John Smoltz Advises Terry Collins on How to Keep Rotation Healthy for Postseason
- Updated: March 18, 2016
Coming off of a 2015 World Series appearance, expectations for Terry Collins and his New York Mets are high. With the middle infield approved, Céspedes back in the lineup, and the return of Zack Wheeler on the horizon, Collins is at the helm of a team that should make the postseason, and possibly a return trip to the World Series.
With a rotation of Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and eventually Wheeler, keeping the young starters healthy is a major concern. Out of the five, only Noah Syndergaard has yet to have Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately in today’s game, I find myself wondering how long before a pitcher receives the surgery rather than hoping he never gets it at all.
Along with TJ surgery, fatigue tends to be the killer of rotations, especially in the postseason. When you add another month to a season that already spans six months – seven if you include spring training – you end up with an eight month season. Because the Mets rely so heavily on their young rotation, Collins has his work cut out for him.
In the 90’s, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine gave the Atlanta Braves one of the best rotations in baseball. They were the major piece in the Atlanta Braves being able to win 14 consecutive division titles, including a World Series championship in 1995. During this past postseason, John Smoltz and Terry Collins spoke about what made the Braves rotation so special, and how did Bobby Cox go about handling their rotation in order to have them ready for the postseason after the regular season grind. Here’s what Collins had to say about:
The one thing they (Atlanta Braves) realized they had to do in spring training was back off a little bit because they knew they were gonna need it down the road in September and October, and Bobby was kind of easy on him (Smoltz) in the month of April.
Collins also added that he listened and learned from Smoltz’ comments, and is aware of how young arms react during the first season after pitching more innings than they’re used to. They will be cognizant of the situation and monitor it closely, which is already evident being Collins didn’t allow an incumbent starter make an appearance until the Grapefruit League was already 4 games old.
With Zack Wheeler expected to join the team in July, the six-man rotation will most likely be in full effect to help ease Wheeler back into big league baseball, also giving the other starters an extra day off. Hopefully this will be enough to make sure the 2016 postseason is a repeat of 2015 – with a different ending of course.