PHILADELPHIA — A year ago, the Mets sprayed Champagne three times on the way to the National League pennant, although not once did they enjoy the honor at home.
Righthander Noah Syndergaard hopes to change that.
Not long after the Mets beat the Phillies 5-3 Saturday to ensure hosting the NL wild-card game Wednesday, Syndergaard already had shifted his focus to the next task.
He will duel with either the Giants or the Cardinals, who trail the Giants by one game heading into the last game of the season for each. A Cardinals win over the Pirates and a Giants loss to the Dodgers will require a tiebreaker game between them at St. Louis Monday.
“I think we’re all looking forward to it, giving the Mets faithful something they deserve and something they’ve been waiting for,” Syndergaard said. “I think we’re all going to enjoy it.”
He had been scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies, but with the Mets already having clinched home field in the wild-card game, the righthander will throw a bullpen session.
The Mets initially planned to have Syndergaard pitch an inning in the game just to keep him sharp because he last pitched Tuesday. Instead, Gabriel Ynoa will start, with the Mets shying away from the risk of a freak injury to their most important pitcher.
Syndergaard will be in for a duel. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner lined up for Wednesday and Carlos Martinez is set to pitch for the Cardinals.
“It’s like every little kid’s dream come true to pitch in a real high-stakes game,” Syndergaard said. “So, I’ll embrace it. I look forward to it. It should be a lot of fun.”
The Mets will begin the process of crafting their postseason roster.
If the Mets face a lefthander such as Bumgarner, they must find a replacement at first base for Wilmer Flores, who likely is out for the season with a wrist injury. He had been one of the Mets’ top righthanded threats.
For now, Collins said the Mets’ potential replacements include Eric Campbell and Ty Kelly, neither of whom carry a significant big-league resume.
“We’ll find somebody,” Collins said.
First baseman Lucas Duda sat out Saturday’s game with general soreness. He missed a large chunk of the season with a stress fracture in his back and has taken time to getting acclimated to every day action. “He’s another one of those guys that in the future will never bad-mouth spring training,” Collins said. “Now he knows what it’s about, and that is trying to get in shape during the season is hard.” . . . Lefty Steven Matz will undergo surgery Tuesday to remove a bone spur from his left elbow at the Hospital for Special Surgery . . . Yoenis Cespedes was ejected in the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Will Little. In his exchange with the umpire, Cespedes was heard uttering an expletive, promoting the hook.