FIRST PITCH: Get ready for a celebration.
“We’ve got our horse going,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets beat the Reds, 12-5, on Friday. “If you said in spring training, ‘Hey, we’ve got a chance to clinch, who would you want on the mound,’ Matt Harvey’s name most likely would be the name you mentioned.”
Said Noah Syndergaard after Friday’s win: “The magic number is one now. We’ve got horse, Harvey, on the mound. I have a pretty good feeling after that we’re going to be celebrating. So it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Collins declined to say how long Harvey will pitch in what is expected to be another abbreviated start.
The Mets already have clinched at least a tie for the division title, but Collins said he could not enjoy it until the race officially is over.
“I can’t do it,” the manager said. “That’s just not my makeup. When it’s said and done, I’ll be the happiest guy in the room. Right now I’ve got to figure out who to play, and go out there and grind it out. I don’t look too far ahead.”
Collins did pledge to deviate from his normal righty-heavy lineup when facing a left-hander. Lucas Duda is due to start on Saturday against Lamb. Presumably, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson will be in the lineup too.
SATURDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
Syndergaard took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning and retired 16 straight batters before surrendering a two-out homer to Brennan Bosch in the Mets’ 12-5 win. Lucas Duda had a pair of three-run homers and finished with a career-high six RBIs. The Mets built a dozen-run lead before a combination of Eric O'Flaherty, Bobby Parnell and Tim Stauffer allowed things to get mildly interesting. Hansel Robles had to enter to record the final out. Afterward, Collins was unapologetic about using pitchers unlikely to be on the Division Series roster in the late innings. “I got to rest some pitching tonight. It got ugly at the end of the game. I understand that,” Collins said. “We won. That’s all I give a s--- about. We won the game. We’ve got rested pitchers.” Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at MLB.com.
Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post says Mets fans deserve this moment after all the years of agita.
Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com writes about the Mets’ postseason rotation plans: “The Mets are planning for now to employ their four kid pitchers -- Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz -- as their playoff rotation, but they understand that Harvey may not go the distance should they make it to the final (or semifinal) round. They think they are in decent shape on the others in terms of innings, and Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese give them decent fill-ins. As far as the rotation, they'd like to get Noah Syndergaard at home, as he's been much better at Citi Field.”
Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday looks ahead to the clinching celebration.
Victor Mather in the Times and Jared Diamond in the Journal discuss whether there is a correlation between finishing the regular season strongly and having postseason success. Writes Diamond in disputing the necessity for a hot finish to the regular season: “Since 1995, the teams that wound up winning the World Series had a combined winning percentage of .578 in their last 20 regular-season games; World Series losers had a .611 winning percentage; League Championship Series losers had a .606 winning percentage; and Division Series and wild-card losers had a .598 winning percentage.”
BIRTHDAYS: Doug Sisk turns 58.
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