PHILADELPHIA — Steven Splatz was more like it.
That was the sound Saturday of a certain Mets pitcher hitting the pavement like a watermelon heaved from the roof of a 32-story building, as the Phillies were putting the latest hurting on the beleaguered left-hander wearing No. 32.
If there was thought Steven Matz’s 8.20 ERA couldn’t get worse, think again. That number now stands at 9.00 after the Phillies pounced for five runs in the fifth inning against Matz in a 6-2 victory over the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets (9-13) will try to avoid getting swept three games in this series when they face Zack Wheeler on Sunday in the right-hander’s first appearance against his former team since receiving a five-year contract worth $118 million from the Phillies last winter. Rick Porcello will be asked to stop the bleeding from this wounded rotation.
Aaron Nola frustrated the Mets, allowing just three hits over seven shutout innings. Tomas Nido singled leading off the third and the Mets didn’t get another hit against the right-hander.
Matz’s meltdown came a day after Walker Lockett was thrust into starting duty with ace Jacob deGrom sidelined by neck stiffness. Lockett allowed five runs over six innings in a loss. And within the last week, Michael Wacha was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation and Marcus Stroman opted out from the season. One of the few positives has been the development of rookie left-hander David Peterson, but he departed his last start with left shoulder fatigue, a situation the Mets are monitoring as he approaches his next outing.
Matz had a third straight ugly start and was knocked out after allowing six earned runs on five hits and three walks over 4 ¹/₃ innings. It followed an outing against the Nationals earlier in the week in which he surrendered three home runs.
Rhys Hoskins delivered the hurt in this one, with a bases-loaded double in the fifth against Matz that scored three runs. Bryce Harper’s ensuing RBI double buried the Mets in a 6-0 hole.
Matz started a game here last season in which he didn’t survive the first inning, surrendering eight runs without recording an out, so it was perhaps noteworthy Saturday that he retired the side in order in the opening frame.
After Matz stumbled briefly in the second, surrendering a solo homer to Jean Segura on a 2-2 changeup, he quickly recovered, but caved in the fifth, beginning with Didi Gregorius’ infield single. Phil Gosselin followed with a single and Alec Bohm walked to load the bases for Hoskins, with Familia warming up in the bullpen. But manager Luis Rojas stuck with Matz, who surrendered the consecutive doubles to Hoskins and Harper. Familia was then summoned and pitched 1 ²/₃ innings scoreless.
The Mets wasted an early chance against Nola, leaving runners on second and third when Pete Alonso struck out to continue his woes with runners in scoring position. J.D. Davis’ two-out single and Dominic Smith’s ensuing double had fueled the rally.
Luis Guillorme singled leading off the eighth against Ramon Rosso, but Segura started an acrobatic double play on a Nido grounder before the Mets could generate serious thoughts of a rally.
Smith launched a two-run blast in the ninth against Rosso. It gave Smith a homer in four straight games.
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