The Mets will count on their pair of aces this year, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. This is for good reason, as when they are both healthy they are Top 5 pitchers in baseball. However, the 2019 season will go as the rotation question marks go. This includes a pair of mid-rotation starters, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. Both sky-high in terms of potential, but justifiably have concerns regarding injury and ineffectiveness.
On Saturday, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler caught the eye of pitching legend following a lights-out performance against the defending world champions. While facing a Boston lineup featuring a plethora of starters, he pitched 4 shutout innings. In the process, he accumulated 3 strikeouts while only giving up one hit to the Red Sox. Wheeler needed just 43 pitches (31 strikes) in order to lay the foundation for a 10-2 blowout Mets win. For that performance, he earned a handshake from Pedro Martínez.
On Sunday, the promising (but injury prone) left-hander Steven Matz added another 4 scoreless innings against a strong Cardinals lineup. Perhaps the most impressive part of this outing was Matz’s ability to keep his composure in tough situations. After giving up a walk and a hit to start the second inning, he forced two grounders (one resulting in a smooth double play by Robinson Cano) to end the inning. When all was said and done, Matz finished his outing with a line of 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. This was a very ecouraging start for him as he faced a contending Cardinals lineup with poise and effectiveness.
Especially for a team that is so reliant on its pitching staff, it is important that these young pitchers are finding success in spring training. As Noah Syndergaard said on Friday, stats are not important in spring training. However, for two young pitchers that have battled injury and ineffectiveness during their careers, it is certainly nice to see them find success against potent lineups.