An Athlete's Best Ability is Their Availability
New York Mets: Familiar Place for a Familiar Face; Steven Matz Returns to Disabled List for Fifth Time in Four Years.
Steven Matz is 5-9 with a 4.35 ERA, to date. A career high 3.4 W/9 paired with 103 hits allowed through 107.2 innings give him a 1.337 WHiP, while an 8.3 K/9 is on par with his career average.
It's true he still pouts when games do not go his way. Numbers aside, however, we know when healthy and focused he is measurably better than his line reflects.
Or so we think ...
He is also one game away from tying his career high of 22 starts set in 2016, his first full season with the Mets. That year, Matz goes 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.209 WHiP, with 129 strikeouts.
This season, Matz gets his ERA down to a season low 3.31 as recently as his July 7 start against Tampa. However, over his next three starts Matz surrenders twelve earned runs in 17.1 innings for an unsightly 6.31 ERA. Then comes his most recent start at Washington, in which he fails to pitch out of the first inning, surrendering another seven earned runs on eight hits and a walk.
That takes place the day of the non-waiver trade deadline thus inspiring me to ponder whether Matz in the process spent the previous month scaring off prospective shoppers. After all, the Pirates, Yankees, Red Sox and others demonstrated pitching was very much in demand.
Although the Mets say they're taking an overly conservative approach with regard to Matz' latest setback, the fact remains: this is the fifth time in four seasons Steven is being placed on the disabled list. And for a third straight occurrence, a defective elbow is to blame.
If not already, then his unavailability is fast becoming his most glaring liability. Here we are back to playing a game of wait and see what his future holds, again. This situation further exemplifies a recurring condition particular to the Mets fans: when does hope end, and exasperation begin? As such, there's something to be said for both reliability and durability. The emergence of Zack Wheeler certainly brings that of Matz into question. He is still only 27-years old and under Mets control till 2022. Although Matz is not likely getting pushed out the door any time soon, I would argue his future with the club should be influenced by potential suitors - or lack thereof - this coming off-season.