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Mets should trust Robert Gsellman over Seth Lugo

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Sep 30, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman (65) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman (65) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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Gsellman and Lugo have both been great, but one stands out over the other

The Mets are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. If they do– and advance to the NLDS — things will get interesting with their starting rotation.

Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo have stepped up while filling in for Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. It’s Gsellman, though, who the team should trust more.

A likely scenario if the Mets make it to the NLDS is Bartolo Colon starting Game 1 in Chicago against the Cubs and Noah Syndergaard starting Game 3 at Citi Field. If that happens, it should be Gsellman who starts Game 2.

A look at some of the numbers on the surface…

  • Gsellman has a 2.42 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 15 walks and 42 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.
  • Lugo has a 2.67 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 21 walks and 45 strikeouts in 64 innings.

A look at some of the deeper numbers…

  • Gsellman’s FIP is 2.63, while Lugo’s is 4.33 — suggesting the results Lugo has been getting are much less sustainable.
  • Gsellman has struck out 8.46 batters per nine, while Lugo has struck out 6.33 per nine.
  • Gsellman’s ground ball rate is 54.2 percent, while Lugo’s is 42.8 percent.
  • The BABIP against Gsellman is .325, while it’s just .230 against Lugo, who has a much better ground ball rate and a similar line drive rate to Lugo. That suggests Gsellman has been unlucky when it comes to balls in play turning into hits.

In addition to the above, Gsellman simply has better stuff than Lugo. Gsellman’s fastball averages 93.7, while Lugo’s averages 92.2, and Gsellman is in the mid-90s with it far more often. Gsellman’s slider is also better than Lugo’s.

Next: Mets can clinch Wild Card and home field Saturday

The Mets will likely have a steep hill to climb without Matt Harvey, deGrom, and Matz should they advance to the NLDS and beyond. But the presence of Gsellman should help offset that a bit.

And while this doesn’t take anything away from how important Lugo has been, it should be Gsellman who’s ahead of him on the depth chart when it comes to starting important games in October.

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