Happy Scherzday! The old timers day roster is here, and what might the Mets playoff rotation look like?
Max Scherzer kicks off the series with the Phillies tonight while we discuss New York’s October starting pitching and look ahead to old timers day
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
Max Scherzer is on the bump tonight as the Mets conclude their homestand with a three-game weekend series against Philadelphia
The Mets announced the full roster for Old Timers Day on August 27th. The honorary managers will be Terry Collins, Joe Torre, Bobby Valentine and Willie Randolph. You can see the entire roster here
The Mets begin an 11-game divisional stretch in ten days starting with three against the Phillies at Citi Field this weekend, four against the Braves at Truist Park starting on Monday, and then four more with the Phillies (including a doubleheader next Saturday) next weekend at Citizens Bank Park
Roster Moves 📰
Dominic Smith reinstated from his rehab assignment, optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
Playoff Odds Tracker 🎲
The Mets are 73-39 and lead the Braves by seven games in the National League East with 50 games to go. They are on-pace for 105 wins, which would be the second-highest mark in franchise history (108 in 1986)
The Mets have the sixth-easiest schedule down the stretch of the season (.483 opposing winning percentage, per Tankathon)
Playoff odds (FanGraphs):
Make the playoffs: 100 percent ↔️
Win the National League East: 96.1 percent ⬆️
Clinch first round bye: 95.8 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 18.5 percent ⬆️
Magic Number to clinch the National League East: 4️⃣4️⃣
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (73-39) vs Phillies (62-49)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer (8-2, 1.98 ERA) vs LHP Ranger Suarez (8-5, 3.68 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: Apple TV+
Who is the odd man out in the Mets playoff rotation?📝
I know, I know. You read that headline and years of being a Mets fan programmed you to think I’m jinxing the good mojo we have going on right now. After all, there’s still seven weeks left in the season and we’ve all seen the Mets let a seven game lead get away with far less time than that.
I’m here to reassure you though, this Mets team will not only be playing in October, but will more likely than not have a bye in the wild card round (the odds above are in their favor), and this will become a relevant question before we know it.
Provided both Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer remain healthy down the stretch, those are their game one and game two starting pitchers in the Division Series. This was the vision Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler and co. had in mind when they splurged to bring Scherzer here in the first place, and it’s about to come to fruition.
The debate is what happens after that, which is a fascinating question that will soon become a frontline story around this team.
The Mets rotation as a whole has been among the best in the sport, with Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco and David Peterson all enjoying terrific campaigns. A dive into the numbers displays just how similar the first three in that quartet have performed—particularly Bassitt and Walker. All-told, the Mets starting rotation has compiled a 3.52 ERA and 10.2 fWAR, both of which are good for fifth-best in the sport and that’s with extended absences from both Scherzer and deGrom.
Bassitt has made 21 starts in 2022 and owns a 3.39 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and a .230 batting average against, while striking out almost exactly a hitter/inning and averaging well over six innings/start.
Walker has taken the ball 20 times and has posted a 3.43 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP. Opposing batters are hitting just .242 against him and he’s surrendered only nine home runs in 110.1 frames. Walker’s K/9 ratio is under seven as he relies more on soft contact and he’s averaged almost a full inning less/start than Bassitt.
Carrasco in a lot of ways has been a little bit of a difficult pitcher to analyze. His numbers paint the picture of a good but not great back of the staff starting pitcher. In 22 starts he’s pitched to a 3.76 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP. Like Bassitt, he’s just one punchout away from striking out exactly a hitter/inning in 124.1 frames. Pitcher’s wins can be an overrated stat in this day and age, but for what it’s worth, Carrasco’s 13 victories lead the team and he has a 1.69 ERA in his last seven starts, during which he has gone 5-0 and the team has won all seven of those games.
But the thing about Carrasco is when he’s been bad he’s been very bad. Like, punt-the-game bad. For example if the back-to-back poor starts against the Astros are removed, his ERA would be 3.13. Taking it a step further—if his dud against the Cardinals in April is removed, Carrasco’s ERA in his other 19 starts is 2.60. It’s over a full run better subtracting his only three bad outings.
That said, Carrasco would still seem to be the obvious choice to slide into the bullpen in October. He’s the only one of the trio with any substantial relief experience, although the last time he spent the majority of a year in the bullpen was in 2014.
Of course, this isn’t a simple question, and that’s why it can’t be answered in early August.
For example, injuries have prevented Walker from consistently contributing a full season’s worth of innings. He’s tossed over 150 frames only twice, and his ineffective ’21 second half is in the back of everyone’s mind when his workload jumped to 159 innings after throwing just 67 total in the three years prior. Walker turned in his worst start of the season against Atlanta last week and followed it up with a decent outing against a bad Reds team on Wednesday. So, his trend line is worth watching especially as the number of home runs he’s allowing has ticked up since July 1.
As far as Bassitt is concerned, barring any significant development, he’s probably going to be the one to take the ball in game three of a potential playoff series. He’s brought attitude and moxy in his first season in Queens and has a competitive fire that should thrive on a big stage. Of course, He’s also given up the most home runs out of the discussed trio, but that wouldn’t be ideal anyway for a pitcher coming out of the bullpen with a playoff game hanging in the balance.
The fact that we’re even having this conversation in early-August is indicative of just how good the Mets have been in 2022, and internal competition on a ball club is a good thing. As we get closer to the regular season’s finish line it will become more and more clear that there are three starters competing for two playoff rotation spots and that will be fun to watch.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Brett Baty (3B, No. 2 Prospect, Triple-A): 2-for-4, 2 R, BB
Mark Vientos (1B, No. 5 Prospect, Triple-A): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 R
Jordan Geber (RHP, Low-A): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Around the League 🚩
The A’s released former Met Jed Lowrie
The Braves placed LHP Max Fried on the concussion injured list after he hit his head on a play in his last start against the Mets
The Marlins blanked the Phillies 3-0 on Thursday afternoon behind Edward Cabrera, pushing Philadelphia 10.5 games behind the Mets in the National League East. Kyle Schwarber left the game with a mild calf strain
Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon crushed back to back 7th inning home runs to help Colorado sink St. Louis 8-6
The Cubs beat the Reds 4-2 in the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa