It didn’t take long for Mets manager Mickey Callaway to learn today wasn’t going to belong to Steven Matz. When a pitcher throws 26 pitches in the first inning, even if he doesn’t give up any runs, you know he won’t be long for that game.
Callaway knew it was the same old problem for Matz – fastball command.
“He struggled with his release point and couldn’t establish the fastball needed to set-up his other pitches,’’ said Callaway. “He battled himself all game. He didn’t execute his pitches. He was struggling from the get-go and couldn’t locate his fastball.’’
Callaway said Matz didn’t have confidence, but that’s now how he started the day that ended in a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.
“I was trying to do a little too much out there. I was really smooth and easy before the game and was feeling really confident,’’ Matz said. “Then when a hitter stepped in, I was trying to make my pitches better and that’s when I get in trouble.
“I was leaving the ball up a lot and they were able to get their barrels on it. When I don’t have my fastball command that’s where it all starts for me.’’
I’ve been saying all along that it is way too early to make any definitive judgments on anything pertaining to the Mets and that includes on Matz. However, today does raise a red flag.
EXTRA INNINGS: Juan Lagares started in center because Brandon Nimmo had flu-like symptoms and responded with three hits. Nimmo was sent home and not available. … Michael Conforto will return to New York and is scheduled to face Jason Vargas in a simulated game Monday. There is a chance Conforto could be activated from the DL as early as Thursday. … Anthony Swarzak will have his sore left oblique muscle re-examined Monday.