NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 11: Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets has his mask pulled down as he looks on against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 11, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Steven Matz of the New York Mets is having a similar experience to Sam Darnold of the New York Jets. In an October 2019 Monday Night Football game against the New England Patriots, Darnold infamously muttered “I’m seeing ghosts” after a turnover-ridden first half. Matz isn’t seeing ghosts, but he is certainly hearing footsteps.
As Matz crumbled from the middle of the rotation starter to bullpen piece, it is becoming evident that the lefty is falling out of favor with not only Mets management, but fans alike. To make his departure more visible, the Mets have witnessed the emergence of David Peterson.
The young southpaw has been a bright spot in an absurd season for the Mets. Before heading to the injured list, Peterson was racking up consistent numbers for a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. In four starts for the Mets, Peterson totaled a 2.91 ERA to go with 17 strikeouts.
His are the footsteps that Matz is hearing. Matz, after pitching a solid game in the opening series against the Atlanta Braves in which he struck out seven in six innings, has been a train wreck on the mound.
His season stats are not for the faint of heart. He has an ERA of 9.00 across his five starts, but the numbers fail to tell the story behind his struggles this season. To put it under a microscope, all you need to do is look at Matz’s start on August 15th against the Phillies.
It was frequently brought up on the SNY broadcast that evening that Matz looked to have better control of his breaking pitches that night. His efforts crumbled in the fifth inning however following an error, and he had to be removed.
Matz has always had issues with runners on base, allowing a .268 lifetime average to batters when there is a runner on base. It seems that this is an issue that might not go away for Matz, who has worked incredibly hard to stay in the rotation following several years of injury.
While the many years of resilient efforts from Matz to stay healthy have been impressive, he just can’t seem to conquer his demons on the mound.
This has opened up the opportunity for Peterson to become the featured lefty in the Mets rotation. Being that he is young, and has handled being thrust into the rotation well so far, don’t be surprised if Peterson capitalizes on the opportunity.
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