Just when you thought the Mets season turned the corner, another big blow.
With news of Steven Matz’s inflamed shoulder came out today, the Mets are now scrambling to fill two slots in the starting rotation.
Seth Lugo will be taking Matz’s slot for now, while they still will toil with Jon Niese in the No. 5 slot. We shall see if the Mets can strive through now losing half of their big four and 40 percent of the rotation.
But first, let’s start with Matz. You hope this injury is only temporary and lefty will be fine. It seems that way, since the Mets are saying it’s shoulder tightness and Jon Heyman reported in Today’s Knuckleball he was suffering through a “mild shoulder strain and some issues with rotator cuff irritation,”, but even with that, the club shouldn’t risk Matz for the rest of the season.
Matz has been injured a number of times during his career. This is just another setback for the young, but talented lefthander. But with large bone spurs in his elbow and now his shoulder barking, why try to bring him back?
It would be better for the Mets to just shut him down, have the elbow surgery and get ready for 2017.
With that said, the Mets now need to fill his slot in the rotation, while worrying about Niese. Tomorrow the mercurial lefthander will open the series in St. Louis. If Niese pitches like…well Jon Niese, the Mets will need another option for the black hole of the No. 5 slot.
The first choice should be Robert Gsellman, who was called up today to replace Matz. Gsellman was the 2015 Sterling Pitcher of the Year in the Mets organization, when he went a combined 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA (46 earned runs/143.1 innings) in 24 starts between St. Lucie and Binghamton.
It was the 23 year-old’s development last season that allowed the Mets to deem Michael Fulmer expendable, sending him to the Tigers in the Yoenis Cespedes deal.
However, he struggled at Triple-A Las Vegas this season with a 1-5 record and a 5.73 ERA. So unless pitching in the Pacific Coast League was giving him troubles, Gsellman may need more seasoning.
But unless Sandy Alderson makes a waiver trade over the next week, there isn’t too much they can do. Lugo looked great in his first start on Friday and maybe Gsellman and Gabriel Ynoa can take the other slot.
Unlike past seasons, the Mets don’t have that stud in the minors, but these guys can surprise.
With the offense whole again, they just need decent performances to win games.
And if Gsellman, Lugo and Ynoa can perform, then Matz won’t be needed.
If they don’t and they get hammered, well then Matz won’t be needed either.
It’s crunch time now for the Mets and the quest for the Wild Card just got tougher.