Schraier: Matz Gets Mets Back on Track

Did this guy named Matz actually sustain an injury? Well, the word was that it was a forearm issue.

“Yeah, I really was surprised (with the way Matz looked after the time off,” said Mets’ manager Terry Collins. “You are concerned about the command. If you ever have a sore arm, the release point is always an issue. Steven came out and threw very well.”

Despite a first-inning two-run homer to Chris Carter, Steven Matz was simply sparkling Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers in the opening contest of a three-game set.

Though he was relieved after seven frames with a pitch count of 88 pitches, Matz turned in a scintillating performance.

“We were short in the pen and we needed someone to give us six innings. He gave us more than that. It was a tremendous outing,” Collins commented.

Collins later added about Matz’s mechanics: “His delivery is so nice and easy. He really doesn’t force things. He just has good arm speed and the ball really comes out of his hand well.”

In the sixth innings that followed his shaky first, Matz did not allowed only one runner to reach base.

That one runner was Hernan Perez, who later was caught stealing after a video review overturned Gary Cederstrom’s initial call of safe in the top of the sixth.

Through his first seven starts this year, Matz is 6-1 with a 2.81 earned-run average. His six wins place him in a four-way tie with three other pitchers for third-most (Cueto, Kershaw, Samardzija) in the National League.

However, the lackluster offense of the Mets cannot be understated.

Facing Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta and his 7-plus ERA, the Amazins’ managed to put up only one run in the first five innings.

Until the sixth, a nubber that rolled on the infield grass by Rene Rivera accounted for New York’s lone run.

Michael Conforto then broke out of what seemed like a month-long slump to give the Mets the lead.

He took a 2-1 pitch from Peralta out to left field in the sixth inning for a go-ahead two-run homer.

“Well, first of all, you can’t expect anyone to keep that pace up (from April),” Collins stated. “What you saw tonight is what I hope I see, and that is the fact he uses the field. In the first two weeks, he was hitting a lot of them to right field. He was trying to turn on balls instead of just putting good swings on them.”

“That’s what I think,” Collins said after he was asked if Conforto is coming out of his slump. “When he starts hitting the ball the other way, it means you’re seeing the ball, you’re seeing it longer and it gives you a better chance to make contact.”

If the Mets can get the same efforts out of DeGrom and Harvey that they have from Syndergaard and Matz this season, then three runs would be enough.

That has not been the case though. Entering Friday’s game, New York ranked 24th – yes, 24th, in the majors in runs scored. Wasn’t the whole point of acquiring and re-signing Yoenis Cespedes to improve an anemic Met offense?

Matz’s performance does tend to leave this issue in the rear-view mirror for 24 hours, but three runs against the MLB’s sixth-worst pitching staff must raise some eyebrows for the fans, players and the front office.

Onto Saturday we go.

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