It's that guy who's still a prospect versus that guy who's still in the majors.
The Mets got back in the series with a 9-3 drubbing of Kansas City last night. A win tonight would even the series and make it a best-of-three, but the Royals offense has been a horror movie villain that sits back up after you shoot it in the chest all postseason, and it is Halloween night.
In September, Major League Baseball plays a different game than in the other months of the regular season. With teams allowed to carry as many as 40 active players, the dynamics of every game are different. Every team has more pitching depth. Every team has better pinch-hitting and defensive replacement options. Since pitching depth and quality bench players are two of the game’s most scarce resources these days, the opening up of the rosters can force us to totally reevaluate teams on whom we were just starting to really get a handle.
About this time for each of the past few years, there have been calls for some sort of countermeasure, some game-to-game roster limitation that would turn September from an analog of baseball’s regular season to a more honest extension of it. I’m all for that, or alternatively, for replacing years of jail time for nonviolent crimes with a mandatory sentence of watching Terry Francona manage a close game in September. Until such a change comes, teams will continue to generate box scores that look like your history notes from freshman year of high school: loaded with more names than one can possibly keep straight, painstakingly footnoted, indented every so often for good measure, but ultimately, indecipherable, even to their creators.
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The Mets summon yet another high-end pitching prospect from their farm system.
The Situation: The Mets, after getting off to a 13-3 start, have become a leaking vessel taking on more water than it can toss back into the National League ocean. Since then, they’ve gone 23-34, have been decimated by injuries, tinkered with a six-man starting rotation, promoted another rookie (Noah Syndergaard), demoted a veteran (Dillon Gee) and still haven’t been able to right the ship. Now they are promoting top remaining prospect Steven Matz from Las Vegas to join their starting rotation.
Notes on prospects who stood out on Thursday, including Tigers infielder Eugenio Suarez and Mets lefty Steven Matz.
Hitter of the Night: Eugenio Suarez, SS, Tigers (Erie, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
We were hoping to see more from Suarez’s bat in a return trip to Double-A, and while he’s still hitting just .250 and doesn’t walk much, his pair of home runs on Thursday gives him five, halfway to his previous career high.
Pitcher of the Night: Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K.
Matz used a fastball that sat 93-94 and a good changeup to carve through Palm Beach hitters on Thursday. He mixed in a hard curveball to keep hitters from both sides of the plate honest.