MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants

Game recap September 1: Matz more like it

Steven Matz was utterly dominant in his 25th start of the 2018 season, tossing seven innings of one-run ball against an Andrew McCutchen-less Giants offense.

The former top prospect has battled injuries in his brief career, clearing the 20-start plateau only once since making his debut in 2015. He hasn’t escaped the usual nicks and dings in 2018, but he’s avoided major injury and looks primed to set a career high in innings.

Matz showed what he’s fully capable of Saturday, allowing just four base runners on the afternoon while striking out 11. He was efficient too, walking just one Giant and using only 93 pitches to get through seven. Health in the rotation is always a question mark for this organization and 2019 figures to be no different. A healthy Matz is almost a must, as the internal starting pitching depth looks pretty thin at this point.

Old friend Tomas Nido collected his first two hits since being recalled from Binghamton last week. He went 2-4 on the afternoon, including an RBI double that scored Brandon Nimmo to tie things up at one apiece. Nido will compete for the backup job in spring training but it’d admittedly be a mild surprise if he were to begin the 2019 season on the Opening Day roster.

Swiss Army Pitching Knife Seth Lugo gave the orange and blue two scoreless innings to force extras in San Francisco. His 2019 role is to be determined — by whom I’m unsure —  but he could fill a variety of different roles depending on how the offseason goes. I’m still of the belief that he belongs in the rotation, but I’ll acknowledge that there’s an argument to be made that he remain in the pen.

Jerry Blevins, a free agent to be, picked up his second win of the season. He was a candidate to be traded before the waiver deadline, but the Mets decided against it for an unknown reason. Daniel Zamora will likely fill the Blevins role in the bullpen next year unless the Mets decide to re-sign the lefty, in which I could then envision a scenario where Zamora is DFA’d off the 40-man instead.

After pledging to use his proven relievers less in an effort to get a look at the new guys, Mickey Callaway instead turned to Robert Gsellman for a second straight day. There’s no good reason to overwork a reliever who figures to begin 2019 as the closer, especially in a lost season, but a master of strategy Callaway is not. With Tyler Bashlor, Drew Smith and now Eric Hanhold in the bullpen, it’s time for Callaway to experiment with the young guys.

Photo credit: Neville E. Guard – USA Today Sports

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