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SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 26: Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 26, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Steven Matz Gets Roughed Up In Mets’ 6-3 Loss To Padres

Steven Matz’s struggles continued Wednesday,as the New York Mets left-hander lasted just three innings in a 6-3 road loss to the San Diego Padres.

Steven Matz Mets Padres

Matz allowed six runs on nine hits to record a 14.18 ERA over this terrible four-start stretch, during which he has given up 21 earned runs on 34 hits in just 13.1 innings pitched.

“It stinks to put your team in a position like that, in the third inning to be down six runs,” said the Long Island native. “But, I’ve got to stay positive. I’ve got to put it in the past and I just got to address it and keep moving forward. I am going to have to start again in six days.”

In three weeks, Matz’s season E.R.A. has increased from 2.12 to 5.51. He started his season on the disabled list after feeling soreness in his left elbow toward the end of spring training. Once he came off the DL, Matz’ performance improved: he gave up only eight earned runs in 34 innings pitched over his first five starts.

Matz’s throwing speed was not the problem against the Padres on Wednesday. The lefty was firing 94-mile-per-hour fastballs with seemingly little difficulty. Rather, it was his placement of the ball that cost him, according to Mets manager Terry Collins.

“The ball is down the middle of the plate,” said Collins. “You look at the replays of the hits, they are in the center. He’s got to get the ball off the middle of the plate.”

In the first inning, Matz surrendered a two-run homer to Manuel Margot and then dealt with a bases-loaded situation after that. Following a scoreless second, Matz faced trouble again in the third when he allowed a leadoff triple by Margot, which Wil Myers followed with an RBI double.

“I feel like every time I miss my spot a few inches, they’re killing it and getting their barrel on it and they’re crushing it,” said Matz, who has not earned a win in almost a month. “It does catch me by surprise because I’ve missed pitches before, but I think there’s just a sharpness that I’m lacking a little bit right now, and I’ve got to get back to it.”

The Mets’ defense also did little to assist the lefty pitcher. Shortstop Jose Reyes was unable to cleanly field a ground ball in the disastrous third inning, and second baseman Wilmer Flores couldn’t hold on to the ball sent to him. Two at-bats later, Luis Torres smacked a bases-clearing triple that was nearly a Grand Slam.

New York’s bullpen, however, stepped up after Matz left: Erik Goeddel, Tyler Pill and Hansel Robles tossed five scoreless, one-hit innings.

The Mets (47-52, 3rd in National League East) sit half a game behind the second-place Atlanta Braves and 13 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals in the NL East. Collins’ team — who won the first two contests of their four-game series against the Padres — will start rookie right-hander Chris Flexen for the series finale at Petco Park, which will begin Thursday at 9:10 pm EST. Flexen was called up from AA Binghamton earlier this week to replace the injured Zack Wheeler. The Padres will counter with righty Luis Perdomo (4-5, 4.71 ERA).

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 26: Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 26, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.