In three days, the Mets will play Game 1 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. While there was a report yesterday from ESPN's Buster Olney that suggested the team had set its rotation for the series, Terry Collins told the press that the team hadn't yet decided who should start when. He made it sound like the team would choose between Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom for Game 1.
In a best-of-seven series, scheduling can be incredibly important. Maximizing the number of times a team's best pitchers can reasonably pitch within a series is ideal, and the fact that the Mets swept the Cubs in the NLCS allows the to line up their pitchers however they'd like. All four of the postseason starters would be on more than full rest for Game 1.
Mapping out the series is really the distinguishing factor here. Harvey and deGrom have both been excellent, both over the course of the regular season and postseason.
Here, then, is a quick look at the rest between starts within the World Series—assuming no games are postponed.
|Days rest between||Game 2||Game 3||Game 4||Game 5||Game 6||Game 7|
The Game 1 starter could at least theoretically start three times in the World Series, but doing so would require pitching Games 4 and 7 on three days' rest. Even though Harvey has continued to pitch in the postseason after all of the innings drama that came up in September, it's tough to see that schedule working for him. Of course, Olney's report suggested the Mets would start Harvey in Game 3, in which case he would only be available again on short rest in Game 6 or full rest in Game 7.
The Mets have the luxury of also having Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in their rotation, which makes all of this a bit easier. And Syndergaard is the one playoff starter who has also made an appearance out of the bullpen during this postseason run—an outstanding inning against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS. And Syndergaard's numbers in the postseason—13 innings, 2.77 ERA, 1.44 FIP—and a very good regular season would probably support a Game 1 start for him, too, on most playoff rosters.
Whatever the Mets decide, there doesn't seem to be a wrong answer here.