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Game 1 result will ‘have some bearing’ Mets’ Game 2 starter vs. Padres in Jacob deGrom or Chris Bassitt

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Jacob deGrom Mets
Jacob deGrom (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Mets manager Buck Showalter is rightfully keeping his cards close to the vest when it comes to the plans of his starting rotation beyond Max Scherzer getting the ball in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series, beginning Friday night. 

Waiting in the stable for Game 2 for the Mets is either Jacob deGrom or Chris Bassitt — though it’s unclear on who gets the ball for that Saturday night affair.

“We know what we’re planning to do but some things are dictated by [the result of Game 1],” Showalter said on Thursday. “The Game 2 starter could be dictated by how we do tomorrow night. It could be similar to what San Diego is doing.”

There are multiple routes Showalter could pursue for Game 2. If the Mets win, they could give Bassitt the ball and keep deGrom fresh for the potential of a series sweep so he can start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

If the Mets drop Game 1 to Yu Darvish — who has owned the Mets throughout his career — and the Padres, the decision to start deGrom to keep their season alive becomes much easier. 

Of course, Showalter could also try to finish the series as quickly as possible should the Mets win Game 1 and bring in deGrom. That would mean a combined five Cy Young Awards would be toeing the rubber for New York in Queens during the first two games of the Wild Card Series. 

“The focus is completely on [Game 1] but when you’re doing rosters and stuff without jeopardizing putting your best foot forward in the next three games, you do have to at least consider that,” Showalter said. “Everybody does. The tiebreaker will always be what’s best for these three games.”

Chris Bassitt Mets
Chris Bassitt (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

What makes this an even more appealing decision by Showalter is the different paths and philosophies of deGrom and Bassitt. 

The two-time Cy Young winner deGrom missed the first four months of the season due to injury to make 11 starts this season. What originally looked like vintage deGrom quickly descended into concern by posting a 6.00 ERA over his final four starts of the regular season. 

It bumped his 2022 season ERA to a 3.08 — star-worthy for most pitchers not named deGrom, who boasted a 1.94 ERA from 2018-2021 — though he still struck out 102 batters with a sterling 0.746 WHIP in 64.1 innings pitched.

Compare that to Bassitt, who struck out just 65 more batters in 117.1 more innings. But the Mets’ bulldog of the rotation has made his M.O. clear from the beginning: Go after opposing batters, eat up innings, and work around traffic. 

He’s done that effectively enough with a 3.42 season ERA and 15-9 record.

It’s important to note, however, that this current game of speculative see-saw between deGrom and Bassitt is for those outside the Mets clubhouse to pick apart. 

“They know [the plan]. We talked about this a week ago, at least,” Showalter said. “They’ve been aware for a long time where it falls… They know the order and how it may fluctuate. It’s kind of been a strength of our club. Our guys don’t let their egos get in the way of it. Tell me when I can contribute to the club and I will.”

For more on the Mets, Jacob deGrom, and Chris Bassitt, visit AMNY.com

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