It was fun to watch the New York Mets play a meaningful September game. Maybe next year they’ll be in one for their own benefit.
Manager Terry Collins said prior to the game the Mets could benefit just by playing a team with something on the line.
“It will be an education for our young players,’’ Collins said of this series with the Cincinnati Reds. “It will be fun to watch. We’ll see how we react. The pressure is on them. We’ll see how our guys measure up.’’
They measured up well in tonight’s 3-2 10-inning loss at Cincinnati, with a couple of nuggets worthy of a look.
The first was Aaron Harang, who gave up two runs in six innings. By definition, that was a quality start, but there was nothing good about the six walks.
However, what Harang demonstrated was an ability to work out of trouble, which is something to look for in a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.
Harang should be invited to spring training to compete for a spot in the rotation.
Assuming Matt Harvey won’t be ready for the start of spring training, the Mets have three starters in Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee. That leaves Harang competing for the fourth spot with the fifth spot wide open.
Should Harvey be ready, Harang would be competing for the fifth spot. Harvey opted to rehab his elbow and eschew surgery for now. Part of that rehab could be to test the elbow in the Arizona Fall League, as it would enable him to throw at game speed.
The Fall League is advantageous to the Mets in finding out about Harvey. Throwing on flat ground or in the bullpen does not test the elbow as facing hitters. Of course, Harvey won’t pitch in Arizona if he feels any discomfort in his elbow.
Something else to consider as they prepare their offseason moves is reliever David Aardsma, who pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.
The Mets, as in what has been a winter tradition in the past four years, will be attempting to build a bullpen. Aardsma has been effective in stretches this season, and tonight was another example.
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