In my latest article in the Rockland County Times this week, I wrote, “Matz Excels and Harvey Improves,” and this particular sub-headline appears to have been as long lasting as an ice cube left on a hot sunny sidewalk. For Matz, concerns were raised by his inability to take the mound this weekend due to elbow pain while for Harvey, the concern is his inability to get out of the sixth inning.
After picking up his fifth consecutive victory on Monday, the Mets announced two days later that Matz would miss his next scheduled start on Saturday in Colorado due to elbow pain. The Long Island lefty has won nine of his first ten career decisions since being called up late last June but in the middle of those decisions he missed two months of 2015 due to a lat injury. Matz will be evaluated when the team returns to New York on Monday but he’s also someone whose development was delayed when he underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the Mets drafted him in 2009 so the optimism about his stellar performance for the Mets has been tempered by concerns about his durability. Could he be a Mets version of Clay Bucholz of the Red Sox, eg. someone who’s talented enough to pitch a no-hitter, win 17 games in one season, go 12-1 in another season and yet also be someone who goes on the DL seven times in eight years?
Matt Harvey confounded conventional wisdom last season when he pitched so well in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, so far, he’s confounding the conventional wisdom that pitchers perform better in their second year back from Tommy John surgery. Team leader and titular ace of the staff, Harvey has lost five of eight decisions this season and his performance on Friday against the Rockies was particularly troubling considering his velocity was down and it followed his best start of the season on Sunday against the Padres. The Mets ace said he feels fine physically but is confused about his struggles. “I’m just not feeling comfortable throwing a baseball right now,” he said after the Rockies rocked him 5-2 on Friday.
On the other hand, most of this week’s article was about Bartolo Colon and his first career home run and I wrote (tongue in cheek), “What will Bartolo Colon do for an encore? Hit two home runs in one game?” While he hasn’t hit two home runs in a game (yet), in the hours between my writing that sentence and the publication of the article, his teammate Noah Syndergaaard became only the second Mets pitcher to hit two home runs in one game when he defeated the Dodgers 4-3 on Wednesday.