NEW YORK -- Before the Mets' final Citi Field workout in advance of the World Series, manager Terry Collins called Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz into his office to explain that they would all appear in the rotation, in that order. He then turned to Harvey, who will start Game 1 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. game time).
Said Collins, later in the day: "That's the only guy I know. I know his persona's something else, but that's the only guy I know."
The guy Collins knows is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA this postseason, after going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in the regular season. It is with plenty of drama as a backdrop that Harvey will pitch Game 1 in Kansas City, two years and five days removed from Tommy John surgery.
Given the choice between him and deGrom for Game 1, the Mets selected Harvey due to deGrom's apparent fatigue in his past two starts. Harvey has shown no such symptoms despite a career-high innings total.
"I thought Jake could use an extra day," Collins said. "We see the benefits of how he pitches when he's a little bit better-rested this time of year. So we like that, and we like the fact that Noah's going to be here at home. One of the discussions was that you go into Kansas City, they're a great club, they play very well in their park. Well, we're going to run two very good pitchers at them and hopefully get one, if not two. We just thought it set up good that way and the extra rest for Jake would help."
This is the first time all postseason the Mets have truly had a choice in their rotation order. In the National League Division Series, they wanted to limit Harvey to one start, making him the obvious selection for Game 3 and deGrom the favorite for Game 1. In the NL Championship Series, neither deGrom nor Syndergaard were rested enough to pitch Game 1.
The World Series is different. Every Mets starter will have extra rest heading into Games 1 and 2, freeing the club to align things exactly as they want.
"We like going into Kansas City with our [No.] 1 and 2 guys," Collins said. "Noah's pitched great at home. We thought that's a good mix."
deGrom managed to win all three of his postseason starts despite struggling early in NLDS Game 5 and NLCS Game 3. He was the Mets' most consistent pitcher during the regular season, making his first All-Star team and finishing 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA. Syndergaard was strong in NLDS Game 2 despite taking the loss, and he has gone 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA overall this postseason. Matz, meanwhile, has made two of his eight career starts this postseason, going 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA.
Should the World Series extend beyond four games, the Mets will continue with a straight four-man rotation. Harvey would pitch Game 5, deGrom would start Game 6 and Syndergaard would pitch Game 7, with Harvey and others available in relief after they make their final scheduled start. Though all three of them have blasted well beyond their previous career-high innings totals this October, the Mets feel that only deGrom has shown significant signs of fatigue. And they are confident deGrom will shed that fatigue in Game 2, based upon how well he pitched in late September and early October given extra rest.
The Mets are confident in all their pitchers, despite the differences between them.
"They may carry themselves a little differently, but when they're on that slab, they're pretty much the same," Collins said. "They are extremely competitive. None of them give in. And I think they feed off one another, to be honest, because they're very, very similar in their makeups when they're pitching."