This was dominance by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field that was completed Sunday night with a sweep of a three game series over the New York Mets. The again, the Dodgers are by far the superior team in baseball at 79-32, and the Mets are looking to next year.
But this was also about Steven Matz and his inability to be the pitcher in all aspects of the game It’s about holding base runners and making the proper pitches. Sunday night, against this dominant Dodgers team that is steamrolling to October, Matz was overmatched as bad as the Mets were against this Dodgers machine in seven games played this season.
How about 0-for-7 against Los Angeles this season, and 26 home runs that the Dodgers hit against Mets pitching, including three more Sunday night and two given up by Matz.
But after their Sunday night 8-0 win in a game that the Mets trailed from the first inning, it was seen how this dominance can take the Dodgers deep into October. It took left hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and his 7.0 scoreless innings to also assure that dominance is a part of this 2017 Dodgers season.
Ryu (4-6) struck out eight and allowed one base runner, Travis d’Arnaud had the lone single for New York leading off the third inning. And that was all for the Mets who could not overcome a three-run Dodgers’ first inning and were shutout for the sixth time this season.
Oh, that first inning showed how deficient Matz has been when holding base runners. And how, Matz is crumbling and quickly losing his status as an elite starting pitcher for the Mets and in the National League.
There was that first inning. Two outs, runners on first and second that saw Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger pull off a double-steal without a throw. That was Matz losing focus or the Dodgers very aware that the lefthander is not good at eyeing a slow runner. In this case it was Turner.
But that led to two runs. Or was it the reversed call of Turner getting caught at second and Matz not getting out of an inning, hence losing his composure on the mound? Another run would come home in that inning and it seemed Matz had no control on his pitches.
Matz said, “I was staying composed. It just comes down to making better pitches when you’re in those situations. Those are the most important pitches of the game, when you’ve got runners on, especially in scoring position.”
All leading to the point of no return for the Mets. It is now evident this is not their season to be, it appeared that way since the month of May. However, Matz needs to be better and despite recording his 200th career strikeout, he threw 5.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits, throwing 102 pitches.
We are now talking about next year for this Mets team. And for next season and in their remaining 54 games, Steven Matz needs to get better and the Mets will look to what has to get get better with their starter and entire roster. But Matz is a key and no doubt that entire starting rotation that was supposed to be playing baseball in October.
However the Dodgers are headed to October with the dominance. Matz was overmatched Sunday night and it seems that every team right now is no match for the 79-32 Los Angeles Dodgers.
“They score three runs after that,” Collins said about that first inning that turned into a nightmare for Matz. “We get out of the first inning if we make the tag. It made a huge difference not necessarily in the outcome but in the way the game started.” It was a play that opened a door for the Dodgers when Turner used that great slide that got his right arm around Amed Rosario.
A play that made Matz crumble as the evening got worse. His season is at 2-5 and 0-4 with a 7.34 ERA in his last six starts.
“It’s shocking,” Collins said. “This guy’s got way too good of stuff.” Collins, when asked said that sending Matz down to Triple-A to get things straight would not matter. This time of year the Mets are out of contention and finding a viable replacement is not in the cards.
In other words, whatever the issues are with command of the fastball and the secondary pitches, Matz would need to work it out in his remaining starts. Sometimes that works, unless there are other issues that need to be addressed and in a season of constant questions with this Mets starting rotation, one never knows what the issue can be.
We do know this, the Dodgers are dominant and the Mets are not. And for that matter Steven Matz can be a dominant pitcher. But, right now there are those questions about what is wrong with Steven Matz in a Mets season of everything that has gone wrong in many ways.
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