Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Real Matz

So after the in-game misery and post-game muckery involving Harvey last night, the Mets really needed to come out on Wednesday afternoon and have a solid game. So, Steven Matz gave the Mets a solid game. Think of it as the Anti-Harvey. Instead of starting fast and imploding in the middle of the game, Matz got dinged for a few hits early in the game and then basically said, "Enough," and went into total lockdown mode and retired 16 Nationals in a row between the 4th and 8th innings. Yes, you heard me, 8th inning.

Whatever elbow issue that was bothering Matz two weeks ago in Los Angeles seems to be a distant memory now. If it's caused him to throw his slider less often, that doesn't seem to be a hinderance to his performance. He might be throwing it less, or perhaps he's modified it, but in the two starts since said elbow scare, he's allowed 2 runs and 7 hits over 15 innings and it's not outlandish to say that those two starts have been the best he's looked from start to finish all season.

And it's in a key spot, too. Against Washington in another rubber game, a day after Harvey was torched and the Mets went down in flames, and after the Mets had to go deep into their bullpen, Matz was his own bridge, throwing 8 innings--as I'd mentioned before--and allowed the Nationals for all intents and purposes nothing. In fact, perhaps the only hairy moment came in said 8th inning, as the pitch count crept upward and the Nationals started throwing Pinch Hitters at him. Clint Robinson was first, and the lefty got my favorite kind of hit, the 87-hop single up the middle. This brought the tying run to the plate (because the Mets put forth a mighty two runs in support of Matz), and of course Dusty Baker sent up Bryce Harper as the pinch hitter. Harper, it's rumored, could hit one into the Anacostia and tie the game. But he didn't. After falling behind 2-0, Matz then got him to swing at the proverbial sucker pitch and ground out meekly to end the inning. Jeurys Familia survived a 2-hit 9th inning and the Mets won the game 2-0, and now exit Washington having won the series and evening the season series.

That first game against the Marlinfeathers seems like another lifetime now. I guess it was just an anomaly.

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