Steven Matz missed the first two months of the season with an elbow problem. But when the Mets lefthander returned in June, he pitched as if he might be a savior. Through his first five starts, Matz posted a 2.12 ERA, giving off the appearance that he might provide a needed boost to a struggling starting rotation. But buried beneath those sparkling results were signs of a crash.
His contact rate spiked. His strikeout rate dipped. His swings and misses lagged behind his career norm. All of it pointed to the kind of dreaded regression that has come over Matz like a tsunami.
The storm surge continued on Wednesday night, when the Padres beat the Mets, 6-3, by chasing Matz after just three innings. He allowed all six runs, and for a third consecutive start, he surrendered nine hits.
“I tried to go inside three times tonight,” Matz said. “One was a home run, one was a triple, and one was a double. That’s usually my bread and butter, going inside, and I’ve been leaving them back over the plate. And they’ve really been punishing me for it.”
The damage was Matz’s punishment for spotty command that has become a staple. In his last four outings, Matz has a 14.18 ERA and has allowed a staggering 34 hits.
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