MATZ CRUISES AFTER EARLY BUMP IN THE ROAD:
Steven Matz quickly fell behind the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup in the first, despite flashing a lively mid 90s fastball and a curveball with nice shape. Jonathan Villar singled on a dribbler past Neil Walker, and advanced to third on some exceptional reads on breaking pitches. A sinker left over the plate to Chris Carter lead to a predictable 2-0 lead for the Brewers.
The southpaw settled down in the second, earning strikeouts against former Met Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Keon Broxton while working in a slider and a couple strong changeups. Matz pitched a quick third, earning two strikeouts while beginning to snap off some pretty curveballs.
In the fourth, Matz continued rolling, generating outs against the middle of the Brewers’ order on nine pitches. He relied more heavily on secondary pitches in the fifth, with an inning-ending Nieuwenhuis strikeout making 13 straight retired batters. The sixth inning became more eventful when third baseman Hernan Perez singled and stole second, but a replay review determined him caught stealing by Rene Rivera.
Through the seventh, the Brewers really didn’t have an answer for Matz’s fastball, which sat consistently at 93 mph with good command throughout the outing.
CONFORTO BOMB PROVIDES JUST ENOUGH SUPPORT:
Wily Peralta began the game displaying why he can be such a frustrating pitcher. He tried early to establish a high 90s sinker (hitting 97 mph in the first), but couldn’t find the plate. However, he worked around a Michael Conforto single and produced a clean inning.
He continued to struggle with command early, walking Walker on six pitches and allowing an opposite field single to Lucas Duda. Eric Campbell struck out quickly, but a Rene Rivera groundout put the Mets on the board. Peralta more consistently got to 96-97 mph with better command on his fastball, and earned swinging strikeouts on Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes.
With Peralta displaying a tight slider, the Mets offense failed to produce in the fourth and fifth innings. However, the clock struck midnight in the sixth and he returned to typical form. With Peralta catching too much of the strike zone, Asdrubal Cabrera lined a lead-off single into right field, followed by a Conforto bomb to left field. Now with a 3-2 lead, the parade continued with a Cespedes single. However, Jonathan Lucroy produced a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play as Cespedes attempted to steal with a bruised leg. Hitting Duda and walking Campbell with two outs ended Peralta’s night after 108 pitches.
The sixth finally ended with another former Met, Carlos Torres, generating a groundout of Rivera. A leadoff single by Alejandro De Aza prompted a double-switch by the Brewers, with Chris Capuano entering to pitch. Despite working only 87-89 mph with his fastball, the lefty blew past Curtis Granderson, Cabrera, and Conforto for three straight strike outs, and ended the seventh without incident.
Capuano returned for the bottom of the eighth, and got into some trouble after walking Cespedes and hitting Campbell. However, working with a deceptive changeup, he generated two swinging strikeouts and a scoreless frame.
REED, FAMILIA CLOSE THE DOOR:
Matz was interestingly pulled after seven innings with only 88 pitches thrown. However, it was a close game, and rather than see the Brewers’ lineup for the rest of the third and beginning of the fourth time through the order, Collins went to to his late-inning relievers. Addison Reed entered for Matz in the eighth, and pounded his 93 mph four-seamer to strike out Ramon Flores during a clean inning.
Jeurys Familia came on to close it out in ninth, and made quick work of pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett and the top of the Brewers lineup, preserving the one run lead. His sinker sat 95 mph and his splitter was typically elite, and he struck out Gennett on the way to the Mets’ victory.
The Mets continue the three-game series against the Brewers, as Jacob deGrom faces Zach Davies and looks to correct his abnormally low early season strikeout rate (only 15.7 percent). Davies, an undersized right-hander, has struggled with walks to start the season. New York continues to chase the Phillies and Nationals in the NL East, while the Brewers continue to face an uphill climb against the Pirates, Cardinals and Cubs in the Central.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports