The New York Mets were counting on Steven Matz more than ever in 2020. He hasn’t passed the test.
Matz began this year as the Mets’ number two starter behind only Jacob deGrom. Aside from that first start, he has been incredibly bad all 2020 long. He has taken that number two starter thing too literal and pitched like number two.
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This isn’t exactly surprising. Matz has been below-average for some time. Following his terrific debut in 2015 and notable first full year in 2016, Matz has yet to finish any season with an ERA+ in the triple-digits. An ERA+ of 100 is supposed to be measure an average pitcher. Matz’s highest since 2016 is the 97 he posted in 2019.
Now at 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA after five starts in 2020, it’s becoming clear that those high hopes we once had for Matz are nothing more than wishful thinking.
This was his year to shine and step up. More than ever, the Mets needed the best of Matz. Amazingly, he seems to be getting worse as the season progresses.
The Mets starting rotation doesn’t look anything like it has in recent years. It’s far from a strength. In fact, other than a lack of hitting with runners in scoring position, it might be their biggest weakness.
Matz has been absolutely obliterated by the home run ball this year—surrendering nine already. It almost seems like a forgone conclusion when his turn in the rotation comes around that the offense will need to be at the top of their game.
We could write-off 2020 as a mishap and I think it’s fair to do so when we see some atypical numbers. With Matz, I feel like it’s a trend.
The Mets only have a few directions they could go with Matz. Unfortunately, right now it looks like a spot in the rotation is safe due to the lack of warm bodies they have available. Next year, this could change.
Matz is certainly an offseason trade candidate although I’m not sure how much value he brings other than to land another “change of scenery” candidate. The Mets could also look to move him to the bullpen which doesn’t exactly solve much. They will still need to find someone to take over his spot in the rotation.
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It’s a troubling situation for the Mets and Matz. After years of opportunities, the pair seem headed toward a breakup.