McDonald: Remember Matz Is Still A Rookie

Remember when everyone was saying this may be the greatest starting staff of all time?

Well, you may want to hold off on that.

After a week and change, Matt Harvey is 0-2, Jacob deGrom has a lat injury, and Steven Matz got his rear end kicked around by the Marlins tonight.

Of the Big Four, only Noah Syndergaard came in as advertised and we will wait to see how he looks Tuesday night when Thor faces off with Jose Fernandez.

But back to Matz, tonight’s big disappointment, he lasted only 1 2/3 of an inning giving up seven earned runs on six hits. He looked good in the first inning and then forget it.

“In the second inning, he lost the feel for any pitch,” said manager Terry Collins. “He didn’t make any pitches he needed. One of the things we try to stress here is when it’s not working, he’s got to pitch and he has to use his pitches.

“We know he’s a lot better than that.”

Matz may be a better pitcher, but remember, he is still a rookie. Even though he pitched in the playoffs and World Series last year, his lat injury limited the 24 year-old to six starts in the regular season, where he went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA.

Yes he was very effective, but he only had a taste of big league baseball. Sure being in the postseason helped, but Matz never was forced to endure any growing pains.

But since the Mets went to the World Series and since his other three staff mates are on the cusp of stardom, throwing Matz into the mix, just completed the narrative, rather than looking under his hood for possible leaks in the plumbing.

Right now, Matz surely doesn’t look like an ace, but rather a back of a rotation rookie, who will shine at times and also will be forced to take medicine like tonight.

Now, no one is saying Matz won’t be a very good pitcher. He probably will, but right now, he’s where Syndergaard was in the middle of June. Because of his injury, the lefty couldn’t develop like the tall righthander, who is now a finished product.

Matz, on the other hand, still needs to develop. Understand, this isn’t a bad thing, but rather just of the cost of doing business with a young starter. He’s also a lefty and their gestation period tends to be a little longer.

Add to that the fact that Matz didn’t pitch in 12 days, and you can understand why the Marlins jumped all over him.

Monday night would have been easier to accept if the Mets didn’t just drop two games to the lowly Phillies, or if Harvey looked like Harvey, and deGrom’s status wasn’t in doubt.

But those are the facts of life for the Mets these days as last October is looking farther and farther in the past.



About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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