Although the Mets were atop the NL East for the vast majority of the season, Atlanta charged hard down the stretch and surged past them (via a tiebreaker). They earned their fifth consecutive division crown and also earned a bye past the Wild Card round under this year’s new expanded playoff format. They will now square off against a divisional rival, facing the Phillies in the NLDS. The roster for the series is as follows…
- Jesse Chavez
- Raisel Iglesias
- Kenley Jansen
- Collin McHugh
- Charlie Morton
- Jake Odorizzi
- Jackson Stephens
- Spencer Strider
- Kyle Wright
The most notable name on the list is Strider, as his status was uncertain for the series. His last appearance was September 18, after which he went on the injured list due to a left oblique strain. It seems there’s a chance he could return in the next week, based on his placement on this roster. Jeff Schultz of The Athletic relays word from manager Brian Snitker that the club hasn’t yet decided on a Game 3 starter, with Strider and Morton both under consideration. Yesterday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com said that the club was leaning towards Wright for Game 2.
Prior to landing on the injured list, Strider was enjoying a spectacular rookie season. He started in the bullpen but eventually made his way into the rotation and dominated the whole way. He threw 131 2/3 innings with a 2.67 ERA, 40.3% ground ball rate, 8.5% walk rate and an absurd 38.3% strikeout rate. The club was so impressed that they gave him a six-year, $75MM extension, announced just yesterday.
What role he can play in this series is something that is still to be determined. He is throwing a bullpen today and won’t be an option for relief work in Game 1, per Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. How his body responds to today’s session will likely determine how the club proceeds with regards to Strider’s workload.
As for who is not on the list, the most noteworthy omission is that of Tyler Matzek. Toscano relays that Matzek felt some elbow discomfort recently and is being evaluated in Texas. The southpaw was a key component of the club’s World Series run last year, throwing 15 2/3 innings in the postseason with a 1.72 ERA. In the regular season this year, he posted a 3.50 ERA over 43 2/3 innings. The fact that he’s been left off this roster suggests the club isn’t expecting him back in short order, though he could return to the club down the line if he gets good news in Texas and the club stays alive.