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Mets to try utilizing a six-man rotation

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Injuries have ravaged the Mets' starting rotation this season, and with the expected returns of Steven Matz and Seth Lugo from the disabled list, manager Terry Collins has decided to experiment with a six-man rotation.

The Mets are currently playing a stretch of 18 games without an off-day, and the pitching staff owns the second-worst team ERA in the Majors.

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ATLANTA -- Injuries have ravaged the Mets' starting rotation this season, and with the expected returns of Steven Matz and Seth Lugo from the disabled list, manager Terry Collins has decided to experiment with a six-man rotation.

The Mets are currently playing a stretch of 18 games without an off-day, and the pitching staff owns the second-worst team ERA in the Majors.

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Collins believes that having a six-man rotation will help alleviate strenuous innings on the rotation.

"I think you need to let [Matz and Lugo] get their feet wet and let them see how well they do," Collins said. "I haven't seen them in a while and they haven't pitched in a big league game in a while. So, I think with their injuries and the way we looked at the other guys, the six-man rotation is going to help out. They know they just have to do their part."

Both Matz and Lugo are returning from elbow inflammation. Matz is expected to make his season debut on Saturday in the Mets doubleheader. Before injuring his left elbow, he was one of the Mets' premier starters to take the next step in his development.

Matz went 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts last season. He said that he has been working to refine the command of his pitches during his rehab.

"It's the same every year in refining everything like my fastball, curveball and changeup," Matz said. "I was working on location and holding runners, the whole deal."

Both pitchers will join fellow starters Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman in the potential six-man rotation. As a group, the starters have a 5.07 ERA on the season.

"It's definitely huge, as they know how to get people out and they have good stuff," infielder Wilmer Flores said. "To have them back is definitely going to make us better, and I feel good about it."

The Mets will ease both Matz and Lugo back into the rotation. They are expected to have a limit of 100 pitches in their return start. The concern is to have them make it through the start without any issues. Collins reiterated that their success will determine if the six-man rotation will stick for the foreseeable future.

"It may change again," Collins said. "If one of those guys come out of their start with an issue, then we won't do it."

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

New York Mets