The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to New York Mets‘ starter Steven Matz. He was coming off a successful 2019 in which he had a 4.21 ERA in 160.1 innings, but this time around, he has battled injuries and ineffectiveness and has an unsightly 9.79 ERA in 26.2 frames. He has had to deal with a left shoulder ailment and his usual first-inning issues.
The left shoulder bursitis that he had in early September clearly limited, and Matz had to travel back and forth between the Mets’ alternate training site and the big league camp in search for answers.
In his first start since August 15 – he had a brief move to the bullpen – Matz was the losing starter for the New York Mets as they got thrashed 15-2 by the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. In 2.2 innings, he conceded six runs, eight hits and three walks.
With the loss, the Mets fell to 23-28, and it is now very difficult to qualify for the postseason with so many teams vying for a Wild Card spot and less than 10 games left in the calendar.
“It always comes down to executing pitches,” Matz said according to MLB.com. “The sharpness wasn’t there. Executing pitches wasn’t there. I gave those guys a chance, and they capitalized.”
“The command hasn’t been there,” manager Luis Rojas said. “The execution of the pitches, the sequencing … made it big innings against him. From the first inning basically, that was happening to him, where he was not able to execute his pitches.”
The Mets expect more from him
With a mid-90s fastball and a big curveball, it is perplexing that Matz can’t get better results. His command issues are just too much to overcome.
“His stuff is one of the things we like a lot — the fastball velo, the changeup, the contrast that he can create, the angle of his pitches,” Rojas said.
“It’s been a frustrating year for me,” Matz said. “I came into Spring Training 2.0. I was feeling great. I pitched great early on. For it to go this way is really frustrating. … I’ve just got to keep working hard. All I can do is keep putting my best foot forward.”