New York Mets: Steven Matz needs to toughen up

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 29: Steven Matz (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 29: Steven Matz (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

New York Mets southpaw Steven Matz needs to toughen up.

New York Mets fell in love quickly when Steven Matz arrived on the scene. There aren’t a lot of young left-handed pitchers throwing in the high 90s these days. He came on in 2015 and dominated over his first two starts, topping the Reds 7-2 and the Dodgers 6-0, going no less than six innings in either of the two starts.

After starting off badly in 2018, Matz was starting to come around for Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland. Going into Tuesday’s game, he had allowed one run or less in three out of four May starts. However, after three innings on Tuesday night we were re-introduced to a fact of life when talking about Steven Matz. It’s a fact that has been coming clearer and clearer as recent years have gone by.

On Tuesday night we once again saw the fact that Steven Matz needs to toughen up in order to make it in this game long-term. Currently he is a player that is far too brittle for a big league player. That must change or all of that talent will be useless to the Mets.

Ever since that second career start, Matz has gone through injuries. He missed one month after that start against the Dodgers and has missed time every year since. Some have been serious, some not so much. It seems that every single twinge takes him out of the game. The most recent was on Tuesday night.

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After three innings of shutout baseball, Matz felt something in his finger during his fourth inning at bat. He came out of the game in the following half inning.

After coming out of the game, he took an x-ray which according to the team, revealed no damage. As of the writing of this post, there has been no indication that Matz is headed for the DL.

This is the type of scenario where Steven needs to toughen up. Now, am I saying he shouldn’t listen to his body? Absolutely not. That is how we prevent ourselves from further injury, getting sick, any other problems. The fact that Steven Matz understands what is going on with his body is a positive, not a negative.

How he reacts is what needs to improve. There is a difference between being injured and being banged up. The season is 162 games, and a starting pitcher is looked at to pitch between 25 and 30 games, sometimes a few more. Nobody goes through the season painless. Matz has to figure out what is just a nick and what is an injury. That’s the difference between a pitcher with talent and a gamer.

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If he can’t figure it out, Steven Matz will not take that next step. He needs to stay healthy and not come out of ball games for every little pinch of pain he feels. Without that change, Matz will go down the long list of Mets that we could say “Oh what might have been” about.

And losing out on a hard throwing lefty would be hard to live down.

UPDATE 6:20 PM: Matz has a slight strain of the finger and will not hit the DL. He is questionable for his next start.