Matz or Gilmartin
The Mets seem close to setting the NLDS roster (my projections were on point), but there is still one major decision left. The Mets need to decide if they want to put Steven Matz or Sean Gilmartin on the roster. It’s a major decision.
In essence, the Mets are deciding between the pitcher they want to start Game Four and the last man in the bullpen. In reality, they hope that Matz doesn’t have to pitch (sweep), but they really don’t want Gilmartin pitching (starter knocked out early). Gilmartin flew to LA, and Matz flew to Florida. If Matz has a successful bullpen, he will be added to the roster. If not, it’s Gilmartin’s job.
Personally, I would go with Gilmartin regardless. Matz has proven to be injury prone, and his back injury had lingered. If he sleeps on it wrong again, he’s out until the World Series. There are other more practical reasons why I would prefer Gilmartin.
First, if the Mets are down 2-1 in the series, I want to see Jacob deGrom on short rest, as was previously suggested by Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, over the Mets other options whether that pitcher be Matz or Bartolo Colon. If I’m going down, I’m going down with my best. This year it was deGrom. Noah Syndergaard can then start Game Five on normal rest.
Second, the Mets are carrying Colon and Jon Niese on the roster. That’s two starters in the bullpen. If your best shot of winning this series is going with the stud muffins, then Matz serves no purpose on the team. He’s had zero bullpen experience. With that said, if the Mets feel an extra reliever is needed, they should carry the guy who is actually a reliever. Gilmartin has been used in a myriad of ways. He’s the more valuable bullpen piece, even with the reverse splits.
Finally, Matz hasn’t pitched since September 24th, which will be 19 days between appearances. He’s going to be rusty. You don’t want a rusty pitcher pitching in a do-or-die game. Matz may be the Mets 4th best starter when healthy, but he hasn’t been. I think he can shake off the rust, but it’s only a guess. If you’re guessing at this time of the year, you’re tealky just gambling. You don’t gamble with Game Four.
I’d send Matz to Florida to join the taxi squad. If the Mets advance, you’ll have a much better idea if he’s capable of starting a game. If he is, put him on the NLCS roster. If he’s not, you can stick with Gilmartin, who is accustomed to sitting for stretches at a time.
I realize the Mets will go with Matz if they can. I just don’t think it’s the right time. I think his time is the NLCS. It’s Gilmartin’s time now.