Posted on August 29, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Mets have officially listed lefty Steven Matz as the team’s starting pitcher for Thursday’s series finale against the Miami Marlins. The move was made official on Monday after Matz reported no ill effects from the bullpen session he threw on Sunday. Mets manager Terry Collins also announced Monday that Jacob deGrom will return to the rotation Friday when the Mets begin a series against the Washington Nationals. The Mets skipped deGrom’s turn through the rotation this week to get him additional rest.
The last time Matz pitched was August 14 when he carried a no-hitter in to the 8th inning against the San Diego Padres. However, Matz was unable to make his next scheduled start due to shoulder discomfort. The team didn’t think the shoulder issue was serious, but rather than attempting to rush him back, the Mets placed Matz on the DL to allow him adequate time to recover. His high pitch count in his two starts prior to his stint on the DL may have played a role in his shoulder trouble. The Mets now believe Matz is ready to go and be a big part of their rotation in September, as they chase a wild card spot.
As for deGrom, he had four straight strong outings between the end of July and the middle of August. However, he’s allowed 13 runs on 25 hits in his last two outings, throwing just 9.2 innings over that span. The Mets feel that he is growing tired and could benefit from addition rest. He last pitched on August 24, and will have eight full days of rest before he pitches on Friday.
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With deGrom being skipped while Matz is on the DL, the Mets have had to dig deep into their farm system for pitching. The team is in the midst of starting young and unproven pitchers three days in a row this week, a scenario that seemed impossible looking at the team’s rotation at the start of the year.
Robert Gsellman made the first start of his big league career Sunday and faired well until running out of steam late, taking the loss and depriving the Mets of a sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies. Rafael Montero is set to pitch Monday in deGrom’s spot after being demoted all the way back to double-A earlier this year. Finally, Seth Lugo will make the third start of his big league career Tuesday, although he’s allowed just three runs in 11.2 innings through the first two starts.
The fact that Matz is returning from the DL as soon as he’s eligible is great news for the injury-riddled Mets. If he and deGrom can return to the rotation healthy and well rested, the Mets may have a rotation capable of getting them back to the postseason, especially if Noah Syndergaard can continue the form he’s had in his last two starts. It’s not the rotation the Mets envisioned at the start of the year, but Matz, deGrom, and Syndergaard performing at their best is good enough to get New York to the playoffs. Of course, health has been an issue for the Mets all season, and if it’s a problem in September, the Mets may be deprived of a postseason spot.