We can fast forward past those details. The Yankees, despite their recent swoon, have a 10-game loss column lead on the AL Central-leading Guardians. They may not be able to pull back in front of the Astros for the best record in the league, but they will avoid the wild card round. Same goes for the Mets, who have a nine-game edge over the NL Central-leading Cardinals in the loss column.
That means the local baseball postseason will begin with the ALDS and NLDS. So let’s start talking pitching plans.
The Mets’ approach is pretty simple. They will have Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lined up to pitch Games 1 and 2 on Oct. 11-12. You then figure you can get Game 3 or Game 4 on the road with Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco or Taijuan Walker and get ready for the NLCS.
There is only one off-day during the NLDS. Games 3-5 will be played on Oct. 14-16 if necessary. It’s hard to imagine the Mets will want to chance it with deGrom starting twice in that tight a window. So it likely makes sense to have Scherzer start the opener so he can come back in Game 4 or Game 5 if needed. But the Mets will likely aim to get to the NLCS starting Oct. 18 with deGrom and Scherzer rested and ready to roll in the first two games again.
The Yankees face a wonky layout. Game 1 of the ALDS is Oct. 11. Then an off-day, then Game 2, then another off-day, then Games 3-5 on Oct. 15-17. In theory, Gerrit Cole could pitch the opener and then come back in Game 3 on short rest. It’s hard to imagine the Yankees would do that. But they could. They seem to want to go Cole-Frankie Montas-Nestor Cortes in that order. Flip a coin between Luis Severino and Jameson Taillon in Game 4 and Cole gets Game 5. But do you want Montas starting Game 1 of the ALCS on Oct. 19 if the Yankees actually get there? We wouldn’t. That’s why Cortes should get Game 2.
Other notes. The last five games of a seven-game ALCS and/or NLCS will be played on consecutive days. Which is a move considering the odds are high the Mets and Dodgers are going to have to fly across the country without a travel day. The AL will likely face similar travel headaches. … The World Series almost completely avoids the NFL with scheduled off days on Sunday, Oct. 30 and Thursday, Nov. 3. Game 3 will go up against Monday Night Football, but Bengals-Browns isn’t that formidable a foil. … Game 7 of the World Series on Nov. 5? That’s late. But that’s what happens when there is a lockout.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]