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Mets' manager Terry Collins facing tough decisions with postseason bullpen

There are lots of pitchers for relatively few roster spots and at least two starters without a role in the rotation.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With all the talk about innings limits and extra rest for his starting pitchers heading into the playoffs, Terry Collins will have at least one less worry when it comes to determining who his bullpen will be when the Mets play in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday, October 9.

Not only did the Mets' bullpen have the fewest innings pitched in the National League (436.2) before Saturday's division-clinching game with the Cincinnati Reds, but the Mets will not play more than two consecutive days in the NLDS, so relievers could potentially pitch in every game.

But which relievers will be on the 25-man roster come October 9? Will any pitchers primarily used as starters in the regular season become relievers for the postseason?

Collins has remained open to turning starters Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese into relievers for the postseason, starting with a test run this week when the Mets play on the road against the Phillies.

It's very possible that could happen. Until we get there, I haven't talked to those guys. I don't need them to go to their phones and see that they're going to the bullpen... I'm just going to let it ride, but there's a possibility we
might alter some things.

The questions for Collins won't end there. Who will pitch eighth innings of close games? Is Tyler Clippard, who has a 6.94 ERA in his first 11 appearances this month, still the man? Has Addison Reed, who's yet to allow an earned run in 12.2 innings so far this month, clipped Clippard?

What about the sixth- and seventh-inning roles? Has Erik Goeddel, with a 2.64 season ERA but a 4.70 ERA in his first 7.2 innings this month been consistent enough of late to lock up a spot, or will Hansel Robles, with a 3.42 season ERA but just a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings so far this month be Collins's choice?

Then, there are the bits-and-pieces relievers: Sean Gilmartin, Carlos Torres, Logan Verrett, just to name a few. Collins won't have the room to carry all of them to the NLDS with him, and the wrong decision could cost the Mets a chance at the pennant and world championship.