TAMPA — The Mets’ fifth starter battle between Steven Matz and Michael Wacha could result in one of them winning, both of them kind of winning or neither of them winning.
For now the Mets’ public stance is that they will not announce pitching roles until later in spring. Why do it now when injury or performance in the next few weeks could make decisions for them?
But among the options they are internally discussing, The Post has learned, is using that fifth spot to match up best against each specific opponent. The determination would be does the lefty Matz or the righty Wacha match up best to start. Or the Mets would use Robert Gsellman or maybe even Seth Lugo as a one- or two-inning opener should the Mets conclude that is the best course. In that situation the opener would be followed by Matz or Wacha for bulk innings.
With three off days in the first 12 days of a season that begins March 26, the Mets will need to pick who goes in the fifth spot just once before April 11. After that?
The Mets are hoping they are in position to have to decide because it would indicate the full health of their key pitchers and success in spring training.