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Mets Morning News: Let the the interviews begin

Your Saturday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

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MLB: MAY 15 Yankees at Mets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Meet the Mets

The Mets quietly began their interviews on Thursday, kicking things off with Carlos Beltran.

Meanwhile, Joe Girardi will interview with the club for the managerial opening next week.

Brodie Van Wagenen is also expected to hold some preliminary phone interviews with candidates during the search.

Curt Schilling praised the Mets’ pitching staff, saying that it would be a “dream to coach” and calling it a “staff of young power arms almost unmatched”. No thank you. debuted a series of exit interviews with individual Mets player, which will run every Friday through Thanksgiving. The first one featured Jacob deGrom, who spoke about his growing legacy with the franchise.

Marcus Stroman took to Twitter to announce that he will not wear number 7 next season out of respect for Jose Reyes, stating he doesn’t “feel right wearing his number because of the incredible career he had in a Mets uniform”. Stroman did not divulge which number he would be wearing in 2020.

Watch the official trailer for “Seaver”, a new film about The Franchise that premieres on FOX on October 13. The film is produced and narrated by Edward Burns.

When it comes to the Mets and free agency, the question on everybody’s mind is, “How much money does the team have to spend, exactly?”, or something along those lines. Tim Britton of The Athletic broke down where the team stands financially as they enter what will be a pivotal offseason for the franchise. (paywall alert)

Around the National League East

The Washington Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the NLCS, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 at Busch Stadium last night. Anibal Sanchez came within four outs of becoming just the third pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter, but pinch hitter Jose Martinez broke it up with a single to center with two outs in the eighth. Sean Doolittle entered to retire the final four batters and close out the victory.

Sanchez reminded the world that he’s more than just the Nationals’ “other starter” with his masterful Game 1 performance. (paywall alert)

By defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, the Nationals flipped the script proved that they could be clutch after years of failing to advance in the postseason. They are now matched up with a Cardinals team that has played in 10 of the last 20 NLCS.

Leading up to tonight’s Game 1, Sports Illustrated looked at three questions that will define this series.

The Philadelphia Phillies fired Gabe Kapler on Thursday afternoon in a move that Michael Baumann calls “overdue”.

Phillies Owner John Middleton, Club President Andy MacPhail, and GM Matt Klentak held an almost hour-long press conference on Friday at Citizens Bank Park to discuss the Kapler firing. Here are some key takeaways from the event.

Around Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball issued a statement on the baseballs being used in the postseason, saying they are from the same batch of balls used during the regular season with a special stamp added. Fangraphs examined this issue earlier this week.

For the first time ever, the value of a qualifying offer has dropped. Any player who accepts a qualifying offer this offseason will receive a one year, $17.8 million contract. That number stood at $17.9 million last year.

The New York Yankees and Houston Astros begin what should be an epic ALCS tonight at Minute Maid Park. Lindsey Adler takes a look at the Yankees’ strategy during their three-game ALDS sweep and what it means going forward. (Paywall alert)

The Yankees have a script that they hope they will be able to follow against the Astros in the ALCS.

Aaron Hicks, who missed the first seven weeks of the season and hasn’t appeared in a game since August 3, is healthy and expected to return for the ALCS. Ken Davidoff examines how exactly the Yankees should handle the situation with their outfielder.

Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch laid out his pitching rotation for the first three games of the series. Zack Greinke will kick things off in Game 1, with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole following on regular rest.

The Yankees will counter to Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1, James Paxton in Game 2, and Luis Severino in Game 3.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Kory Powell shared his season review for Zack Wheeler, who was mostly reliable in what could very well be his final season with the team.

Steve Sypa kicked off his series of the 11 best Mets minor league pitchers he saw this year, beginning with Josh Hejka. The right-hander split his time between the Kingsport Mets and the Brooklyn Cylones in 2019.

This Date in Mets History

On this date in 2015, Citi Field hosted its very first postseason game as the Mets took on the Dodgers. Two nights after Chase Utley broke Ruben Tejada’s leg with a vicious, dirty slide, Tejada joined his club for the pre-game introductions and received a raucous ovation from the hometown crowd. In the game itself, the Dodgers jumped all over Matt Harvey in the second and took a 3-0 lead, but the Mets responded with four in the bottom of the frame. New York added some breathing room in the third on a Travis d’Arnaud two-run homer and broke it open with four more in the fourth. The big blast came courtesy of Yoenis Cespedes, who belted a three-run dinger to make it 10-3 and unleashed an unforgettable bat flip as Citi Field was whipped up into a frenzy. The Mets cruised to a 13-7 victory and took the lead in the series, which they would go on to win in five.