One would think a manager shouldn’t make too many key pitching decisions in an 8-2 rout, but the Mets’ Terry Collins made a pair Saturday night in Atlanta that could serve to benefit him down the road.
The first was sending starter Steven Matz out for the seventh inning in the left-hander’s second straight start. Matz was stellar last Sunday in Cleveland and was also brilliant against the Braves. Collins could have played in conservatively and gone to the bullpen, but his confidence in sticking with Matz was refreshing.
Matz didn’t make it out of the seventh, but the important thing was that Collins stretched him out. Matz gave up nine hits – but didn’t walk a batter – and had nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings. He threw 98 pitches, which should only help him later.
Collins’ second key decision was allowing right-handed reliever Hansel Robles to stay in and face left-handed hitter Freddie Freeman. The Braves already had a run in and a runner on, but Robles struck out Freeman.
Granted, Freeman has been struggling, but when the easy thing would have been to go by the book, Collins stuck with Robles. That can only benefit both the Mets and Robles in the future.
Were they outlandish gambles? No, but the confidence Collins displayed in Matz and Robles could pay dividends. I especially liked him sticking with Robles.
METS GAME WRAP
Game: #16 Record: 9-7 Streak: W 2
SUMMARY: A solid start by Matz, a strong performance from the bullpen and the Mets continued to rake with 15 hits and two more homers.
KEY MOMENT: The Braves cut the Mets’ lead to 2-1 in the third, but Matz minimized the damage and benefitted from tack-on runs in the fourth.
THUMBS UP: A pair of doubles from David Wright, who also drove in two runs. … Two more hits from Curtis Granderson. … Two hits by Michael Conforto, who also stole his first career base. … Strong relief efforts from Robles, Addison Reed and Logan Verrett. … Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in the ninth. … Two hits by Travis d’Arnaud.
THUMBS DOWN: Eleven strikeouts, 12 runners stranded and going 2-for-16 with RISP.
EXTRA INNINGS: With the win the Mets have won three straight series. … Walker leads the team with seven homers. Tonight’s was the 100th of his career … The Mets have 23 homers in their last eight games.
QUOTEBOOK: “Focus. Taking it one pitch at a time.”- Matz on the key to his success.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6: Consecutive victories by the Mets at Turner Field. Who would have ever thought that could be possible?
NEXT FOR METS: Jacob deGrom makes his second start of the season and first since April 8.