Within a helter-skelter 2017 that has seen pitching become the problem, the New York Mets have received some good news for a change regarding one of their big arms.
Left-hander Steven Matz, who was sidelined just before the start of the regular season due to elbow inflammation, could join the rotation and start as soon as this coming weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as first reported by the New York Post.
The 26-year-old was a sight for sore eyes during his triple-A rehab start for Las Vegas on Sunday. Matz spun together five perfect innings while striking out eight.
"In Vegas, a day game in Vegas? You better believe [it was impressive]," manager Terry Collins said, via NJ.com’s Abbey Mastracco. "Five perfect innings in Las Vegas? I played a lot of games in Las Vegas and I'm not sure I've ever seen that."
The Mets pitching staff has been inconsistent and otherwise ineffective this season. As of Monday night, they had the worst ERA in the majors and their 20 quality starts were in the bottom 10 of the league.
With Matz, Seth Lugo and Noah Syndergaard all out due to injuries, the Mets were forced to turn to the likes of Robert Gsellman, Tommy Milone, Rafael Montero and Adam Wilk to start games this season.
None of the three won a single game or has an ERA under 8.24.
At the top of the rotation, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are starting to find their stride, but a team that is already facing the reality of falling out of contention within the National League East needs its greatest strength to return to form.
Matz will at least provide a fourth option that has shown he can succeed at the MLB level. That being said, Mets fans shouldn’t hold their breath given his inability to stay healthy.
Even more good news for the Mets was that Seth Lugo also pitched on Sunday, his third rehab start in double-A Binghamton after he suffered a partially torn UCL in early April.
With experience as both a starter and reliever, the Mets could slot a healthy Lugo wherever they’d like at this point.
The bullpen has been even worse than the starting pitching with nine blown saves, a save percentage of 52.63 and a .271 batting average against.
After stepping in last season for a depleted Mets pitching staff, Lugo appeared in 17 games in 2016, going 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA.