Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese may shift to bullpen in Philly

CINCINNATI -- Terry Collins spoke cautiously because he had not yet briefed his players, but the manager acknowledged he may use Bartolo Colon and Jonathon Niese in relief roles rather than as starters in Philadelphia during the next series to get them acclimated to the bullpen.

The New York Mets appear most likely to use Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz as starting pitchers in the Division Series, which leaves the other six-man rotation members -- Colon and Niese -- needing to contribute in relief in the opening round, assuming Niese makes the roster cut.

“It’s very possible that could happen,” Collins said about using Colon and Niese in the bullpen in Philly. “Until we get there, I haven’t talked to those guys. I don’t need them to go to their phones and see that they’re going to the bullpen, because I haven’t talked to them yet. I’m just going to let it ride, but there’s a possibility we might alter some things.”

Collins also confirmed that Harvey and deGrom will start against the Washington Nationals during the final series of the regular season, regardless of whether the Mets clinch this weekend in Cincinnati. Their outings against the Nats may be abbreviated, though.

“We’re not going to ride them hard, but I think it’s important that we keep them in line and make sure that everybody’s pitching,” Collins said.

Collins said that trying to secure home-field advantage for the NLDS is important, too. The Mets (87-67) trail the Los Angeles Dodgers (87-66) by a half-game for the right to host Game 1. The Amazin’s have the tiebreaker if the teams finish even by virtue of winning the season series.