I really want Steven Matz to succeed.
Actually, I would really like to be able to rely on anybody in this rotation other than Syndergaard and deGrom.
We are extremely fortunate to have the win-loss record that we do. The timely hitting and tremendous relief pitching have been great stories so far this year. We just can’t expect Wheeler and Matz to give us 4 innings every time out and expect to be successful though.
With that in mind, Steven Matz took the mound tonight, with the Mets coming off a huge win in the series opener. It should be said that Wheeler only went 4 innings in that game, giving up 4 runs.
Matz set down the first 6 Cardinals in order, and then led off the top of the 3rd with a base hit to center. Amed Rosario lined out, and then Michael Conforto grounded into a fielders choice. Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce both had 2 out singles and the Mets had a 1-0 lead. Wilmer Flores had an opportunity to add on, but was grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
You might want to stop reading here. (Unless you’re a Cardinals fan.)
Jedd Gyorko led off the inning by lining out to Wilmer Flores. Kolten Wong was next and hit a slow rolling ball to Wilmer Flores. Wilmer charged in and tried to field the ball barehanded. I bet you can guess how that played out. If you answered man on first with one out, then Congratulations!
The Cardinals pitcher, Michael Wacha was next and he laid down a sacrifice bunt. Matz picked up the ball and fired to first. Flores kinda attempted to stretch, but the ball hit off the end of his glove and rolled into right field, allowing Wong to advance to 3rd.
Tommy Pham was removed from the game with what is being described as a head injury. His replacement, Harrison Bader, drew a walk and the bases were loaded. Dexter Fowler hit a fly ball to Jay Bruce. Wong, the runner on 3rd scored easily as Bruce’s throw home wasn’t exactly impressive.
The score was tied at that point, and with 2 outs you hoped Matz could limit the damage and get out of the inning. Jose Martinez had other ideas, and he singled to Jay Bruce, which loaded the bases. Luckily, the pitcher was running or the Cards would have had another run.
Marcell Ozuna followed with a single and the score was 3-0. Matz got out of the inning, but the damage was done.
Met Killer Paul DeJong led off the bottom of the 4th with a double. Jedd Gyorko flew out to Cespedes for the first out of the inning. Kolten Wong followed with a ground ball to Rosario. It looked like a routine play but Wong beat the throw to first by a step, and the Cardinals had runners at the corners.
Michael Wacha laid down another bunt, and Deong sprinted for him. Matz fielded and threw home but Lobatòn could not handle the throw, and the Mets were losing 4-1.
Harrison Bader was hit by a pitch, and then Dexter Fowler walked, forcing in another run. 5-1. That was the end of Steven Matz’ night.
Corey Oswalt came in for his first major league appearance in a very tough spot. The first batter he saw, Jose Martinez, hit a ground ball up the middle. Amazingly, Flores got to it, but they could only get the force at 2nd, and another run scored. 6-1. The second batter he faced was Marcell Ozuna. He got the Cardinals’ new slugger to hit a ground ball to third. Todd Frazier couldn’t handle it and another run scored. 7-1.
Steven Matz went 3 ²/³ and gave up 7 runs (3 earned). He allowed 5 hits and walked 2 batters. He struck out 3. He now has an ERA of 4.98 on the season.
Make no mistake. The defense did Matz NO favors tonight. Also make no mistake. Steven Matz turned into Jon Niese tonight.
Matz got a break when Tommy Pham was removed from the game. Matz walked his replacement, Harrison Bader twice in big spots. Matz was put in tough situations tonight due to bad defensive play. When he left the game though, the score was 7-1. If he makes a couple big pitches, the Mets might have had a chance to fight back.
Simple and plain, Matz is not putting the Mets in position to win the games that he starts right now. He’s not even giving the Mets length as he failed to get through 5 innings once again tonight.
Luckily, the bullpen was given a break as the aforementioned Corey Oswalt gave the Mets 4²/³ innings to close out the game tonight.
In the bottom of the 5th Paul DeJong hit a double (surprise, surprise). Jedd Gyorko followed with a 2 run home run. That made the game 9-1 and that’s how it ended, as there was no more offense from either side.
Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha pitched six innings and allowed one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.
It’s hard to judge someone pitching in a blowout, but Oswalt was effective. Aside from those two hits in the 5th, he didn’t allow another base runner and he struck out 4.
Wilmer Flores reminded us tonight why playing him everyday might not be a good idea. We know what Flores brings to the Mets. Defense is not one of those things. We talked about his misplays in the 3rd inning. A more competent second baseman might have turned a ball he fielded in the 4th into a double play, which would have greatly limited the damage that was done.
He was playing tonight, as Asdrubal Cabrera’s right hamstring “was barking.” Let’s hope Cabrera returns quickly. Obviously the Mets need his offense, as he’s leading the National League in hitting, but I also don’t want to see a heavy dose of Jose Reyes in the meantime.
Paul DeJong though. My goodness. He now has 12 extra base hits in 11 games against the Mets. Wow. Met killer for real.
That’s it for tonight. What else can you say?
Noah Syndergaard is on the hill for us tomorrow afternoon against Carlos Martinez, as the Mets hope to win the series.