It looked like Steven Matz’s season was on the upswing when he led the Mets to a win over San Diego last Sunday while allowing just one hit in seven-and-one-third scoreless innings. There’s always a catch with these 2016 Mets, though.
This time, it’s that Matz started feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder two days after the outstanding start. The lefty isn’t too worried about the issue yet, but it’s going to force New York to replace Matz for his scheduled start Friday night in San Francisco.
"It was bothering me a little bit," Matz said. "The next day I was throwing and I was still feeling it, so I didn't throw my bullpen, hoping it would get better. There's still some discomfort in there, so just decided to take it day by day."
Seth Lugo will be the man to fill the gap in the rotation. The 26-year-old right-hander has been featured in long relief since being first called up on June 30. In 17 innings this year, he has 16 strikeouts, six walks, a 2.65 ERA, and a 0.94 WHIP. Friday will be Lugo’s first start in the majors, although he has started 14 games at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2016.
Hopefully Matz only has to miss this one turn in the rotation. According to manager Terry Collins, the Mets have been closely watching the southpaw’s mechanics to make sure he isn’t risking further injury by compensating for the bone spur that will eventually have to be removed from his left elbow.
"It's a hole," Collins said. "But you've got to do what's right and what's right is to make sure this kid down the road is going to be healthy. The shoulder is not something you want to mess with. We'll skip him, we'll certainly get him looked at, but it's a hole to fill and right now Seth Lugo is going to be the guy."
In 132.1 innings this season, Matz has a 3.40 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with 129 strikeouts and 31 walks. Limited by injuries last year, he only threw 35.2 innings in his big league debut campaign.