MLB

Jacob deGrom’s Wild Card Series start may hinge on Mets’ Game 1 outcome vs. Padres

USATSI

The New York Mets will kick off their first playoff run since 2016 on Friday night, when they begin their best-of-three Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres. It would be reasonable to assume that the Mets would trot out their two decorated aces, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, in Games 1 and 2 so as to secure an advancement to the division round, where they’d face the Los Angeles Dodgers, as quickly as possible. 

That may not end up being the case, however.

Scherzer is indeed set to take the ball in Game 1 on Friday, a contest that will see him oppose Yu Darvish. It’s Game 2 that remains an open question. Whereas the Padres named Blake Snell as their Game 2 starter, the Mets resisted announcing a starter. Instead, manager Buck Showalter said that his plans for Saturday could be influenced by the results of Game 1, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

It’s possible that Showalter is partaking in some gamesmanship, perhaps hoping that the Padres spend more time thinking about his Game 2 options than they should ahead of Game 1. It’s also possible that he’s telling the truth. The logic seems to go like this. If the Mets win on Friday, they could start Chris Bassitt on Saturday and potentially wrap up the series. In that scenario, deGrom would be ready to take the ball in Game 1 against the Dodgers, a more optimal arrangement for the Mets since deGrom would then be in line to make multiple starts in a five-game series.

Bassitt

30

181.2

113

3.41

deGrom

11

64.1

126

12.75

Of course, if the Mets lose on Friday, or if the series were to necessitate a Game 3, Showalter would have no choice but to tap deGrom for a start. 

The risk here is that hinging the Game 2 starter on who wins Game 1 keeps both deGrom and Bassitt in limbo until the contest is decided. Perhaps that isn’t a problem — both deGrom and Bassitt are veterans, and good ones at that — but it’s something to consider whenever the margin is as thin as it is in a three-game set. 

Ultimately, the Mets can rest easy in one sense: They know that, no matter what, they will not be eliminated without getting at least one start from deGrom this month. It just may come later than originally anticipated. 



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