Steven Matz is turning his season around

The Mets had an excellent April this year, especially the first half. SP Steven Matz, however, did not have a very good April. He had five starts, and he was cuffed around in four of them. He ended up the month with a 1-2 record and an ugly 4.98 ERA.

Since April, the Mets have not been very good, but Matz, conversely, has been much improved. In his six starts in May and early June, he has turned things around and recorded only one bad outing in that time frame, specifically the start against Arizona on May 19 when he yielded four runs in four innings.

Other than that, he’s been quite good since April. On May 5 he gave up one run in six IP, on May 11 it was one run in five innings, on May 24 it was no runs in six IP, May 29 was his abbreviated start when he was removed after three innings of scoreless ball due to a finger concern, and then there was his most recent start against the Cubs on Sunday, where he gave up two runs in seven innings.

So, overcoming that bad first month, Matz now has an ERA for the season of 3.42, with a decent WHIP of 1.23. His won-loss record for the season is just 2-4, Matz is suffering from the same lack of run support as the other starters, especially Jacob deGrom, are.

So, what has been the difference between the bad Matz of April and the good Matz since? Perhaps it was a change in mental attitude for Matz as much as anything else. Manager Mickey Callaway has said that Matz was getting flustered when things went wrong during a game and that he then lost focus.

It looks like Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland may have helped Matz in retaining his focus when things don’t go his way on the mound. The lefthander does have a lively arm, this velocity on his sinking fastball is averaging 94 MPH this year.

In previous years Matz has shown some brittleness, in 2010 he had Tommy John surgery costing him a year of development in the minors. Injuries, including ulnar nerve problems, were a big part of his disappointing 2017 where he had a 2-7 record with a 6.08 ERA. This year he has been sound physically with the finger issue just proving to be a minor hiccup, Matz did not miss his start after it.

Matz was an important part of the pennant winning 2015 team, he was called up from the minors in midseason that year and won four and lost none with a 2.27 ERA. If the 27 year old pitcher can keep healthy and keep his focus, he will be a key component of the Mets rotation for this season and perhaps for many more seasons to come.

7 comments for “Steven Matz is turning his season around

  1. David Groveman
    June 5, 2018 at 8:57 am

    The Mets need to look to lock up Jacob deGrom longterm and try to take some advantage of deGrom, Syndergaard and Matz (not to mention that Wheeler seems rebounded) while they can.

    I also believe the Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are part of this longterm pitching plan.

    • June 5, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Right on David and the sooner the better. Can one imagine what deGram’s record would be if he was with the Yankees or the Red Sox?

      Editor’s Note – This is at least the third User Name you’ve used here. Please pick one and stick with it. Thanks!

    • Mike Walczak
      June 5, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Either trade deGrom for a haul or lock him up.

      • Name
        June 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

        He’s currently under a non-guaranteed contract of 3 years and ~40 mil until his age 32 season.

        In this day and age why would you want to extend him?

        • Chris F
          June 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm

          Exactly name, for all practical purposes, he is locked up. I mean if you want to negotiate the arb years (and maybe a FA year, which he’d be dumb to take) that makes sense. Give him 3/40 for ’19-’21, but I wouldnt do more.

          Chris

  2. June 5, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Matz made all of six starts in 2015 due to a lat injury so no he wasn’t a big part of that team. Matz has improved his last four or five starts he’s been replacement level this year according to fangraphs. He needs to cut the walk rate down and once the homer rate regresses I think he’ll be okay but I remain skeptical that he can stay healthy.

    • June 5, 2018 at 10:44 am

      To add more last month Matz had a fip over five with a reduced K rate so I just don’t him as more than a fourth or fifth starter.

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