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Factors At Play In Mickey Callaway’s Decision To Remove Steven Matz For Seth Lugo

Steven Matz was absolutely cruising having thrown fewer than 100 pitches in the game. He had not allowed a hit for over four innings, and Josh Donaldson was due up in the bottom half of the inning. This was going to be the third time Matz was going to face Donaldson in the game. We all know where things went from there.

Mickey Callaway kept Matz in the game. He allowed a single to Freddie Freeman before allowing a go-ahead two run homer to Donaldson putting the Mets behind 4-2. Things quickly unraveled with Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies hitting consecutive doubles to expand the Braves lead to 5-2 before Callaway could get Chris Flexen into the game to get Matz out of the jam.

No, that wasn’t last night’s game. That was the June 19 game against the Braves at SunTrust Park.

This has been Matz throughout his Major League career. He has the tendency to show brilliant flashes only to suddenly lose it. Recalling back to Game 4 of the 2015 World Series, he completely shut down the Royals for four innings before the Royals got to him for a run in the fifth. He began the sixth allowing hard hits to Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain leading to Terry Collins having to go get Jon Niese to bail him out.

These are just two of the countless examples where Matz seemed to be dominating only to unexpectedly lose it. This has left his managers scrambling to get people up in the bullpen to bail him out. On a number of those occasions, it is too late.

When you are sitting in the dugout, this is exactly what needs to go through your mind. You need to remember of all those instances where Matz blew it. You have to remember opposing batters hit .284/.330/.490 when facing him a third time in the game this year.

While you may want to say it’s the bottom of the lineup, but it still was not a good situation for Matz. Adam Duvall is hitting .400/.412/.800 against LHP this year. Johan Camargo is 3-for-7 with a homer against Matz. And of course, there was the Donaldson June 19 homer against the Braves in a similar situation to what we saw last night.

If you are a manager in the dugout, you have seen Matz for almost two full years now. In the bottom of the sixth, Ronald Acuna Jr., Albies, and Freeman each had hard hit balls. Likely, one or two of those balls drop if Juan Lagares wasn’t vintage Lagares last night.

You have seen him have random and sudden implosions. You have the numbers at hand. You saw him run the bases and deal with a delay when Dallas Keuchel was removed from the game. There was another delay when Pete Alonso‘s follow through hit Tyler Flowers in the mask.

Take everything into consideration. Are you still trusting Matz, or are you going to Seth Lugo, a pitcher you honestly believe is the best reliever in all of baseball? Even if you personally disagree with the move, taking everything into account, can you really sit there and say it was a dumb decision.

If you’re being objective, no, you cannot honestly conclude it was dumb to remove Matz for Lugo. It’s fair to disagree or raise reasonable objections. But to suggest this was a stupid decision is to completely ignore everything is just lying and being purely reactionary to one of the rare times Lugo didn’t have it.

 

5 thoughts on “Factors At Play In Mickey Callaway’s Decision To Remove Steven Matz For Seth Lugo”

  1. David Klein says:

    Well that game was something else with both bullpens blowing up but the Mets bullpen having its doors completely blown off while the Braves bullpen barely and I mean barely holding on. If Steven Matz got hurt on the bases well what can you do? You can’t beat on Callaway because he went to his best reliever but if Mickey pulled Matz for no real reason he’s a bloody fool. Matz pitched a terrific game keeping the Braves off balance with a steady diet of changeups, curves and sliders. He dominated even the tenuous top of the lineup.

    Lugo got a little beat up but only one ball was hit over 90 mph off of him and Ramos not tagging Joyce out and Alonso once again for like the fourth time on a week running after the second baseman’s ball was once again costly. I’m not sure what Pete’s thinking but he’s gone after balls like that again and again lately and it cost them especially dearly today.

    The Mets ninth inning might have gone differently if the ump didn’t make a terrible 2-0 strike call on Alonso that changed the course of Alonso’s at bat that said, Carmago gave them extra life and Ramos and Conforto had hideous at bats to end the game. Conforto between 2017-2018 put up a 112 wRC+ vs lefties but this year has been helpless vs lefties and even a give up at bat against them at times.

    This road trip feels like the tipping point from wild card contention to oblivion with McNeil out.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Today is not a must win, but the Mets need to stop the bleeding.

  2. VINCENT CAPOBIANCO says:

    That is so wrong. What REALLY happened last night was Calloway actually thought it was the 8th inning, not the 7th. Look closely at his words! “Lugo is our best reliever, he’s been our best pitcher overall lately, so the reward is he puts up two zeros, you win the game.” Those are his EXACT words! If he puts up 2 zeros we win. That’s not true UNLESS you think it’s the 8th inning! This move would have made sense (except for removing Davis) if it were the 8th, which explains why he made it and how he defended it. He simply didn’t know what inning it was. He needs to be fired right now.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      He also discussed who he would use in the ninth, but go on with your narrative.

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