. Now Matt Harvey has joined the pack… making his own turn towards pitching full time again. Will it be the right one? It seems so. The crazy 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a Mets season has fallen into place.

Meanwhile, the Nats have fallen apart. I still look at the Nats’ roster and I’m nonplussed at their failure. They struggled with the mantle of favourites, but why? Did they get lazy? Or arrogant? Forgive some of my schadenfreude at Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon tussling in the pen. Both revelled too much in victory and are struggling with defeat. Harper has at least tried to become gracious while Papelbon has become a powder keg. Ah… just be Mets fans, guys, it’ll toughen you up.

The Mets launch into the week with both their A and B teams shellacking the Reds over this weekend. The Reds looked terrible (at least Uncle Terry’s crews always try until the end) with lazy swings and comedically bad defense from Joey Votto and Ivan De Jesus.

So it’s time for the Mets to plot their postseason course and their series against the Dodgers. I’ve focused on my postseason roster, not the obvious one. Feel free to disagree. Even I’m torn over a few wildcard picks…

Starting Pitching

1. Jacob deGrom
2. Noah Syndergaard
3. Matt Harvey
4. Steven Matz

How does it look?

Half of the postseason teams would still kill for this rotation. I love the power arms and Matz’s upside. There’s even the added bonus that they can all hit.
It makes sense, especially if the Mets get home field advantage, to stick Syndergaard in the second game despite his better run on the road recently. I also remain worried about the possibility of Harvey’s innings limits raising some problem, so this would add a small Linus-sized safety blanket. If the Mets win to 1 in any series, Harvey only pitches once.

Any wildcards?

There’s a possibility that Colon might get the pick over Matz. The option of Niese seems highly unlikely as he’s getting tryouts in the pen over the next week. I’m glad about that.
Matz is a lefty and I have other plans for Bartolo Colon. And they don’t involve putting his feet up with a cigar and a tub of Jolly Ranchers.


RHP Jeurys Familia
RHP Tyler Clippard
RHP Addison Reed
RHP Logan Verrett
RHP Bartolo Colon
LHP Sean Gilmartin
LHP Jonathon Niese

How does it look?

I’m still worried about Robles and his tendency to flip out. So I was torn between Robles and Verrett, who’s a little underrated because he doesn’t gas it as much as Robles.
My theory? Verrett’s best pitch is a nasty circle change/fosh and that will contrast more with the Mets starters. If Verrett pitches, it will be in the fifth or sixth inning off the back of a poor start. The same holds true of Colon, because he can fill long relief and would be stark contrast against the flame-throwing starters. He’s also a cross between Valium and a pitcher, and would be utterly unconcerned by pressure.
I think the Mets need to carry two lefties and I like Gilmartin more than most fans. He’s a good LOOGY and he won’t hurt you much.
By having Niese, Colon and Verrett you’re also pretty safe with only 7 relievers. And I want me a pinch runner to boost the Mets in later innings…

Any wildcards?

It’s pretty easy to make a case for Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles.
I’d pick Goeddel over Robles if Niese can’t pitch out of the bullpen. Why? Robles flies open under pressure and leaves his fastball high. And without his quick pitch, he’s lost a major weapon — both in winding up the opposition and in getting outs.
Poor Bobby Parnell (still injured) and Eric O’Flaherty (who seems to have forgotten how to pitch) shouldn’t stand a chance.


C Travis d’Arnaud
C Kevin Plawecki
1B Lucas Duda
2B Daniel Murphy
IF Juan Uribe (if fit) IF Ruben Tejada (if Uribe’s injured)
IF/OF Kelly Johnson
SS Wilmer Flores
3B David Wright

How does it look?

Despite d’Arnaud’s recent struggles, that’s a nice selection. I’ve already said I’d start Johnson at 2B against righties and Uribe at 2B against lefties, but I doubt that will happen.
Why have Murph as the lefty off the bench? In a positive way, he likes the big occasion. But, above all, he’s a lousy defender and the Mets opponents won’t whiff and pop-out as much as the Reds, Phillies, Marlins, Braves and the other little league teams the Mets have beaten up on. I’ve also picked a bunch of groundball pitchers in the bullpen.

Any wildcards?

The question here is what happens if Uribe isn’t ready to go.
It’s a little worrying because 5/8 of the starting line-up (Granderson, Murphy, Duda, Conforto, Cespedes) are weaker against lefties… so it feels like you need to plug the hole with a right handed bat. Dilson Herrera is a real option for me, as much as Ruben Tejada.
Why no Tejada on my roster? Look, when is he going to play? What does he offer? It certainly isn’t speed (I’ve got that covered), his defense is ok but he’s simply a backup if Wilmer gets injured. Wilmer is facing THREE left handed starters, and he crushes them. Johnson can backup if Wilmer strains a muscle celebrating a walk-off homer off a lefty.


Curtis Granderson
Michael Conforto
Yoenis Cespedes
Juan Lagares
Michael Cuddyer
Eric Young Jr.

How does it look?

The worry is — of course — how they’ll hit against lefties. Uncle Terry will stick by Grandy against lefties — and I know he hit a home run on Saturday against a LHP — but he’s been dreadful against them in 2015. Lagares could fill the lead-off role for at least one game of the Mets three starts against Dodgers lefties. I know his arm is shot but he still has the leg speed to cover a lot of ground in center, and it gives the Mets the freedom to sub out Michael Cuddyer for defense.
Eric Young Jr. isn’t exactly the primo option when it comes to defense, but he can hold his own. I think he’s a must-have as a pinch runner in late-and-close games to get Cuddyer, d’Arnaud, Murph or Duda off the bases. He can also fill in on the IF in a (very) long game.

Any wildcards?

With this one, it’s more a case of who they might NOT take.
I’m working on the basis that the Mets carry a 7-man bullpen. If they take 8, then it’s bye-bye to Juan Lagares or Eric Young Jr. In both cases I think that would be a crying shame.


The Dodgers are limping somewhat, with both lefties behind Grienke and Kershaw struggling.
The pitching line-ups are practically a wash. The Dodgers have the better 1-2, while the Mets have the better 3-4. But it’s all extremely close.
I like the Mets offense due to its versatility and I like the way they’ve tried to handle the Dodgers staff this year. And the Newest New York Mets lineup more than holds it own against the Dodgers.

Bold Prediction Time

It wouldn’t be a Mets Today post if I didn’t set myself up to look stupid in a few weeks.
But my cold, hard opinion is Mets win it 3-1.
As it looks like CFPunk is walking away with the Mets Win-O-Meter, it’s time for us to prove our worth in the post-season. I also need to recoup some money after losing on my 86-88 win spread bet.
What do you think the Mets postseason roster will be? And what will be the outcome of the Dodgers series?
Don’t forget, it takes Bartolo Colon sized cajones to do that a week before the regular season is even over.

Steve Hussy has been a Mets fan since 1984. An insomniac as a kid, he watched baseball highlights at 4 AM on British TV. He credits Darryl Strawberry's long homers as the first cause of his obsession with the Mets. Now he gets to watch Mets games that finish at 3 AM and teach bleary-eyed lessons to his film students the next day. He also gets to shell out hundreds of pounds to fly over to New York and watch the Mets occasionally win. Steve Hussy's other job is as a writer and editor for Murder Slim Press, which specialises in confessional and crime literature. You can find out more about him on Just no threats, please.
  1. crozier September 28, 2015 at 7:04 pm
    I’m going to let you do the heavy lifting here, Steve. Because frankly, I’m just glad to be here, and I’ll just be enjoying the ride as long as it lasts.

    Plus, also, a 5-game series is about luck, right? So let’s hope the Mets get lucky. And by lucky, I mostly mean let’s hope Duda takes his home run skills to the playoffs. That’s the biggest offensive variable as I see it.

  2. DaveSchneck September 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm
    Great column. For my two cents, i would go with Kirk over EYjr in the OF. In the pen, if Niese proves this week he can handle the role, he supplants Gilmartin. Robles scare me at many times but his stuff is still too nasty to exclude. Lastly, I;d probably give a slight nod to Goeddel over Verrett.
    • Steve Hussy September 30, 2015 at 12:51 pm
      Thanks Dave.
      I like Kirk as an impact bat, but I can’t see him being used as much as EY Jr. The Mets would have Murph or Johnson up before him as a pinch hitter. With the nasty Dodgers 1-2, a pinch runner and a pinched base might go a long way. If the Mets make it through, I would have Kirk over Lagares against a predominantly strong right-handed staff.
      I thought Niese looked ok in relief… but he’s going to have to learn the role pretty damn quickly. Robles, Verrett and Goeddel are almost a wash. Whichever one gives up some runs, we’ll clamor for the others!
  3. argonbunnies September 29, 2015 at 5:18 am
    Mostly agreed, Steve, so here are my dissenting opinions:


    I consider this a close call. As of now, yes. But if Matz throws a clunker his next time out, then no. His location has been off and I can’t tell if he’s succeeding anyway because he has nasty late movement or because he’s simply been lucky.

    Colon is either very good or terrible, and it’s obvious when he’s terrible, and if Collins could be trusted to pull him in the second inning if necessary and go to a designated piggyback (Matz, I guess), then I’d be all for it. Probably too weird for Terry’s taste, though.


    With all the off-days in the playoff schedule, you can pretty much hand all the important late innings to Clippard and Familia, with Reed as bailout if one of those two is off.

    If you need to get a lefty out in the 6th inning, I’d go with… Clippard. Or maybe Colon. Gilmartin is a fine option for any lefty batters who simply can’t hit lefties, or for anyone who can’t hit a breaking ball (as long as he stays away from his weak sinker).

    Jon Niese has earned some love just by being a Met through so many lousy years, but I don’t see him helping us win any games. Yeah, Adrian Gonzalez has bad numbers against him, but seriously, would you trust Niese to come in with men on base to face a decent hitter? I’d say the chances of either a 4-pitch walk or a meatball are higher than for just about any other Mets pitcher.

    Robles similarly makes me nervous, but when he’s on, he’s on, and his overall stat line has been good. I have no problem with using him as the 4th or 5th ‘pen arm as long as Terry employs a very quick hook if the ball’s running up and away.

    Most of your points about Verrett also apply to Goeddel. Not sure which I’d prefer. If Colon’s on the roster, Verrett probably won’t be needed for length.

    Regardless of exactly how it shakes out, I’d want more bench spots.


    No, Ruben’s no Gold Glover at shortstop, but he’s roughly average, whereas Wilmer Flores is roughly the worst regular defensive SS in the majors. It IS going to hurt the Mets if they run Wilmer out to the field for important defensive innings. I would argue to leave Wilmer off the roster entirely if not for his pop vs lefties. Hopefully he hits some HRs off Kershaw, Anderson or Wood, but if the Mets do take a lead, for goodness sake get Tejada in to play SS.

    If I were Collins and I wanted Flores’s bat against those Dodger lefties, I’d be giving Wilmer reps at 2B right now so he can remember how to play it.

    Murphy looks like an everyday guy right now because he’s red hot, but if he cools even a little, second base should be up for grabs against lefties. And speaking of defensive liabilities, Murph shouldn’t play any big innings in the field either.

    If Uribe is healthy, that complicates things further, but honestly, I like Juan as a pinch hitter. He can reliably do things no other Met can reliably do — kill mistakes, catch up to good fastballs, not press in the clutch, and touch Kenley Jansen. His absence will be HUGE if he cannot recover in time.


    A 6-man bench seems like a luxury after our 4-man bench through much of the year, but the conservative “save the second catcher in case the first one gets injured” nonsense Terry used almost all year really makes it a 5-man bench. Which would be fine if one of those weren’t a pinch runner.

    That brings us down to 4 pinch-hitters/defenders, which might be about right if this were an American League series, but here you also have to pinch hit for the pitcher, and I’ve seen Terry leave in bad hitters in big spots because he was saving his pinch hitters for when he absolutely HAD to use them. Wouldn’t it be better if, when you wanted to bat Kelly Johnson in the 5th inning, you could just do it, instead of looking ahead to the #9 spot coming up 2 or 3 more times?

    So I’d include Tejada AND Uribe, and if Uribe can’t go, then I’d add Kirk as a lefty pinch-hitter and defensive sub, or Campbell as a sort of security blanket. I don’t want Soup facing a tough pitcher in a big spot or playing a key defensive position, but he can hit for a pitcher, draw a walk, run the bases with average speed, and shift positions as needed to accommodate other moves. (The guy is also majorly due for some good luck — I recall hearing that his ratio of hard-hit balls to actual hits is worst in MLB.)

    If Collins absolutely refuses to use Plawecki until d’Arnaud breaks something, then I might want Kirk AND Campbell.

    Trust me, if we bring 7 relievers, there’s at least one guy who’s not getting used unless the Mets are losing by 10 runs. And in that case, I just say stretch a long guy.

    • Steve Hussy September 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm
      Yep, that six man bullpen is a great idea… but as long as they have plenty of guys that can go long (Verrett offers that flexibility too, more so than Goeddel or Robles). My only concern is the first couple of games may ride into extra innings. Syndergaard doesn’t tend to go that deep into games.
      Tejada is certainly “next cab in the rank.” Kirk is more of an impact player but it makes more sense to call him for a series with more right-handed starters… then he could perhaps replace Lagares.
  4. argonbunnies September 29, 2015 at 5:29 am
    My prediction is Dodgers in 5. I predict that one of the Mets’ big guns will have an off day, and Kershaw, for once in the playoffs, won’t.
    • crozier September 29, 2015 at 9:13 am
      The Mets don’t have to beat Kershaw or Greinke; they just need to keep it close. It’s the Dodgers bullpen the Mets need to beat.

      I don’t have a winner prediction, but I do think it will go five, and the games should be close.

      Can’t wait!

      • argonbunnies September 29, 2015 at 5:01 pm
        If Kershaw’s on, there won’t be any bullpen beyond Jansen (whose career 2.27 ERA, .173 opp. avg., and 14 K/9 is no joke).

        Over his last 50 starts, Kershaw has 21 in which he’s gone 8+ innings allowing 1 or 0 runs. I think he’s due to bring that to the postseason.

        So, unfortunately, we DO need to beat Kershaw, at least enough to stop him from doing THAT. I think that’s no small order.

        For Greinke, though, “keep it close” may work — he’s less of a dominant K machine, more of a 7-inning guy, and 2-inning stints are outside Jansen’s routine.

        • crozier September 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm
          Ok, noted. So I guess the variable here is: “Which Kershaw shows up to pitch?”

          One can dream it will be the underachiever, but I agree he’s due to pitch well in a post-season game.

        • argonbunnies September 30, 2015 at 4:18 am
          Whoa. I talk about how dominant he can be, and 5 hrs later he goes out and throws a 1-hit shutout.

          Before he faces the Mets, I’ll be digging up all the weaknesses I can find on the guy!

  5. DanB September 30, 2015 at 10:42 am
    I know EYjr was acquired in late August, but when was he promoted to the big league? Is he post season eligible? I would also prefer Colon to Matz in the bullpen. Not only does Matz have a higher ceiling as a starter, I like the idea of Colon coming in and throwing junk to pumped up Dodgers who were just facing a hard throwing starter. Plus, I can’t help thinking of Sid Fernandez.
  6. Steve Hussy September 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm
    EY Jr’s first game for the Mets was the 1st Sept, so I’d hope they did all the paperwork before the previous night’s deadline. Wholly agree about Colon being in the pen. I think the thought of jolting opposing batters out of the rhythm by having very varied pitchers is underrated. Would anyone fancy facing Aroldis Chapman after – say – R.A. Dickey? Colon after the flamethrowers is a milder version of that.
    • DanB October 1, 2015 at 8:44 am
      During the year Dickey won the Cy Young, the pitchers who started the game after Dickey had a better ERA then Dickey.
      • Murder Slim October 1, 2015 at 10:02 am
        Yep, I’m convinced this theory of contrasting pitchers works. Coming from the world of cricket, I used to stick a spinner up one end and have a quick bowler at the other… pretty common practice.
        • argonbunnies October 2, 2015 at 2:15 am
          I hope you realize that to Americans, “stick a spinner up one end and have a quick bowler at the other” sounds unspeakably perverse.
  7. Steve Hussy October 3, 2015 at 5:26 pm
    Very funny, Argonbunnies! I spend ages trying to keep my humor on here PG rated, and then I trip into that line!
    • argonbunnies October 8, 2015 at 12:12 am
      You just can’t win, man — “tripping into a line” is slang for cocaine use following hallucinogens.

      Disclaimer: no it’s not.

  8. argonbunnies October 8, 2015 at 4:36 pm
    Hey Steve, if I write an article. can I send it to you or Cappy to publish it? I used to occasionally send articles to Joe, but he hasn’t answered my emails in a few months.
  9. Steve Hussy October 10, 2015 at 10:55 am
    Hey Argon… Unfortunately, Joe’s in the middle of a complex house move and I can’t post articles at all without his approval on the MetsToday server. I’ve got one on the Win-O-Meter that’s been ready to go for a week. I’ll also write about what will hopefully be a long postseason run… last night was such a great watch. Hang in there… normal service will be resumed once Joe is settled in his new place.