NEW YORK -- Sunday marks the final regular-season home game of 2016 at Citi Field. But is it the final game at the ballpark this year ... period?
With exactly one week remaining in the regular season, the New York Mets (82-73) and San Francisco Giants (82-73) are tied for the National League’s wild-card spots, with the St. Louis Cardinals (81-73) only a half-game behind.
The Mets then wrap up the regular season with three games apiece at Miami and Philadelphia.
The Washington Nationals, by the way, clinched the NL East with their victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Mets’ loss on Saturday. At least the Nats had to wait to celebrate at PNC Park because of the uncertainty over the Mets’ outcome. The Mets-Phillies game didn’t end until just before 11 p.m. ET.
“We got too far behind,” Terry Collins said about the Nats clinching the division. “They were going to clinch it sooner or later.”
Said ex-Met Daniel Murphy to Washington reporters after watching the conclusion of the Mets game: "I don't know if I've ever rooted for the Phillies so hard."
SUNDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
The game nearly ended magically, but the Mets’ patchwork starting-pitching staff stumbled Saturday. Sean Gilmartin, making a spot start with Noah Syndergaard recovering from strep throat, got knocked out with two outs in the first inning. Gilmartin and Rafael Montero ultimately combined to surrender 10 runs. The Mets, in an early 10-0 hole, then made it interesting despite pulling four starting position players. They brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth before losing to the Phillies, 10-8. Jay Bruce snapped an 0-for-15 drought with a pinch-hit solo homer in the final frame that pulled the Mets within two runs. Michael Mariot then walked Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto, but Lucas Duda popped out and Travis d'Arnaud grounded out to end it. The largest comeback in franchise history remains overcoming an eight-run deficit in an 11-8 win at Houston on Sept. 2, 1972. The Mets, by the way, have used 23 pitchers in the series -- a franchise record for most pitchers used in a three-game stretch. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
Syndergaard will rejoin the rotation Tuesday in Miami. That means Bartolo Colon and then Syndergaard are lined up to pitch the final two days of the regular season in Philadelphia, if necessary. Syndergaard could be held back for the Oct. 5 wild-card game if the Mets clinch before the final day of the regular season. If it goes down to the final day of the regular season and the Mets qualify, the Mets would have to decide whether to use Colon on short rest in the wild-card game or use a rookie instead. The good news: Colon and Syndergaard will combine to pitch four of the Mets’ final six regular-season games, if necessary.
Syndergaard needs to carry the Mets to the postseason, columnist Kevin Kernan writes in the Post.
Building a rotation that can stay healthy and intact for a prolonged period is supremely challenging, columnist Joel Sherman writes in the Post.
Jacob deGrom, who already has rejoined his teammates, said doctors believe Wednesday’s surgery to remove a compressed nerve in his pitching elbow was a success. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.
If Steven Matz (shoulder impingement) contributes in the postseason, the best-case scenario appears a relief role.
Lloyd Carroll in the Queens Chronicle advocates bringing Colon back in 2017.
BIRTHDAYS: David Weathers turns 47. ... Argenis Reyes is 34. ... Bill Hepler is 71. ... Colton Plaia is 26.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
@AdamRubinESPN I can be ready by Tuesday— dan haren (@ithrow88) September 24, 2016
YOU’RE UP: Would you use Colon on short rest in the wild-card game over Lugo or Gsellman if Syndergaard is needed on the final day of the regular season?