If healthy, all signs point to Steven Matz in the postseason rotation
For months, the Mets have stood firm in their stance that Steven Matz would only be a starter for the Mets, and not pitch in relief.
Part of that reasoning, at least that provided by Terry Collins, was Matz’s injury history but also his inexperience pitching in relief.
And while minor, Matz reported to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday feeling a little sore on his right side after a poor night’s sleep on a sofa, leading the Mets to take the conservative approach and scratch him from his scheduled start on Wednesday.
“He said he felt a lot better tonight,” Collins said after Tuesday’s loss. “I talked to him right before the game. Obviously we’ve got to play it safe. He said he got his treatment and really felt good.”
But once again, the manager expressed concerns over Matz’s injuries, and more reluctance to use Matz out of the bullpen.
“There’s history there. That’s why I don’t like him out of the pen. He shows up and something’s stiff or something’s sore, then you can’t use him.”
The Mets do not plan to have Matz audition for a relief role, either.
“He’s such a unique guy,” Collins explained about Matz. “I don’t see a scenario where we could get him work out of the bullpen, to see if he can even get warm.”
Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday experience in the playoff rotation would be preferable, but it’s hard to deny the potential of their four young hurlers in a playoff environment.
“Would you like to have playoff experience? Sure, that would be preference, “Alderson explained. “But would you rather have four horses that throw 95-96-98? That’d be nice, too. Nothing’s ever perfect. And I think we have a lot of confidence in our young guys.”
There’s only one reason Matz should not be in the Mets postseason rotation, and that is if this new back injury lingers to the point he is unable to prepare properly and make the start in game four.
And for now, it doesn’t look like Matz’s injury will be prohibitive, although it’s worth monitoring and playing safe since it can impact the club’s postseason plans.
“We don’t think it’s anything serious,” Alderson said early Tuesday.
If Matz pitches on Thursday, that will ease any concerns over his health, and should eliminate any doubt he will be in the postseason rotation.
Hopefully, a good night’s sleep on Tuesday – along with the treatment he received at the ballpark – was the cure-all.