Archive: September 28th, 2015

Planning for the Postseason

planning-petruccio

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.

Bullpen

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.

Infield

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.

Outfield

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.

Match-ups

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.

READ MORE +