The Mets will play their first postseason game since 2006 on Friday night in Los Angeles. It is hard to believe that it has been nine years. It doesn’t feel that long because all of the disappointing seasons since 2008 blend together in my mind, but when I think about where I am as a person compared to where I was then, I realize that a lot of time has passed. When the Mets lost the NLCS in 2006 I was in the first year of my Ph.D. program, I was still married, and I was living in Illinois. Now I have been out of school and Illinois for nearly four-and-a-half years, and my personal life is completely different. I think the reason it seems like fewer than nine years in baseball terms is that the pain of the 2006 loss and the 2007 and 2008 collapses still remains fresh in my mind.
But this year’s Mets have a chance to heal those memories. Although they had only the fifth-best record in the National League, their excellent pitching and resurgent hitting makes them dangerous, and enough weird things happened to them during the regular season that they seem like a team of destiny.
The team announced today that Juan Uribe will not play in the NLDS due to injury, and this is a loss because Uribe has lots of postseason experience and is a good bench presence, and although he hasn’t hit for a high average with the Mets, most of his hits have been in clutch spots. He’s also done a good job spotting David Wright at third base. However, Uribe’s absence does make the roster decisions easier, as now the team has room to carry 12 pitchers. Their roster should look something like this:
Catchers: Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki
Infielders: Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Kelly Johnson, Ruben Tejada
Outfielders: Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares
Starting Pitchers: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz (assuming he’s healthy; he had a good bullpen session today)
Relief Pitchers: Jeurys Familia, Tyler Clippard, Addison Reed, Jon Niese, Hansel Robles, Sean Gilmartin, Eric Goeddel, and either Bartolo Colon or Carlos Torres. Colon is a risk since he is not normally a reliever, but he’s been pitching better than Torres of late.
If Uribe is healthy for the NLCS, I would go with 11 pitchers because only four starters are needed, and I would leave either Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon/Carlos Torres off of the roster, whoever performed less well in the NLDS out of the bullpen. But if the Mets insist on sticking with 12 pitchers, I would leave Cuddyer off of the NLCS roster unless he gets red-hot.