Rick Ankiel has 12 strikeouts in his last 13 at-bats

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Rick Ankiel, like the Astros as a whole, hasn’t been the same since Opening Night.

Ankiel delivered a pinch-hit homer off Derek Lowe in the Astros’ season-opening win over the Rangers, but since then he’s come to the plate 13 times and here are the results:

Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Line Out
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout
Strikeout

That would be 0-for-13 with 12 strikeouts and a line out, which makes the Opening Day excitement seem like it was a million years ago.

(Complicated handshake to David Cameron of Fan Graphs for taking notice of Ankiel’s stretch.)

Steven Matz homers in back-to-back starts

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Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.

Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).

Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.

Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.