Eye on MLB, June 28: Steven Matz impressive in debut for Mets
Welcome to the Eye for Sunday, where we'll be updating news, injuries, rumors and key highlights from all things MLB. The big story? Hot pitching prospect Steven Matz had a great debut.
Another day in Major League Baseball, another top pitching prospect makes his major league debut for the New York Mets. This one's different, and not just because his name is almost "Mets," but Steven Matz makes for a left-handed complement to Noah Syndergaard and the other high falutin' prospects they have brought forth the past few years. Like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Thor, he has a chance to be top-of-the-rotation good.
Matz throws about 95 mph with a curve that has emerged as his best breaking pitch. Overall, he has posted a 2.29 ERA with 380 strikeouts in 365 2/3 innings three-plus minor league seasons since having Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. His numbers at Triple-A Las Vegas this are most encouraging: A 2.19 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings is rarefied air, as CBS's own Chris Towers reported.
As for Matz against major-leaguers, he definitely looked the part on the hill (we'll get to his bat in a second). He'd last 7 2/3 innings -- which was huge for the Mets, considering they were just coming off a 13-inning affair earlier in the day -- giving up just two runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Credit Matz for quickly bouncing back, too, as the first batter he ever faced in the majors was Brandon Phillips, who hit a home run.
"I just thought, you know what, I just got my first batter out of the way and now it's time to go to work," Matz said after the game.
And that's exactly what he did.
Matz settled in and went to work. He was easily the best all-around player in the game. He was the winning pitcher as the Mets took the game, 7-2, and swept the series against the Reds. After a seven-game losing streak, the Mets have won four in a row.
For as good as he was on the mound, Matz was actually better with the stick. His first career at-bat was a two-RBI double. Next time up, he singled. In the bottom of the sixth, Matz stepped in with the bases loaded and a 3-2 lead. He'd single home two.
When the dust settled, Matz was 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI. He was hitting .304 (7-for-23) in Triple-A, so he can handle a bat pretty well.
This was the first time in recorded history (which goes back to 1914) that a pitcher had at least three hits and three RBI in his MLB debut. In fact, including all players, this just the 11th time that a player debuted with at least three hits and four RBI. Until this season, it hadn't happened since 1999, but Matz joins Mark Canha and Joey Gallo to make it three in 2015 who pulled it off (baseball-reference.com's play index has the full list).
There are no Mets on that list, by the way, so the only player in history to debut with the Mets with at least three hits and four RBI is Steven Matz.
That's one heck of a double-threat debut and it's certainly an act that will be tough to follow.
Mets 7, Reds 2: Recap | Box score
Phillies 8, Nationals 5: Recap | Box score
Cardinals 4, Cubs 1: Recap | Box score
A reminder about the Cardinals, who have lost one home game this month:
Longest active hit streak: It's still Jason Kipnis of the Indians. He came into Saturday riding a 20-game hit streak but the team's game was rained out. Kipnis will try to get hits in both ends of Sunday's doubleheader to extend his hitting streak. He's only 36 games short of tying Joe DiMaggio! UPDATE: Kipnis failed to record a hit in game one of the doubleheader Sunday, so it's over.
Pujols watch: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is sitting on 1,650 RBI for his career. He's two shy of tying Tony Perez for 28th place all-time. He'll stay right there through Sunday, as he failed to collect an RBI.
Big Papi for extra bases
That’s 1,055 career XBHs for Ortiz. Matches Chipper Jones for 25th place all-time.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) June 28, 2015
King Felix fun
This is the 110th time Felix Hernandez has fanned 8 or more in a game. Passes Hall of Famer Bob Feller for 20th most in history— Gary Hill (@GaryHillJr) June 28, 2015
Happy Josh Beckett Day
Hey, he did help them win a World Series in 2003 (he was the MVP of the series!)
Ostrich ride of the day
Thief of the day
Juan Lagares keeps picking it in center
Bus of the day
This is pretty stout.
Transaction of the day
"Hey buddy, how much for that home run ball?" pic.twitter.com/ib8AAsmFeV— MASN Nationals (@masnNationals) June 28, 2015
Pitcher home run of the day
Madison Bumgarner wasn't about to let Steven Matz have all the fun when it came to pitchers hitting well.
Injuries, News & Rumors
Looking ahead to the final Monday in June:
|AWAY||HOME||TIME||AWAY STARTER||HOME STARTER||NATL TV|
|Texas||Baltimore||6:05 pm||Rodriguez (4-3) - 4.06 ERA||Norris (2-6) - 6.70 ERA||ESPN|
|Milwaukee||Philadelphia||6:05 pm||Nelson (4-8) - 4.34 ERA||O'Sullivan (1-5) - 5.34 ERA|
|Boston||Toronto||6:07 pm||Buchholz (5-6) - 3.68 ERA||Dickey (3-7) - 4.88 ERA|
|Cleveland||Tampa Bay||6:10 pm||Anderson (0-0) - 0.00 ERA||Karns (4-3) - 3.28 ERA|
|Minnesota||Cincinnati||6:10 pm||Pelfrey (5-4) - 3.06 ERA||Leake (5-4) - 3.91 ERA|
|Kansas City||Houston||7:10 pm||Duffy (2-3) - 5.44 ERA||McCullers (3-2) - 2.33 ERA|
|L.A. Dodgers||Arizona||8:40 pm||Bolsinger (4-2) - 2.95 ERA||Webster (1-1) - 6.46 ERA|
|N.Y. Yankees||L.A. Angels||9:05 pm||Sabathia (3-7) - 5.65 ERA||Wilson (5-6) - 3.92 ERA|
|Colorado||Oakland||9:05 pm||Hale (2-2) - 5.86 ERA||Graveman (4-4) - 3.86 ERA|
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