LOS ANGELES - More than half of the players in the Mets' expected lineup for tonight's Game 1 of the NLDS never have appeared in the postseason.
According to one of the four who has been there before, all it will take for the other five to get over the butterflies is one pitch -- the one Clayton Kershaw will throw to Curtis Granderson at 9:45 ET tonight.
Then it's on.
"I think everybody's going to have the butterflies during the national anthem and when you're announced on the baseline,'' postseason veteran Michael Cuddyer said Thursday before the Mets worked out at Dodger Stadium. "Everybody. But once the first pitch is thrown, I have no doubt everybody will just fall back into just playing the game.''
Cuddyer, Granderson, David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes have extensive postseason experience, but the rest of the Mets' projected Game 1 lineup -- Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Travis d'Arnaud, Ruben Tejada and pitcher Jacob deGrom -- has none.
Rookies Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard will join the lineup for Game 2. Matt Harvey and rookie Steven Matz are expected to start Games 3 and 4 (if needed) at Citi Field in their postseason debuts.
"I think this is something that a lot of these guys have been looking forward to, be it veterans or young guys,'' Terry Collins said. "But we are very, very lucky. We have some of the best veteran leadership of any team I've ever been around. They're going to keep these guys focused.''
DeGrom said yesterday that he watched both wild-card games, in which postseason rookies Dallas Keuchel (Astros) and Jake Arrieta (Cubs) totaled 15 shutout innings and recorded wins. That may have been more instructive to him than any conversation he could have had with one of the Mets' veterans.
"I haven't talked to them really yet,'' deGrom said. "I don't think I'll really approach them before my start. I think I'll prepare how I usually do.''
Cuddyer's first playoff game was in 2002 with the Twins.
"For me, it was surprisingly no different than a regular-season game,'' he said. "I remember the feeling distinctly even though it was 13 years ago, thinking, 'This is it? This is all that there is to offer?' I was expecting something different and it wasn't. It's a great thing. It helps you to just go out and play the game.''
Cespedes hit .350 in two postseasons with the A's. Before that, he starred in playoff games in his native Cuba.
"I really had two first playoffs: in Cuba and here,'' he said through a translator. "I would say that with the younger guys, I don't talk to them more because it's postseason. I think we've had a good relationship all along, so I try to give them all the advice I can and help them out all I can.''