Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets Look to Play Wild-Card Hand

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets Look to Play Wild-Card Hand

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - With three games left in the regular season, the Mets control their destiny heading into this final series in Philadelphia. Home-field advantage for the wild card is in reach, and they may be able to align their pitching the way they want for the wild-card game and the NLDS.

Here's a look at the story lines to keep an eye on while the Mets play the Phillies:

SETTING UP THE ROTATION: Mets manager Terry Collins said Bartolo Colon may start tonight to be on regular rest should he need to start the wild-card game, but if the Mets clinch before Sunday they will have their rotation set up as planned for the wild-card game.

Noah Syndergaard would face the Giants or Cardinals on Wednesday, and Colon then would be set for a Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs.

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: Collins would like to secure home-field advantage against the Giants or Cards, but has not said who will start Sunday if the team needs to win in order to host the wild- card game. The Mets could clinch home field before then to make it a moot point.

New York went 2-1 at Citi Field against the Giants this year and 1-2 against St. Louis, but both Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Martinez bested the Mets in Flushing.

"For sure: You play in front of our fans, it's an advantage. They are excited," Collins said. "They are loud, [and] they get after it in the stands. It would be great to play at home."

GAME 2 STARTER? Robert Gsellman will start tonight or Saturday and make his final impression on the coaching staff as it contemplates who will follow Colon against the Cubs -- should the Mets advance that far. Gsellman has better stuff than Seth Lugo and has had more dominant outings, but Lugo has been more consistent.

The Mets would not be in their current position without contributions from both rookies.

"They've pitched so well and there's some credence to the fact - I'm not sure the Cubs have faced these guys," Collins said Wednesday. …

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