The Mets…and Bobby Bonilla
WHAT HAPPENED, THE STEVEN MATZ SHOW:
Surprises are good. Well, maybe not the surprise itself, but sometimes they can result in good things. Take Steven Matz, for example. In a season which has presented itself as the least entertaining dumpster fire you will surely continue to rubberneck, Matz has been alright. Coming off an injury-filled season where he posted a 6.08 ERA in 66.2 innings of work, there were legitimate questions about what Matz would become. For all those questions, which were justified given the extent of his elbow-issues, Matz has pitched well.
Of course, the Miami Marlins were his opponent on Sunday. And, of course, we’re witnessing a different Steven Matz than the one able to sit consistently in the upper 90s. His stuff isn’t overwhelming, but it worked well enough. His slider worked well, especially late in counts. All told, Matz put up six strikeouts across 5.1 innings, walking two and allowing just one run. Of the three hits he allowed, only one went for extra bases.
Also of note, Matz drove in a run at the plate! So just like cornhole, the runs cancel out. Therefore Matz didn’t actually allow an earned run. Those are the rules!
The start for Matz was a good sign for a team in need of, at the very least, decent starting pitching. With less than two weeks to the All-Star Break, the Mets still have no clear timetable for Noah Syndergaard’s return. Lefty Jason Vargas is said to be closer, though the usual Mets injury news caveat applies. If the Mets can continue to get six-ish innings of mid-3 ERA ball from Steven Matz, they’ll take it. At this point, the biggest worry and focal point should be injury-prevention. The deeper into starts Matz can go, the better Mickey Callaway can space out the bullpen — which helps the entire staff.
WHAT HAPPENED, THE RETURN OF THE AS-MAN:
It was a rocky start to June for Asdrubal Cabrera. After kicking off the year to the tune of .303/.344/.529 in 224 trips to the plate, Cabrera cooled off considerably. The veteran spent the first two weeks of June going an abysmal .095/.116/.190 in 43 plate appearances. If only there was a discernible reason for this stretch. You know, like a list that could be used to describe the issues Cabrera was dealing with. Maybe give him some additional rest in case he was struggling with — oh, I don’t know — a hamstring injury? One that lasts for literally 10 days? If only one of those existed, or management was competent enough to utilize it. What a world that would be.
Of late, however, Cabrera has turned his fortunes around. Including a solo home run and a walk from Sunday’s action, Cabrera has posted a strong .339/.403/.536 slash over his last 62 trips to the plate. This is a fantastic sign. As I alluded to, though, it is likely more of an indication that Cabrera is feeling much better. That he is, once again, healthy. It’s good news for those of you who like watching good baseball and good hitters. It’s also good news for those of you who enjoy the vision of just how many mid-level minor league relievers the Mets will acquire for him as we approach the trade deadline. See, everybody wins when Asdrubal Cabrera is healthy!
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
Well, it was a win. And if June was any indication, those are very hard to come by. It probably won’t get that bad again. It can’t get that bad again, right? Right…right? Either way, it feels much better having already achieved 20 percent of the prior-month win-total. Steven Matz pitched well, Asdrubal Cabrera homered. Todd Frazier picked up a few hits, as well, as he reached base in each game of the series. There were plenty of good signs to come from Sunday, but it was the Marlins. So take it with a grain of salt, I guess.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets have Monday off, which might set the tone for some much needed reflection. Following the 81st game last season, the Mets were 38-43. We were all made to write off 2017 as a fluke, or at least buy in to the explanation that improved health would lead to improved results. We were made to believe 2018 was supposed to be better. At this point, if you haven’t realized that sentiment is woefully and naïvely optimistic, then I don’t really know what to tell you. The Mets are now 33-48. They sit a half-game above the worst team in the National League. A team that just took two of three from them.
If you want to know how this gets better, there is only one answer. You do not trade Jacob deGrom. You do not trade Syndergaard. It really doesn’t matter if you change out every coach in the organization. All that matters is that the man who replaces them will still look to fill their shoes with someone similar. Nothing matters, nothing changes, without any move being matched with a change in ownership. Whether you want them to spend more or you want the Wilpons to stop micromanaging or you want the Wilpons to face Mets fans. All of those reasons are valid. All of those reasons are where any ‘where do we go from here’ conversation should begin.
Photo credit: Jason Vinlove – USA Today Sports