Mets Game 77: Win Over Reds


Matz 4 (+3 from other folks), Reds 2

Mets’ fans do deserve days like this. I’ll get to his hitting exploits later, but we need to start with Steven Matz’s pitching, which is why we all tuned in. This was the first time I’d seen the guy pitch.

After sailing his first pitch up and away, his fifth pitch was a fastball down the pipe that Brandon Phillips hit for a homer. But despite the first inning lasting more than 20 pitches, Steven Matz was already showing he had three plus pitches. Wally was right, this guy is seriously good.

Joey Votto had particular problems with Matz’s curve, watching it curl in at 78 mph in the first and looking daft swinging at it in the third. Matz then polished him off with a fastball on the outside corner. He also made Todd Frazier look human in the sixth with a nasty curve to strike him out… perhaps Matz was pissed that Frazier took him deep in the fourth off a half-decent pitch.

Matz’s curve darts down and to the right, tying up righties and getting whiffs from lefties. Votto’s issues were because the pitch sometimes started at him yet still made the inside corner. Matz threw one as slow as 74mph in the seventh, a knee-buckler when you’re gearing up for his heater.

Ol’ Concerned Potato Head (a.k.a. Terry Collins) decided to keep Matz in the game for 7 2/3 innings, despite hurling 100 pitches after seven. Ok, Matz was still hitting 96mph in the eighth, and I know 100 pitches is an arbitrary number but Matz had spent so much time on the basepaths. Pitch Jack Leathersich, for criminy’s sake… they must have known he’d be sent down anyway.

Matz’s fastball has a very slight cut left to right, and he mostly hit corners low and inside to righties. Nice comeback on Billy Hamilton (yeah, I know, hardly a Silver Slugger) to get from 3-0 to get him to pop out with a runner on second.

Throughout, Matz seemed unfazed. He looks like Rory McIlroy’s older, taller brother. He has a thick, strong neck and an easy throwing action. But I’m sure Joe will break down his delivery more technically, and for everyone gushing about the potential 2016 rotation (Harvey – DeGrom – Matz – Wheeler – Syndergaard) I’m still against dealing Niese yet. Just shove him in the bullpen as a leftie and as (albeit 4+ ERA and an injury waiting to happen) rotation protection.

Lastly, Matz’s change-up tails slightly from right to left, a great counterpoint to his other two pitches. Like Frazier, he got revenge on Phillips by making him look silly on a few changes, and one tweaked Phillips’ wrist injury. Phillips ended up popping out and striking out to Matz’s change.

Ok, hitting. Curtis Granderson continues to rake. You know I wear my little Grandyman t-shirt and have CG pom-poms whenever he comes to bat, so it’s nice to see him hit. Four out of his five at bats were hard hit and he drove in a couple of runs. His OPS is now .824. Will it stay there? Even I have to admit: “no chance.” Granderson is one of the most annoyingly streaky batters in MLB. But let’s enjoy the run while it lasts, especially as guys like Wilmer and Cruddyer continue to struggle. It’s actually painful to watch poor Wilmer fall over the plate every time he swings at a pitch outside. At least he’s back at second base now, where he belongs. That might help him relax.

Luckily, for a team needing 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 hitters there was a new slugger in town. I won’t bore you with all the records, but the most startling one was that Matz’s four RBIs were more than ANY Mets’ player on debut. And the two RBI hits – one crushed to the centre field warning track and the other a nice liner over Phillips’ head – weren’t cheapies. Like Syndergaard he’s got a nice eye at the plate. Let’s hope he takes Wilmer and Juan to one side and talks about plate discipline.

I don’t know how much to read into sweeping the Reds. Their infield defense was so lousy it made the Mets look tolerable. It was certainly needed, given the hideous upcoming schedule of the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants. And the first 10 games after the All Star Break? The Cards for three, the Nats for three, and the Dodgers for four. How wonderful. Given the Cubs are at home, the Mets need another sweep because they can’t beat the best teams and they’ve been lousy on the road.

I’ve been thinking about the Mets’ ludicrous home (29-11) and away (11-26) splits. And now I have the answer. I reckon it would cost less than a million bucks and provide a lot more wins than John Mayberry Jr….

Clearly the Mets miss CitiField and their home clubhouse. So I say: “take the clubhouse with you with the MetsMobile.”

The MetsMobile is an exact replica of the CitiField clubhouse attached to a winnebago. On shorter trips the Mets can travel to games in it, and on longer trips it can pick them up from the airport. Rehabbing pitchers can drive it to build arm strength. Failing that, it will keep Mayberry Jr. busy.

The smell of Nathan’s Famous, Keith’s Grill and stale beer can be gently pumped inside, along with faraway sounds of “Let’s Go Mets” and low flying aircraft. It really cannot fail.

So Let’s Go Matz. Um, Mets. And keep your fingers crossed that the upcoming teams are so devastated by illness that the Mets have to face the ground crew. If that happens, they should go .500 and still be in the hunt for a wildcard. Ever the optimist, I still have faith. Now I just need to catch the measles and travel to L.A.

Steve Hussy has been a Mets fan since 1984. An insomniac as a kid, he watched baseball highlights at 4 AM on British TV. He credits Darryl Strawberry's long homers as the first cause of his obsession with the Mets. Now he gets to watch Mets games that finish at 3 AM and teach bleary-eyed lessons to his film students the next day. He also gets to shell out hundreds of pounds to fly over to New York and watch the Mets occasionally win. Steve Hussy's other job is as a writer and editor for Murder Slim Press, which specialises in confessional and crime literature. You can find out more about him on Just no threats, please.
  1. Meticated June 29, 2015 at 2:48 am
    you haven’t lost your edge…acerbic wit intact…incisive mind active…now write daily please
  2. Steve Hussy June 29, 2015 at 6:36 am
    Hey, I wrote this one!
  3. Dan42 June 29, 2015 at 6:58 am
    Didn’t think Joe wrote it. Besides style, “But I’m sure Joe will break down his delivery” was a bit of a clue.
  4. DaveSchneck June 29, 2015 at 8:30 am
    Looks like the Mets have found that RH bat to protect Duda in the line up.
  5. Extragooey June 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm
    The McIlroy resemblance is right on. I knew he looked like someone but couldn’t place it.

    The Mets won these four games the same way they lost the 7 previous, with strong pitching and lousy hitting. So if you were down after the 7 game streak, you shouldn’t feel any better after these 4, cuz it’s the same team.

    Murphy coming back will help. Hope he rakes right away instead of stinking it up like he did at the end of spring/start of the season after his injury then.

    • argonbunnies June 30, 2015 at 5:20 pm
      Murphy just spent 22 days sitting followed by 4 days facing A-ball pitchers. Expect an exact repeat of his last return from injury.

      Fingers crossed for better, of course, but if I were a betting man…

    • argonbunnies June 30, 2015 at 5:20 pm
      Murphy just spent 22 days sitting followed by 4 days facing A-ball pitchers. Expect an exact repeat of his last return from injury.

      Fingers crossed for better, of course…

  6. Colin June 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm
    Matz had himself a day. I wonder where Dillon Gee is?
  7. argonbunnies June 30, 2015 at 5:16 pm
    Matz reminds me a lot of Gio Gonzalez (as a pitcher! not as a person or hitter).
  8. DanB July 1, 2015 at 7:57 am
    It’s July, trading season starts. Should the Mets be sellers or buyers? Though I never understood why you can’t be both. Trade away players you don’t need or aren’t coming back for prospects (Murphy, Colon, Neese, Gee, etc) and also trade prospects for pieces you do need. Alderson could be creative like the Brave’s trade for Arroyo but that is not likely. He could also stop focusing on “winning” trades and accept trading equal talent for equal talent. He might even find more trade partners that way.
  9. Extragooey July 1, 2015 at 2:17 pm
    With Cuddyer out, I say bring up Conforto and see what he can do.
    • Dan B July 1, 2015 at 6:06 pm
      Asking an 22 year old AA player to carry a weak offense as they about to start a west coast trip to SF and LA seems like a bad idea to me.
    • argonbunnies July 2, 2015 at 5:29 am
      Agreed with Dan B. I have a radical solution, though — instead of promoting ONE kid to carry an MLB team, promote them ALL! An entire lineup of “just happy to be here” youngsters would surely bring a more successful attitude to the plate than our current slew of desperate, failure-scarred veterans.

      I know there’s zero chance of this happening, but seriously, it’s virtually guaranteed that the Las Vegas 51s would score more than these Mets.

      On that topic, I really have no particular gripe with Collins, I think he’s pretty much done all he can, but it may be time for a change for the sake of change. So promote Wally along with the kids.

      • Extragooey July 2, 2015 at 10:58 am
        Do you really think anyone on current the hitting roster of the Vegas 51s would be any better? It’s not like we haven’t promoted any Vegas 51s. How are Monell and Ceciliani doing? How did Herrera and Muno do? Better yet, check out how Recker and Nieuwenhuis are doing down there right now. These two couldn’t buy a hit up here in the majors and they go down there and put up video game numbers. Check out all the names I mentioned above and their Vegas 51 hitting stats. The PCL is notorious for hitting, which makes what Matz did there this year pretty amazing.
      • Extragooey July 2, 2015 at 11:38 am
        What exactly is the objection to bringing him up? It will ruin his confidence if he struggles? Sound a lot like moving Flores to 2nd? It starts his free agent clock? He’s not ready?
  10. Steve Hussy July 2, 2015 at 11:50 am
    I like the idea of Conforto coming up (and Wally, of course) and jumping Las Vegas. The safety first policy of the Mets isn’t working, so just take one risk for a change. Also, my worry about the PCL is that it puts hitters like Kirk into bad habits… they hit fly balls that go out there, and then end up hitting way too many flies in the bigs (and especially CitiField) that are catching practice for the OF.