Everyone loves a hometown hero.
Since Steven Matz made his appearance in 2015, that’s exactly what the Mets thought he would be. A high draft pick, straight out of Long Island, New York. Who seemed to arrive at just the perfect time as the Mets were making their postseason push. In his six starts in 2015, Matz dominated with a 2.27 ERA. Along with the arrival of Noah Syndergaard that same year, it seemed as though New York’s pitching woes would be a thing of the past. At least for the next few years.
In 2016, Matz would start 22 games before being sidelined down the stretch due to injury. Oddly enough, I can still remember that last game he threw before hearing he would be out for the rest of the season. Late August against the Padres. He nearly threw a no-hitter. Matz was just four outs away before Alexei Ramirez broke things up. It couldn’t have been easy either, considering Matz was pitching through bone spurs since mid-June. He would end up finishing the year with a 3.40 ERA. A significant jump from his debut, but he also pitched in far more games.
Things fall apart
2017 was one of Matz’s worst years to date. And it has a lot of fans and writers scratching their heads. Where is the hometown savior we were hoping for? Then again, how much of it is Matz’s fault when he’s under the eye of a training staff that clearly didn’t know how to handle a baseball team? He was, after all, just one of many casualties last year. But Matz has had plenty of streaky visits to the DL. Enough to cause concern as to whether or not he’s even capable of completing a full season at all. It’s why most would feel better if the Mets did go out and acquire a back-end starter. Just in case the rubber bands in Matz’s elbow manage to come undone again. He did have surgery to repair nerves in his arm that were giving him issues. Which led to only 13 starts last year, and a horrid 6.08 ERA. Clocking in just below Matt Harvey‘s 6.70. (And don’t even get me started on Tommy Milone…8.56).
We’ve seen a lot of Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom this offseason. Training and preaching about how this team is ready for a second World Series run. Matz, however, is on the quieter side. For what it’s worth, he did appear in the Mets Instagram story this morning. Claiming that he is healthy and ready for what the season holds. It will perhaps be the most telling year of his career. Especially now that the Mets have cleaned house on what they’ve thought to be the probably regarding their training staff and the parade of injuries from 2017.
I hope this is the year. For Matz, for the Mets. I hope this New York kid can live up to what we were all dreaming of for him. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a New York success story, but that’s what I want for Steven Matz in 2018.