By Gem Tablak
On April 11th, young lefty phenom Steven Matz went 1.2 while giving up 7 ER’s on 6 hits that evening. On that night, it seemed like the Mets internet community split down the middle on how they felt about Matz & even the notion on if he should be wearing a major league uniform. Coming into the season, Matz employed a 2.27 ERA with a WHIP of 1.23 in 6 starts over the span of 35.2 innings. It’s not a big sample size but if you asked me coming into this year, I would tell you “Of course I want those numbers in my rotation, who wouldn’t?”
Then Steven made the first start of the 2016 season against the Marlins in CitiField & got obliterated. While most fans took the “We’ll get em next time approach”, a lot of fans demanded Steven Matz’ head on a stake. Ok, not really. But a lot of the Twittersphere did suggest that Matz is not yet MLB ready because of that one start. Which really led me to ask “What about his prior 32 innings that suggests he’s a star?” But fresh off the loss to the fish, fan did not want to hear it nor did they care about his previous stretch.
Since that first start, Matz hasn’t been demoted to AAA. On the contrary, he went out on the mound every 5th game & won every single game since. In 8 starts, including his first, Matz is 7-1 with a 2.36 ERA going into Tuesday nights game against the Chicago WhiteSox. I’d like to say what a great improvement but these numbers are right in line with what he was putting up last year. So with a career record of 11-1 with a 2.32 ERA over 85.1 innings, yes, I do believe Matz is not only a viable piece in the rotation but also a legitimate candidate for rookie of the year.