– LHP Steven Matz: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Sure, he took the loss because the Gnats couldn’t score when he was in the game. Still, he showed velocity and again flashed a plus changeup. He tried a few sliders. I had him at 87 pitches through five innings, which was his pre-game limit. I think his ceiling these days is as a solid-mid-rotation starter.
Now up to 91.1 innings, I believe the Mets were targeting 105 for Matz so the Gnats/Mets will have to manage his innings and outings very carefully down the stretch to keep him available for the SAL playoffs. At some point, I wonder whether it’s worth it. Would it be better/healthier/more productive developmentally to pitch as deep as he can in three or four more starts on regular rest, or is it better to stretch out those starts, and limit their length over almost four weeks to give him a taste of the playoffs? The answer might well be, it doesn’t matter and winning is fun, and has its own value.
– CF Brandon Nimmo: 2-for-5, K. He lined a single over shortstop and then in the ninth, facing hard-throwing right-hander Sam Wolff, shot a grounder right down the third-baseline. A pattern? Yes. Nimmo has been working hard to let the ball get deep and shoot it into leftfield. He’s 11-for-22 with two doubles and a homer in the first five games of the Gnats’ seven-game homestand. He’s up to .271/.382/.364 in 85 games this year. He’d have to hit about .400 over his final 100 or so AB in the year to pull his batting average to a round .300, but that’s not the point. He’s looked much, much better this last week, and I’m very intrigued to see what he will do in the season’s final month.
– Hickory is loaded. Friday, C Jorge Alfaro led the way, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored with three good hard line drives, one of which short-hopped the base of the wall. He had some trouble with wilds starter Connor Sadzeck.