The Mets' World Series rotation essentially is set, a source told Newsday on Friday, with Jacob deGrom penciled in as the Game 1 starter Tuesday night and Matt Harvey starting Wednesday night's Game 2. But the source said those aces might be flipped, partly because of concerns about deGrom's postseason workload.
Manager Terry Collins acknowledged those concerns about deGrom, and he offered strong hints that Harvey could make the Game 1 start. But he stopped short of revealing his rotation at the team's optional workout at Citi Field on Friday, preferring to wait for the ALCS winner to be determined.
"We have a good idea," Collins said. "But we're going to wait to see who we're playing first."
It'll be the Kansas City Royals, who edged the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, in a thrilling ALCS Game 6 Friday night.
With deGrom and Harvey slated to pitch in the first two games, the source said Noah Syndergaard will pitch Game 3 at Citi Field on Friday night and Steven Matz will start Game 4 the following night.
Collins disputed a published report Friday that had Harvey slated for Game 1 and Syndergaard for Game 2. Regardless of the order, he expressed confidence in a young pitching staff that has suffocated both the Dodgers and Cubs on the way to the Mets' first pennant in 15 years.
"I don't care who we play, you've got to like our pitching," Collins said. "And I don't care what park we play in, I like our pitching. We've pitched good in Philly, we've pitched good in Denver, we've pitched good, you name it, we've pitched good. Because these guys are good. So I've got a lot of confidence in them."
In deGrom, the Mets have a natural choice for Game 1, though his workload might force a change. He's 3-0 and is the only Mets pitcher to have logged three postseason starts -- but he also has thrown a team-high 20 innings. Though deGrom came away with victories in his last two starts -- NLDS Game 5 and NLCS Game 3 -- he battled command issues in both.
"The one thing we're looking at [with] Jake is the last couple of times out, he looks like he could use some time," Collins said. "He's been erratic with his command, and that to me is due to a little bit of fatigue. So it could be anybody."
Collins also left some doubt about his willingness to have deGrom appear three times in the World Series, which is possible for the Game 1 starter.
"Is it going to benefit us to start him and use him three times?" Collins said. "Look, you've got to put them in situations where they're going to have more success. I'm not sure where we're going to just yet. But I like our rotation no matter who's out there."
Harvey is the Mets' alternative for Game 1, according to the source, and it appears Collins is thinking along those lines as well. When asked if he could envision Harvey pitching three times in the series, Collins responded, "There's a possibility, yeah."
Harvey has started twice, logging 122/3 innings. But his last outing was Oct. 17, giving him nine days off between starts. Harvey had been in line to start Game 5 of the NLCS before the Mets completed a four-game sweep of the Cubs.
However the Mets line it up, Collins said he's glad the NLCS sweep provided extra rest for his young starters. They won't have to throw a pitch that counts for five days.
"We're going to ride that pitching," he said. "And by the way, our pitching right now could use a blow. We're pushing them pretty hard. That's why you don't see a lot of bullpen use. So I'm glad our starters are going to get an extra day."