As the Mets look ahead to their potential playoff rotation there’s been some speculation that rookie left-hander Steven Matz could be shifted to the bullpen, but manager Terry Collins shut down that notion.
Matz is due off the disabled list Tuesday after missing the past six weeks with a torn lat muscle and here’s what Collins told Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star Ledger about the possibility of a bullpen role down the stretch and/or into October:
You’re talking about a guy who’s had injury issues. To ask him to do something he hasn’t done before. To try to go warm up fast and get ready in a hurry–I’m not sure it’s fair to him.
Which makes sense, but here’s the thing: Matz made just two starts for the Mets before going on the disabled list and unless he’s absolutely lights-out as a starter in September they seem unlikely to trust him enough to be in the playoff rotation ahead of, say, veteran Jon Niese. In which case it would either be a bullpen role or no role for Matz in the playoffs, and “no role” would be a shame for a young pitcher with so much upside.
Picking up where Drew left off on Sunday… Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez stayed hot on Monday against the Mets, hitting an opposite field two-run home run to put the Rockies up 2-1 in the fourth inning against starter Jon Niese.
Gonzalez has now hit 16 home runs in his last 28 games, giving him 26 on the season along with 64 RBI and a .282/.339/.551 batting line. He’s homered 13 times since the All-Star break, the most in baseball in that span of time. That’s as many as the Braves and four more than the Marlins have hit as a team in the second half.
We have a trend here. Last week we heard about Mets left-hander Jon Niese, but now it’s Ian Kennedy’s turn. According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Kennedy watched the birth of his daughter on FaceTime yesterday before allowing two runs over seven innings against the Marlins.
Kennedy’s wife, Allison, went into labor with their fourth child yesterday morning. He attempted to make it back to Southern California, but his flight from Miami was delayed due to inclement weather and his wife eventually just told him to stay and pitch. His daughter, Evelyn Nicole, was born just about two hours before the start of the game.
Kennedy allowed a two-run homer to Christian Yelich in the first inning, but held the Marlins off the board the rest of the way. The special day functioned as motivation for him.
“Giving up the homer helped shake it up a little bit,” he said. “[I thought], ‘Hey, I’m out here on a big league mound, you’ve got to step it up. What are you going to tell your daughter after you’re all done?’ It was just fun to pitch. Now I get to go home. I just want to hold her.”
Kennedy, who was among the many prominent names who remained with the Padres through Friday’s trade deadline, was scheduled to leave the team this morning to be with his family. He’s expected to return for his next start on Wednesday against the Brewers.