After spending several days being non-committal about Steven Matz making his next start, Luis Rojas announced after tonight’s game that Seth Lugo will be tomorrow’s starter in the series finale against the Marlins in Miami. This announcement was expected after the Mets notably did not use Lugo in tonight’s game during a situation where he would normally be called upon to protect a late-inning lead. Rojas also noted that Matz, who has pitched to a 9.00 ERA in five starts this season, will be available out of the bullpen.
However, what was not necessarily expected was the added announcement that this will not be a spot start for Lugo; he will be stretched out to stay in the rotation indefinitely. Whether this is due to anticipation of a prolonged stint in the bullpen for the struggling Matz, a lengthier than expected absence for David Peterson, or some other reason is unclear. What is clear is that Lugo will finally get the chance to prove himself in the rotation again, something he has not been shy about wanting for years now.
As a starter in his career, Lugo has pitched to a solid 4.06 ERA over 168 1⁄3 innings with 138 strikeouts and 45 walks. Of course, he elevated his game as a relief pitcher—so much so that the Mets outright refused to put him back in the rotation in the past when they could have, often going with lesser options because Lugo had made himself so indispensable to the team as a reliever. But with the rotation in shambles and their backs up against the wall, the Mets evidently feel that they have no choice but to give the “Seth Lugo as a starter” experiment another try at the expense of their bullpen, hoping to recreate some 2016 magic alongside Robert Gsellman.