On the list of positive developments for the Mets this season, Steven Matz’s re-emergence is near the top.
But these are the offensively challenged Mets, for whom an excellent start by a pitcher routinely translates into a no-decision or even a loss.
Matz got the full Jacob deGrom treatment Saturday, pitching nicely into the seventh inning only to get stiffed in a 3-0 loss to the Rays at Citi Field.
The Mets went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in getting shut out for the seventh time this season. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak during a stretch in which the Mets (35-50) had looked competent offensively.
Matz (4-6) allowed one earned run on five hits and three walks over 6 ¹/₃ innings in a third straight strong start. The lefty has pitched to a 2.78 ERA since the beginning of May, joining resurgent Zack Wheeler to give the Mets respectable middle-of-the-rotation pieces.
The biggest key for Matz is health after three straight seasons that were shortened by various injuries. His closest brush to a physical setback this year was a strained middle finger when he lost control of his bat swinging at a pitch in late May. But Matz made his next scheduled start and has been a dependable pitcher every fifth day.
The Rays added to their lead by scoring one run in the eighth against Robert Gsellman. In the ninth, struggling Anthony Swarzak allowed the Rays’ third run.
The Mets were not charged with an error, but Amed Rosario had a key flub that led to the Rays scoring against Matz. And in the eighth Michael Conforto got a late jump on Carlos Gomez’s bloop to left that went for an RBI single.
Rosario bobbled Wilson Ramos’ grounder with the infield drawn in — but still recovered to record the out at first base — allowing the Rays to score the game’s first run in the fifth inning. Matt Duffy’s leadoff double against Matz started the rally.
Matz was in trouble in the first and second innings but escaped. In the first he loaded the bases on a single and two walks before retiring Adeiny Hechavarria for the final out. In the second, the Rays wasted Gomez’s leadoff double.
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