Amazin’ Matz Strikes Again

All seemed lost yesterday, didn’t it?  We couldn’t hit to save our lives; we hadn’t scored in 17 innings; we had just lost to the Braves, the worst team money can buy.

The difference 24 hours can make has been illustrated, by games like today’s, time and again, but it never fails to amaze.

I sat in a hot, sweaty room, taking a spanish test, as the game began.  I’ll be done in two weeks; until then, I’ve got three hours of Mets baseball a day to sustain me.

My phone buzzed; I checked the clock.  1:37.

Was it the bottom of the first?  Top of the second?  Bottom of the second?  Who had scored?  I had no way to tell.

But didn’t I?

We’d had some of our worst luck of the year the previous night, hitting line drives left and right that simply refused to find the grass.  We had Steven Matz on the mound, rearing to continue lowering his E.R.A. from its high-water mark of 37.20.  We had luck on our side.

Of course we would score first.

I will admit, though, that upon checking my phone after finishing the test, I was more than a little surprised to find that Rene Rivera had done the hitting for us.  I’d thought that Rene Rivera was one of those guys whose offense was rumored, but never actually observed.  As the Mets have been doing since being 2-5, he proved the detractors wrong.

Two in the second; four in the third; two in the fifth.  And all this scoring without the captain in the lineup; with Conforto taking an ofer, along with Granderson and Walker; with Plawecki on the bench as well.  But this is what good teams do, and we’re nothing if not a good team: they beat the obstacles.  They win even when things don’t look good.

Of course, given the performance that Matz turned in on the mound, a loss, today, would have been hard to come by.  Matz is 4-1, 2.83 E.R.A.  His E.R.A. is less than 1/13 of what it was after his first start.  He’s won four consecutive decisions.  Since that infamous anonymous scout assessed that he needed some more time in the minors, his E.R.A. is substantially below 1.00.

In offseason discussion of the four aces, consensus was that Matz hadn’t yet proven himself.  Has he done so yet?  Can we, to paraphrase an erstwhile former presidential candidate, dispense with the fiction that Steven Matz doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing?

Just look at the line: 7.2 innings, two hits, no walks, no runs, eight strikeouts.  Yes, it’s the Braves.  It’s also a Braves lineup that scored three runs yesterday.  Matz was masterful; Matz is, as a matter of course, masterful.  Or Matz-terful.  He’s got a name that befits mastery for the Mets, not that his name has contributed at all to the success he’s seen so far.

We’re 17-9, and that’s despite some bad luck, a struggling Matt Harvey who may yet return to form, and a 2-5 start.  Can you imagine what we’ll do when we’re working perfectly?

Hell, it might start tomorrow.  I mean, it could start anytime — that’s the beauty of this team.  But really, it might start tomorrow.

We’re off to San Diego for three with the Padres.  We’ve got deGrom, Thor, and Bartolo.  They’ve got three Padres starters.

My dad texted me after the win, as he’s taken to doing since I’ve been away from home.  “The Mets won their sixth consecutive series for the first time since 2006,” he wrote.

Six?  That’s nothing.  We’ve got the Padres coming up, then the Dodgers, then the Rockies, then the Nationals.  Let’s make it ten.  Hell, let’s win every series we play.

It’s almost hard not to, when you’ve got deGrom, Thor, or Matz going three out of every five days, not to mention Harvey and Bartolo on the other two.


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