Now that Steven Matz is a little banged up his status to start int he NLDS for the New York Mets is up in the air. Here’s why he needs to.
By David Hong
The New York Mets scratched rookie starter Steven Matz from his start on Wednesday and Thursday due to discomfort in his back from sleeping.
That could put his status for the NLDS in doubt. Matz is scheduled to be the fourth starter in the NLDS behind Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey (everybody believes).
Matz said that he felt better on Thursday and if his back improves, manager Terry Collins is considering putting Matz in a relief appearance either Saturday or Sunday. If Matz is put in, he would be expected to pitch at least five or six innings since Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, who’s scheduled to pitch on Saturday and Sunday respectively, would only throw approximately 60 pitches each.
Putting Matz in the NLDS could be a risk for the Mets. If he gets injured during the NLDS, he would not be eligible for the NLCS, should the Mets advance.
So should the Mets scratch Matz from the NLDS roster, Bartolo Colon would probably get the nod.
Lets hope Matz would be ready for the NLDS, because I believe he will be an upgrade over Colon.
Don’t get me wrong, Colon has had a fantastic year, especially for his age where a lot of power pitchers are usually done. He’s won double digit games and was the most consistent starter down the stretch.
But Steven Matz is one of the Mets bright young pitching stars to go along with deGrom, Syndergaard and Harvey. He was labeled as one of the Mets Big-4 for a reason. Matz may have missed most of this season with injuries, but when he’s pitched, he’s showed a lot. Overall, Matz is 4-0 with a ERA of 2.27. Like the other three, Matz also throws hard with a fastball ranging from the mid to upper 90s and has multiple other pitches too. So just like the other 3, Matz also provides some intimidation on the mound with his power arm.
Matz will also be the lone lefty starter if he gets in. deGrom, Harvey and Thor are all righties. It might not matter much because of how effective they all can. But it’s always good to mix and match with righties and lefties in the rotation, just like it’s good to do the same with the bullpen with righties and lefties. Which is why the Mets are looking at putting fellow lefty Jon Niese in the bullpen, in order to get ready to get an opposing big lefty hitter out.
Colon has had an encouraging year and proved how effective he can still be with only one pitch. Plus he does have more experience, but Colon has had stretches during the middle of the season, when he got rocked at times and when he pitched bad, he was really bad. Sure, Colon has pitched much better and more consistently in from late August to September, but you just never know with his age (43 years old) and the fact he mainly only throws one pitch.
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Matz in the meantime, is a rising star who definitely has the potential to be even better. So far in the start of his career, he hasn’t had a terrible start and he’s had some great starts where he showed what he can really do, like we saw in his first two starts before heading into the DL. Even though he’s only 24 years old, he’s shown a lot more poise than what you usually see from a rookie. I believe him pitching in these September starts, especially the Subway Series start vs the Yankees at packed Citi Field would help him get ready for pressure packed October baseball. That start against the Yankees for example, he got off to a bad start, giving up a run in the first inning and didn’t have his best command. But he gutted it out, got out of several jams and after giving up the first inning run, he didn’t give up any more runs for the rest of the way and threw six strong innings and got the big win. That start alone led me to believe he is more equipped and ready for October playoff baseball than most people would expect from him.
So basically with his youth, nastier stuff, and a poise already shown, Matz should still get the nod as the 4th starter, assuming he’s healthy and physically ready to go. Lets hope he does get healthier. The Mets would bring out their present and also their future in their NLDS rotation and it could be there for a long time.