SAN DIEGO -- Steven Matz awoke the morning of July 9 with a 2.12 ERA, the proud owner of 17 consecutive scoreless innings. After spending the season's first two months on the disabled list, Matz looked healthy and sturdy, capable of giving the Mets a key rotation complement to Jacob
SAN DIEGO -- Steven Matz awoke the morning of July 9 with a 2.12 ERA, the proud owner of 17 consecutive scoreless innings. After spending the season's first two months on the disabled list, Matz looked healthy and sturdy, capable of giving the Mets a key rotation complement to Jacob deGrom.
Matz allowed a run in the first inning that day to snap his scoreless streak, eventually giving up five in total. Then he coughed up seven in his next outing. Then another three after that. By the time he walked off the Petco Park mound in the third inning Wednesday night, serving up six more runs a 6-3 loss to the Padres, the Mets were officially concerned.
Matz is 0-3 with a 14.18 ERA over his last four starts, bloating his season mark to 5.51. Opposing batters have hit .472 off him. His next start comes at Coors Field, of all places, where the Mets will watch with apprehension.
"I feel like every time I miss my spot by a few inches, they're just killing it," Matz said. "They're getting the barrel on it and they're crushing it. It does catch me by surprise, because I've missed my pitches before. But I think there's just a sharpness that I'm lacking a little bit right now, and I've got to get back to it."
Oft injured throughout his career, Matz has generally pitched well when healthy, demonstrating the type of talent that made him the Mets' top pick in the 2009 Draft. But like so many teams this month, the Padres had little trouble squaring up Matz from the start.
Manuel Margot hit a two-run homer before Matz recorded an out, sparking a four-hit first inning that could have been worse. In the third, Matz allowed two triples -- including one from Luis Torrens with the bases loaded -- a double, a single and a hit batsman, giving up four more runs.
He departed after that, allowing six runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and zero walks. Matz threw just 66 pitches.
"It's balls down the middle," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "If you look at a lot of the replays of the hits, they were center cut."
Given Matz's history of aches, pains and surgeries, it is easy to look at his recent results and wonder about his health. Collins says he checks with the left-hander daily about his physical condition, with nothing alarming coming to his attention, of late. When asked late Wednesday night if he's at all fatigued, Matz replied that he feels "good and healthy."
Attempting to mix things up between starts, Matz threw two bullpen sessions this week, mimicking the routine that has helped make deGrom so successful. But it did not help Matz regain his location.
So far, nothing has helped Matz, who admitted that "there's really no excuses."
"It stinks to put your team in a position like that, in the third inning to be down six runs," Matz said. "But for me, I've got to stay positive. You've got to put it in the past. I've just got to address it and keep moving forward because I have to start again in six days. I've got to just try to figure out how to put my team in position to win."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.