Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Mets get breather to rest for playoffs

New York Mets' Dilson Herrera (16) hits a

New York Mets' Dilson Herrera (16) hits a double in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Cincinnati. Credit: AP / Aaron Doster

CINCINNATI - The NL East champion Mets took a day Sunday to savor their division title as Terry Collins played the "B'' or "C'' team in an 8-1 romp over the Reds.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper got into a fight in the Nationals' dugout. That's probably not what the organization means by the catchphrase "Natitude!''

Collins, shown the video of the Nationals' dustup shortly after the Mets' game ended, said only: "Oh, well.''

Harper famously said, "Where's my ring?'' after the Nationals signed Max Scherzer. Maybe Papelbon was just trying to show him his 2007 Red Sox World Series ring. With knuckles attached.

Yes, the Mets are done with the Nationals. Now it's on to the NLDS beginning Oct. 9.

With Dilson Herrera and Kevin Plawecki hitting home runs, the Mets' bleary-eyed regulars were able to rest Sunday.

Jacob deGrom, the likely Game 1 starter, was outstanding after a 13-day layoff to recharge the ol' batteries. The floppy-haired righty allowed one run and five hits in six innings with no walks and nine strikeouts.

The team flight into Philly Sunday night was delayed by design to allow Pope Francis' plane to depart that city. A division crown is big, but even the Mets had to take a back seat to the Pontiff.

On Tuesday night, they get back to work. They have a few things to sort out before their first playoff game since 2006, at Citi Field or Dodger Stadium:

Your place or mine?

The Mets (89-67) won the season series with the Dodgers (87-68), so all they have to do is finish with the same record as the presumptive NL West champs to clinch home-field advantage for the first round. The Dodgers' magic number is 2.

Collins said Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax texted him Saturday: "Congratulations. See you on the ninth somewhere.''

How's that for a texting buddy?

How much Harvey?

After a public-relations fiasco engineered by Matt Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, and fueled by Harvey's awkward statements, the Dark Knight finally got on the right side of the innings-limits debate before pitching Saturday's clincher.

"Matt came to me last week and said, 'Look, I need to throw 100 pitches my next two starts,' '' Collins said. " 'We're going to win this thing and I need to get ready.' ''

Either Harvey had an epiphany or was following Boras' latest diabolical string-pulling. Realizing that his young client was getting hammered for appearing to put his future earnings ahead of the team, the agent could have suggested that Harvey volunteer to do what the Mets wanted him to do all along -- throw at least one game without pitch restrictions in each playoff round.

Look for Harvey to start Game 3. "That might be the perfect spot,'' Collins said. "We can watch his workload yet have him pitch the pivotal game.''

He said deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Harvey will start vs. L.A., order to be determined (but not hard to figure out).

Rookie Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon are the candidates for Game 4. The Mets love Matz, but they want to see more sharpness from the Long Island lefty on Wednesday against the Phillies before committing.

NLDS 'prediction'

Because there is so much time before Game 1, fans will spend way too much time obsessing about Juan Uribe's chest injury and the final bullpen and roster spots. If Round 1 comes down to Eric Campbell or Carlos Torres, there probably won't be a Round 2, anyway. So don't fret.

As Koufax said, see you on the ninth somewhere.

New York Sports