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Mets vs. Padres Recap: Matz can’t escape disaster

In summary, yikes.

MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Another tough outing for Steven Matz led to a 6-3 loss to the Padres and leaves one pondering just what sort of team the Mets will be next season. Matz lasted only three innings and continues to look like a shell of his former self, now running a 5.51 ERA and a 4.94 FIP. The Mets’ offense had some chances, but the Padres played some excellent defense to thwart any comeback attempts.

Matz struggled from the get-go, as Manuel Margot launched a two-run home run to give the Padres a 2-0 lead before the struggling lefty recorded an out. Hunter Renfroe added a ground-rule double, but Matz worked out of that jam to keep the deficit at two runs.

The Mets managed to get one of those runs back in the top of the second, when Jose Reyes drove in Jay Bruce with an RBI single to center. The Mets might have had more, with runners on first and second and two outs, but Matz’s hard line drive was hit directly at Padres’ center fielder Manuel Margot. Matz followed that up with a clean second inning, as he seemed to rein his stuff in and keep it in the bottom of the zone.

That brief glimmer of solid pitching didn’t last long, as the Padres started mashing again in the third. The inning started with a triple by Manuel Margot and a double by Wil Myers to make it 3-0. A hit batter and an infield single (that should have been an error, but hometown scoring) loaded the bases. Two batters later, Luis Torrens cleared them with a triple of his own, pushing the Padres’ lead to 6-0.

Though he managed to escape the inning without allowing anymore Padre runs, that would be all for Steven Matz. He lasted only three innings, allowing nine hits, including two triples, a home run, and two doubles, leading to six runs. His ERA over his past four starts is over 14, and his stuff doesn’t offer much cause for optimism. Everything is flat and usually up in the zone, leading to a ton of hard contact. Whether he’s still fighting an injury or if he’s simply rusty, Matz is not a major-league-caliber pitcher at the moment.

Erik Goeddel relieved Matz and pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts. Tyler Pill followed that up with two scoreless innings of his own, walking one and striking out one in the fifth and sixth innings. The bullpen was all around fantastic last night, keeping the Mets in the game even after a disastrous start.

Unfortunately, the Mets’ offense couldn’t capitalize. Their best opportunity came in the sixth, when two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Lucas Duda lined out to right field, but Jose Reyes walked to force in a run, bringing up Rene Rivera. Rivera hit a rocket up the middle, but shortstop Allen Cordoba made a fantastic diving play, retiring the slow-footed Rivera at first to end the threat.

The Mets never put together a major threat after that. Wilmer Flores added a home run in the eight to cut the deficit to 6-3, but he was the only baserunner the Mets managed over the final three innings.

The loss drops the Mets to 47-52, and serves as a sobering reminder of the current state of the Mets’ pitching staff. Despite being littered with former high draft picks and top prospects, the Mets have maybe two starters (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard) that can be counted on next season. The remaining mish-mash of mediocre and/or injured starters (Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Rafael Montero) will need to provide something next year, or the Mets’ prospects won’t be any better than this season.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jose Reyes, +11.5% WPA
Big losers: Steven Matz, -38.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jose Reyes singles in a run in the second, +10.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Manuel Margot launches a two run homer in the first, -16.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -34.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -15.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Luis Torrens