Robert Gsellman will start tonight for the Mets. Bartolo Colon is scheduled to start Saturday, followed by Noah Syndergaard on Sunday, during what will be the team's final regular season games of 2016.
"After flirting with having Colon pitch on short rest Friday, the Mets intend to stick with their original plan," ESPN's Adam Rubin wrote last night. "So, Gsellman will open the series against the Phillies, followed by Colon on Saturday."
That said, I think the Mets are probably taking this one game at a time, as they should. I mean, if the Mets win and Cardinals lose tonight, the Mets will end up clinching a Wild Card spot. At that point, they'll need to revisit the importance of home field advantage, and whether they want to use Colon on Saturday. And, if the Mets lose tonight, while the Giants and Cardinals win, who knows how their thinking might change.
It's complicated, and I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, because so much is unknown.
Right now, they have to assume Sunday is a win-or-go home game, and adjust the moment they end up in a better position. In the meantime, they have to plan on going full-throttle, pitching Colon on Saturday and Syndergaard on Sunday. If they do that, assuming they're still alive Monday morning, Colon starts the Wild Card game and Game 3 of the NLDS (assuming they get that far). Syndergaard would then start Game 1 and 4 or 5 of the NLDS, with Seth Lugo and Gsellman peppered in where needed.
The thing is, if the Mets lock up a Wild Card spot and home field before Sunday, they could get Syndergaard light work Sunday and have him start Wednesday instead of Colon. But, if they do that, it probably means Lugo and Gsellman are starting Games 2 and 4 and Syndergaard is pitching Game 5 on two days rest.
My hunch is the decision Sunday morning is going to be based on how badly the Mets want to risk Syndergaard in a potential NLDS in exchange for home field advantage in the Wild Card game.
"For sure when you play in front of our fans, it's an advantage. They are excited. They are loud, they get after it in the stands," Terry Collins said Thursday, when asked about the situation. "When that decision comes, it's going to be a tough decision to make. We want to go as far as we can. If it means saving him to get us to the next round, we certainly got to consider it."