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Gsellman ascending ranks of Mets' rotation

Rookie fanned eight, kept Phillies scoreless over seven innings in best start of career
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Should the Mets accomplish what they intend to over the season's final week, then win a National League Wild Card game over the Giants or Cardinals, they will proceed into the NL Division Series with a broken rotation. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, three of their top four starters heading into the season, will all be unavailable due to injury.

That ensures rookies Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman will both have rotation spots -- a thought that is no longer particularly sobering to the Mets. Gsellman on Sunday struck out a season-high eight in the best outing of his young career, blanking the Phillies for seven innings of a 17-0 win at Citi Field. He also notched his first big league hit.

Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- Should the Mets accomplish what they intend to over the season's final week, then win a National League Wild Card game over the Giants or Cardinals, they will proceed into the NL Division Series with a broken rotation. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, three of their top four starters heading into the season, will all be unavailable due to injury.

That ensures rookies Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman will both have rotation spots -- a thought that is no longer particularly sobering to the Mets. Gsellman on Sunday struck out a season-high eight in the best outing of his young career, blanking the Phillies for seven innings of a 17-0 win at Citi Field. He also notched his first big league hit.

Full Game Coverage

"It kind of came pretty fast," Gsellman said of his ascension. "I'm definitely having fun so far."

Video: PHI@NYM: Gsellman singles on a bunt for first MLB hit

He should be. Retiring 16 of the final 18 batters he faced in Sunday's game, Gsellman overcame the one weakness he had displayed over his first five starts: a propensity for allowing significant damage his third trip through the batting order. This time, Gsellman relied not just on his signature sinker, but also his curveball to induce grounder after grounder from Phillies hitters.

If Gsellman had enough innings to qualify, he would rank in the top 15 in baseball in ground-ball rate, thanks in large part to the sinker that he throws as fast as 96 mph. His 2.56 ERA would rank third.

"He throws it pretty hard," Mets manager Terry Collins said of the sinker. "It's just got late life to it, so it's really hard to keep the barrel through the baseball, because it's just continually moving."

Gsellman will start once more in the regular season, on Friday against the Phillies. And if the Mets need to use both Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard that series simply to clinch a playoff spot, there's a real chance Gsellman would start the NL Wild Card Game.

When asked about whether he could have envisioned that in April, starting the season as organizational depth behind one of the game's best starting staffs, Gsellman hesitated. He called it a difficult question to answer.

But however unorthodox his path may have been, Gsellman is part of what the Mets are doing now. More than that, he'll be a critical factor determining how much they succeed over the next month.

"We've got a six-game season now," Collins said. "Hopefully we get to the postseason. And he's got to be a part of it."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Mets, Robert Gsellman