Steven Matz is still experiencing stiffness in his back and will not pitch on Thursday, Terry Collins told reporters before Wednesday’s game.
After Wednesday’s game, Collins said that tests on Matz’ back came back negative. Matz was diagnosed with a muscle spasm and given medication, and he’ll likely pitch this weekend, Collins said (Sept. 30).
Matz was originally scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but was bumped back a day due to a stiff back he said was from sleeping poorly. Sean Gilmartin will start in his place on Thursday.
“He slept on the wrong side. He slept on the sofa. I don’t know what happened,” GM Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday, about the stiffness bothering Matz, according to ESPN reporter Adam Rubin (Sept. 29. 5:00 pm). “He seems to be better today.”
“It’s still lingering,” Matz said Wednesday about the back issue. “We’re not going to push anything. It’s just a little stiff in my back. When you wake up with a crick in your neck, it’s kind of like that, just in my upper back.”
According to Collins, it’s important the Mets figure out what is going on with Matz, because they do not want him on the NLDS roster if he ends up unable to pitch. More importantly, if he’s on the NLDS roster, unable to pitch and removed, he would become ineligible to be on the NLCS roster.
The Dodgers clinched the NL West for the third straight season and locked in an NLDS matchup against the Mets, as LHP Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 batters in a one-hit, 8-0 shutout against the Giants.
Three days after the Mets officially clinched the NL East, Kershaw out-dueled last year’s World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, retiring his final 19 batters faced. Kershaw moved within six strikeouts of baseball’s first 300-strikeout season in 13 years.
The Mets are currently one game better than the Dodgers in the race for home field advantage during the NL Division Series, which begins Oct. 9. In the event the two teams end up tied, the Mets win home field because they took four or seven games from the Dodgers during the regular season.
“We’ve still got something to play for,” said Kershaw, who is 11-2 with a 1.26 ERA during his last 17 starts.
Zack Greinke and Kershaw rank first and third, respectively, in the National League in ERA and have WHIPs under 0.90. The Dodgers are 41-22 with their aces on the mound, but are 47-47 when they don’t pitch.
The Dodgers were ousted from the 2013 NLCS in six games and lost in four games during last year’s NLDS.
“We’ve done this now three times in a row,” Kershaw said. “We’d like to get a little further, obviously, but tonight’s a night for celebrating.”
Juan Uribe‘s chest injury in improving, but he is still unable to play, Terry Collins told reporters Tuesday.
Collins recently said he didn’t expect Uribe to attempt to play again until at least this weekend at home against the Nationals.
There is a chance he could remain unavailable through the postseason (Sept. 26, 2015).
“I hate to repeat this, but we’ll just have to see what happens over the next week,” Sandy Alderson added, while speaking to reporters before Tuesday’s game.
Uribe initially bruised his chest on Sept. 20 diving for a groundball in the outfield, but an MRI came back negative. He aggravated the injury last Friday against the Reds, which forced him to leave the game in the middle of his pinch-hit at-bat.
This is going to impact how Alderson and Collins pick their postseason roster. In the event Uribe is not available, which is looking more and more likely every day, it should mean Ruben Tejada, Kelly Johnson and Juan Lagares are locks to make the cut. However, if Uribe can play, the Mets will want him to be involved. He has become an important personality and leader in the clubhouse, plus his experience in playoff games, in clutch spots, will be super valuable off the bench on what is a very inexperienced roster. I don’t know who gets left off, in the event Uribe is selected. My hunch is it will be Tejada, but that’s only if management is confident in his ability to fill in at shortstop. Otherwise, Tejada has to be there. In that case, maybe they leave off Johnson? But, again, he’s so tested and valueable in his role, especially in October, it’s hard to imagine him not in the mix.
In Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Phillies, Bartolo Colon allowed three runs in five innings in what may have been his final start in 2015.
Colon allowed eight hits, including a three-run home run to Darin Ruf in the first inning, while throwing just 65 pitches.
“It was a really bad location – bad execution on my part,” Colon said after the game. “I didn’t want to throw that pitch in that particular location. Anybody who throws that pitch down the middle of the plate like that is going to get hit like I did tonight.”
In his last 11 starts, Colon went 5-3 with a 2.96 ERA.
According to multiple reports, LHP Steven Matz, not Colon, will likely be the team’s fourth starter during the NLDS. However, both manager Terry Collins and GM Sandy Alderson said they have yet to officially determine the playoff rotation and roster.
“I know 14-13 meant a lot for me,” Colon added. “I did everything in my power to help the team and put it in position to win. So, for me, personally, it was an OK season.”
You know what, because this may have been Colon’s last start of 2015, it may also end up being his last start for the Mets. I think there is little chance they re-sign him this winter, which means this is certainly his last rodeo in blue and orange. If the Mets get deep in to the postseason, it’s very possible Colon gets a start or two, because they’re going to face innings and rest issues with Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey. However, if the Mets only play the NLDS or get bounced early in the NLCS, it’s very likely yesterday was Colon’s final start in a Mets uniform. I’ll save a more appropriate farewell and retrospective for when it’s official. However, because he’s been so entertaining and so important the last two years, this seemed worth mentioning in case it gets lost in the upcoming postseason coverage…
The Mets have been trying to fill the lefty-specialist role since February. In Spring Training, they had Josh Edgin, but lost him to an elbow injury. Sandy Alderson acquired Jerry Blevins, but the pitcher ended up breaking his arm — twice. Alderson also acquired Alex Torres and Eric O’Flaherty, but both were totally ineffective. It’s not like Alderson didn’t try to improve, it just never worked out. And he’s still searching with just five games left in the season, now in the form of Niese, who is now taking part in a “second spring training.” The Mets say they intend to work him out in different situations, back to back appearances and more, but I don’t trust that they can have him learn everything he needs to know in just a few games…
The concern I have for Niese is how he so often totally implodes. I mean, if he doesn’t have his A+ arm angle going, he ends up throwing batting practice fastballs and flat off-speed pitches. The good news is that, in the bullpen during a playoff game, while warming up, the bullpen coach will be able to identify if Niese is working with his better stuff. If he is, great, they can bring him in. If he isn’t, they can go to anyone else, unlike when he’s the starting pitcher and they had no choice but to let him throw.
Lucas Duda hit two home runs, but the Mets lost to the Phillies, 4-3, on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
In San Francisco, the Dodgers beat the Giants, clinching the NL West title and moving within 1 game of the Mets for home field advantage in the NLDS…
Steven Matz has body stiffness, which might have been caused by how he slept on Monday night, and his next start has been pushed back to Thursday. Mets GM Sandy Alderson said it is a minor issue and should not impact his ability to pitch in the postseason.
Matt Harvey will likely start Game 3 of the NLDS, which will be his only start during the first round, Alderson said.
Jon Niese made his first relief appearance since 2011 on Tuesday, allowing one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings on Tuesday.
What’s on tap for Wednesday, September 30
The Mets continue their three-game series against the Phillies on Wednesday in Philadelphia at 7:05 p.m. ET on SNY.
Logan Verrett (1-2, 3.40 ERA) gets the start for the Mets. He’ll be opposed by Alec Asher (0-5, 7.52 ERA) for Philadelphia.
For every Mets home run hit at Citi Field® this season, Citi will show their appreciation to an NYC community partner with a $2,000 donation. Visit mets.com/citi to see this season’s grand total to date.