By: Paul DiSclafani
After rejoining the team for the first time since July 5th, ESPN reports the Mets will start local hero Steven Matz on Saturday for Noah Syndergaard against the Miami Marlins and then take a spot in a six man rotation for the rest of the regular season.
In two appearances for the Mets, the Stony Brook native was 2-0, giving up just 2 runs in 13.2 innings (1.32 ERA) on just 7 hits. He also contributed 3 hits in 6 AB’s at the plate with 5 RBI. Matz last pitched in the majors on July 5th against the Dodgers (6 IP, 0R, 2H) before being put on the DL with a strained left lat muscle.
“I definitely want to pick up where I left off,” Matz said. “I was a little worried about having the time off with my sharpness, but I feel like I was able to get that back during my rehab stint.”
The question is, where does he fit in if the Mets make the playoffs? Between Syndergaard, Matz and Jonathan Niese, one of them is going to have to end up in the bullpen. The most likely candidate might be Syndergaard, but Terry Collins has not made any decisions. Matz would be a much-needed lefty out of the pen.
Matz is just happy to be back after a number of rehab assignments in AA Binghamton. In his last rehab start, he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings of one-hit ball. “It’s going to be my first start back coming here shortly,” he said. “I’m just going to take it day by day, week by week, start by start and go from there, and then let the rest kind of fall into place.”
Syndergaard has already pitched more innings this season than last year and the Mets have indicated that they would like to start limiting his numbers the rest of the way. But Matz is best suited as a starter and has pitched in relief only once in AAA. He does not have a lot of experience getting warmed up quickly.
The Mets hope that by implementing a six man rotation in September, they will be able to limit the innings for Syndergaard and Matt Harvey (who was skipped a start in Colorado on August 23), but have not ruled out skipping either one of them again in September. Now that the rosters have expanded, the Mets will consider giving Logan Verrett another start or two.