NEW YORK -- In a significant surprise, the Mets left first baseman Lucas Duda off their roster for Wednesday's National League Wild Card Game against the Giants at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.Duda, who started the bulk of games at first base down the stretch, was not on a roster
NEW YORK -- In a significant surprise, the Mets left first baseman Lucas Duda off their roster for Wednesday's National League Wild Card Game against the Giants at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Duda, who started the bulk of games at first base down the stretch, was not on a roster that included fellow first basemen James Loney, Kelly Johnson and Eric Campbell. Duda hit just .217 with no home runs in September, returning from a four-month absence due to a stress fracture in his lower back. But he is historically one of the Mets' most prolific power hitters, slugging 57 homers in 2014-15.
Loney, one of the Mets' hottest hitters of late, hit .288 with three homers in September -- including one in the playoff clincher on Saturday in Philadelphia. Manager Terry Collins said he started Loney at first base for defense, while leaving Duda off because of his unfamiliarity with pinch-hitting situations.
• Postseason gear
:: NL Wild Card: Giants vs. Mets coverage ::
"One game [against] a left-handed pitcher who is very dominant," Collins said, referring to Giants starter Madison Bumgarner. "I thought we'd play a guy that is certainly an outstanding defender for us, saved a lot of runs for us. I don't care what anybody says. Left or right, [Bumgarner] is not easy to hit, so I thought I'd go with a guy who at least has played 100 games instead of someone who has 10 at-bats. And I talked to Lucas about it. I know he worked very, very hard to get back and get ready, but this is an awful big challenge tonight for a guy that's just been back for 10 days."
A second surprise omission on the postseason roster was left-handed reliever Josh Smoker, one of Collins' most trusted middle-innings specialists. Smoker is off in favor of Josh Edgin, who joins Jerry Blevins in an eight-man bullpen. Collins cited Edgin's superior splits against left-handed hitters as the reason.
Also in Collins' bullpen are starting pitchers Robert Gsellman and Bartolo Colon, who will be in the NL Division Series rotation should the Mets advance. New York carried eight bench players, including Michael Conforto, Ty Kelly, Campbell and Juan Lagares, all of whom were on the roster bubble.
The Mets can and will switch up their roster if they advance to play the Cubs, balancing it for a best-of-five series. Duda will be back on the roster at that time, Collins confirmed, while Colon will start Game 1 of the NLDS if the Mets do not use him in the Wild Card Game. Otherwise, Gsellman will start.
Alejandro De Aza
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.