“Max is pitching on Friday.”
With those five words, uttered just minutes after the Mets’ regular season ended with a 9-2 win over Washington, Buck Showalter set the Mets’ world into a frenzy wondering if Jacob deGrom might not see the ball in the Wild Card Series against San Diego.
It also echoed what SNY’s Andy Martino had reported earlier in the day:
"It is not safe to assume that Jacob deGrom will start Game 1 on Friday or that Max Scherzer will follow him in Game 2, according to sources with knowledge of the team's deliberations," Martino reported. "The Mets are trying to determine how to use the schedule to maximize the strengths of each of their top three starters, a group that includes Chris Bassitt."
In a post-finale episode of Rico Brogna, Evan Roberts delved into why it makes sense for the Mets to line up their rotation with Scherzer at the top, but Buck was much more succinct:
“We've got a lot of good options, and he's one of 'em," Showalter said.
The skipper had joked that he would name his Game 1 starter as soon as San Diego did – which prompted people to shout out that the Padres had named Yu Darvish as their starter, and say it would be good for coverage to know…and that’s what prompted those five words.
Scherzer is indeed perhaps the best option, as he led the Mets in strikeouts and had the lowest ERA despite being fourth in starts and innings pitched. And, as noted by many, if he pitches well and the Mets win Game 1, they can potentially start Bassitt in Game 2 and save deGrom for either Game 1 of the NLDS – a series in which they could only use Scherzer twice if he pitches one game on short rest – or a deciding Game 3 in the Wild Card Round.
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