Steven Matz is back, and could be precisely what the Mets need in different ways
Meet the Matz, once again.
Steven Matz is making his first start on Sunday since July 5 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, missing more than two months with a partially torn lat muscle on his left side.
It’s only his third big league start – he’s 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in 13 2/3 innings.
On Sunday, Matz will be replacing Noah Syndergaard in the rotation, who was predictably skipped in an effort to preserve his own innings limit, which is rapidly approaching. He’s thrown 152 innings in 2015 with a set goal of 165-170 innings in 2015.
Manager Terry Collins feels fortunate to have such quality in Matz to be able to replace Syndergaard temporarily in the rotation.
“It certainly makes it easier to give guys a start off when you have somebody like that who can step in and be as good as anybody,” Collins said early Saturday. “It’s nice to know you’ve got Syndergaard and can skip him and get that out of the way, but you’ve got Steven Matz stepping in, who can be very good.”
After this start, Syndergaard will be reinserted into what will form a six-man rotation for the remainder of the regular season.
For a rotation which is struggling, adding a quality arm and lengthening the rotation could be a very healthy injection at this point in the season.
Matz originally had an innings limit of his own which was in the 170-180 range, but his long stint on the disabled list will make it impossible for him to reach that in 2015.
In a way, it could be a blessing in disguise, as the Mets don’t have to be concerned with pulling Matz back in his four remaining starts down the stretch of the season. Of course, he might be limited to 90-100 pitches on Sunday in his first start back. But beyond Sunday, they can probably just reasonably allow him to go as long as he can.
And if he’s as good as he was before getting injured, that may be precisely what the Mets need from the promising left-hander.