Carroll: Forget Matz, Start Bart

(Neil Miller/Sportday Wire)

Mets manager Terry Collins announced that Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will be his starting pitchers in Games 1 & 2 of the National League Division Series in Los Angeles where they’ll face the Dodgers’ twin aces of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke Friday and Saturday.

It’s hard to argue with the pitching skills of deGrom and Syndergaard but given that it is a best 3-out-of-5 series instead of 4-out-of-7 as both the National League Championship Series and the World Series are, I would have gone with a different tactic if I were Terry Collins.

Why not start the ageless Bartolo Colon who is the only Mets starting pitcher with playoff experience? Even if Bartolo doesn’t have the same fire power that the Mets’ young guns have, you know that he is not going to get rattled by the hoopla and he will eat innings.

With the series starting in Los Angeles, it’s imperative that the Mets come back to Citi Field with at least a split of the first two games. If Kershaw and Greinke outduel deGrom and Syndergaard then not only will the Mets have their backs against the wall but they will have used up some important bullets that they may not be able to get back. Keep in mind that Noah Syndergaard has not been as effective on the road as he has been in Flushing.

Mets rookie southpaw pitcher Steven Matz has certainly looked impressive in his six outings this season but that does not make for a strong body of work. Matz, who endured Tommy John surgery on his left arm five years ago, has been battling back problems for the last few weeks. The Mets, for some unfathomable reason, seem determined to keep him as a viable starting option for Game 4 if one is necessary.

It would seem far more prudent for Matz to miss the Division Series against the Dodgers and be ready to go in the National League Championship Series which will comprise one of those extremely talented teams from the National League Central division. If the Mets fail to reach the next round then they will at least have peace of mind that they didn’t rush Matz back and perhaps risk further physical damage to him.

A cross-country trip may just be the perfect tonic that the Mets need to get over their sluggish last week of the season that was punctuated by a no-hitter thrown by Nats’ ace Max Scherzer. It was the second no-hitter that Scherzer threw this season and it was the second time that the Mets were victims of a no-no this year. That had never happened to the Mets before even during the Casey Stengel era.

The Mets had better find their hitting shoes in LA. They can’t expect their pitching staff to win 1-0 games such as Sunday’s regular season finale.

One of the best hitters in Mets history, as well as being one of the game’s great humanitarians, Rusty Staub, suffered a heart attack on a transcontinental flight back to New York. He is resting comfortably in a hospital in Shannon, Ireland and is thankfully expected to make a speedy and fully recovery.

It was very classy of the Mets players and coaching staff to slowly walk around Citi Field thinking fans for their support following Sunday’s regular season finale.

Once again Tom Coughlin got the best of Rex Ryan as Coughlin’s Giants evened their record at 2-2 beating Ryan’s new team, the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, 24-10.

Ryan’s old team, the Jets, seem to be doing OK without him, as they easily handled the not-very-good Miami Dolphins 27-14 at London’s Wembley Stadium. The Jets would have truly routed their opponents had they not committed a numbing 14 penalties that was a throwback to the Rex era. New head coach Todd Bowles had better make sure that everyone is in sync when Gang Green takes on Washington in two weeks. The Jets historically have always had trouble beating NFC East teams.

The toy industry’s annual media holiday preview, TTPM, took place last week. Playmobil is putting out a set of National Hockey League figurines. Zing and Air Warriors displayed their latest target games that are ideal for eye-hand coordination. Peanuts Worldwide, which controls the licensing rights to all of Charles Schultz’s beloved comic strip characters, was promoting toys associated with the upcoming “Peanuts” movie while Slinky, that classic stair-climbing metal spiral, is celebrating its 70th birthday.

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