Mets Minors: Steven Matz tossed seven scoreless on Wednesday
Steven Matz tossed seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday, lowering his ERA for the season to 2.11.
Matz, who has been having his innings curtailed by design lately, threw just 87 pitches (53 strikes) before being removed prior to the eighth. Overall, Matz allowed four hits, walked one and struck out five.
Matz retired the last 10 batters he faced, with not a single one hitting the ball out of the infield.
With Wednesday’s start in the book, Matz’ innings total for the season is now up to 85.1, putting him roughly 100 innings from his likely limit.
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On Wednesday, Matz did what he’s been doing all season: over-matched the opposition in the hitter-friendly PCL while being close to unhittable at points.
It was reported earlier this month that Matz would likely be called up prior to the end of June, and the fact that Dillon Gee was recently designated for assignment could perhaps expedite Matz’ promotion.
However, while speaking with reporters earlier this week, Sandy Alderson said that Matz isn’t necessarily next in line, although he did acknowledge that Gee not being in Matz’ way will likely work in his favor.
The Super 2 deadline has almost certainly passed, meaning that once Matz is called up, he won’t be able to qualify for arbitration a year early. So, when is the right time to promote Matz?
Matz has absolutely nothing left to prove in Triple-A, and he’ll almost certainly be one of the Mets’ five best starters once he’s promoted. With the six-man rotation having been scrapped, there’s no immediate opening for Matz, but the Mets will be going to an extra starter every now and then — potentially paving the way for him.
The easiest plan might be for the Mets to promote Matz and insert him into the rotation while relegating Jon Niese (whose era has risen from 1.95 to 4.24 over the last month) to the swingman role that was just vacated by Gee. That might hurt Niese’s feeling and irk some of the veterans in the clubhouse, but the Mets need to be focused on winning above all else.
The Mets will need Niese or Gee and perhaps Rafael Montero to eat some innings later in the season since Matz, Matt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard are all on innings limits, so keeping those guys somewhat happy should be important. However, the main prerogative should be clearing room for Matz, whose time has come.