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Seth Lugo bounces back as Mets keep slim playoff hopes alive

At this point, the Mets’ 2021 rotation consists of two pitchers, Jacob deGrom and David Peterson, who have earned their way into it based on merit. After that is anyone’s guess.

A significant part of the equation will depend upon whether the front office views Seth Lugo as a starter or a reliever following his month-long foray into the rotation. Certainly, Lugo wants to start; he’s made that clear. And he did a fine job of stating his case on Tuesday, pitching effectively into the seventh inning of the Mets’ 5-2 win over the Rays at Citi Field.

The victory kept the Mets’ slim postseason hopes alive, ensuring they cannot be eliminated until at least Thursday. They could still make the playoffs if they win every one of their remaining games, though at this point, even that might not be enough.

For Lugo, the performance gave the Mets something worth considering as they head into the offseason. For two years, the team resisted moving Lugo out of the bullpen, believing him to be too valuable as a multi-inning fireman capable of pitching in the highest-leverage spots. Lugo did excel in that role, but believed he could do more to help the Mets as a starter.

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