Morning Briefing: It's now or never for Mets

NEW YORK -- Is this the final day of the New York Mets’ season? Or will they be boarding a flight postgame bound for Chicago and a division series?

Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60 ERA) opposes San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.74) in Wednesday’s 8:09 p.m. ET wild-card game at Citi Field, which will be televised by ESPN.

Terry Collins did not disclose his lineup Tuesday, but it is projected to be:

Jose Reyes, 3B

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Yoenis Cespedes, LF

Curtis Granderson, CF

Jay Bruce, RF

T.J. Rivera, 2B

James Loney, 1B

Rene Rivera, C

Syndergaard, RHP


  • Steven Matz had what was described as a “massive” bone spur removed from his pitching elbow on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Matz also had a platelet-rich-plasma injection in his left shoulder, which had been hampered by an impingement. He is expected to fully recover before spring training. Read more in Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Tim Tebow will begin playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League next Tuesday. He hit .286 (4-for-14) with a homer, two RBIs and two walks in three instructional-league games. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday and at NJ.com.

  • Loney is expected to start at first base because Lucas Duda is not sharp enough yet after missing four months of the season, and because Loney’s experience against Bumgarner may aid against the southpaw’s funky delivery. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • If the Mets advance, they are now leaning toward using Robert Gsellman in Game 1 and Bartolo Colon in Game 2 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Post's Mike Puma reports.

  • Left-hander Anthony Kay, the 31st overall pick in the draft in June out of Ward Melville High on Long Island, underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday. The Mets had drafted Kay with an existing elbow issue.

  • Fred Wilpon watched batting practice Tuesday but declined to speak with the media. “I have made a decision -- you guys don’t like, I get it -- I want the face of the organization to be Sandy [Alderson] and Terry [Collins],” Wilpon said, according to Steven Marcus in Newsday. “I don’t want Jeff [Wilpon] to be the face. And I don’t want to be the face. I don’t want to start, because I know you’ll ask me other questions. I don’t want to do it.”

  • T.J. Rivera will commute 15 minutes from his childhood home in the Bronx to Citi Field for the wild-card game. “It’s crazy,” Rivera said. “It’s a weird feeling waking up and saying, ‘I’m going to play a baseball game at Citi Field.’ It used to be, ‘Mom, bring me to the park. I’ve got a game tomorrow.’” Read more in the Post.

  • Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post compares Tom Seaver and Syndergaard. Writes Vaccaro: “Seaver in ’73 was by far a more established pitcher than Syndergaard is today, but he was for that batch of miracle workers what Syndergaard is for these Mets: the emotional core around which they are built. Seaver had that designation, essentially, from Day 1 as a Met; Syndergaard has had to climb over O.R. tables and MRI tubes belonging to Matt Harvey and [Jacob] deGrom to get here.”

  • Puma in the Post offers a position-by-position comparison of the Mets and Giants. He gives San Francisco the edge in starting pitcher and manager.

  • David Wright has rejoined his teammates after spending recent weeks in Los Angeles rehabbing. Wright deflected any questions about himself except to suggest he’s progressing fine from surgery to repair a ruptured disk in his neck. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Cespedes closed the regular season in a 3-for-24 rut. He nonetheless is “locked in” entering the wild-card game, assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler tells Kevin Kernan in the Post. Read more from Cespedes in Newsday.

  • San Francisco third baseman Eduardo Nunez, who was sidelined to close the regular season because of a hamstring injury, is unlikely to contribute in the wild-card game, ESPN’s Marly Rivera reports. He had 40 steals this season between the Minnesota Twins and Giants, so it's fortunate Syndergaard, who is susceptible to the run, may not have to contend with him.

  • Howie Kussoy in the Post suggests Bruce’s Mets tenure will be defined by his performance Wednesday.

  • Dan Martin in the Post catches up with Bobby Jones to reflect about his one-hit shutout for the Mets in Game 4 of the 2000 NLDS against the Giants at Shea Stadium.

  • Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post asks Jonny Gomes and Justin Ruggiano about how to approach Bumgarner. The duo is a combined 13-for-24 with five homers against the ace.

  • Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record previews Syndergaard-versus-Bumgarner. Read more on Syndergaard in the Times, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.

  • Ken Davidoff in the Post traces the events that resulted in Reyes starting at third base for the Mets in the wild-card game. Read more on Reyes' legal issue in the Daily News.

  • Henry Schulman in the San Francisco Chronicle and Mark Feinsand in the Daily News look at Bumgarner’s postseason success. Read more on Bumgarner in Newsday.

  • Jon Lester will pitch Game 1 of the division series for the Cubs on Friday -- against the Mets or Giants.

  • James Wagner in the Times profiles Josh Smoker.

  • Columnist John Harper in the Daily News catches up with Jeurys Familia on the eve of the postseason.

  • Neil Best in Newsday chats with Jessica Mendoza, who is part of the ESPN crew for the Mets-Giants game.

  • Read more on Granderson in Newsday.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report looks at five keys to the wild-card game.

BIRTHDAYS: Rey Sanchez turns 49. ... Brent Gaff is 58.


YOU’RE UP: What will be the final score of the Mets-Giants game?