"I'm concerned," Terry Collins said after Niese's last start. "I have yet to see him, in my time here, pitch with this many mistakes. ... It's just not him."
Meanwhile, the organization's top minor-league pitcher, LHP Steven Matz, is 6-3 with a 1.98 ERA and 70 strike outs in 11 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas.
“It’s like taking a big league guy and throwing him against a rookie ball team,” a Pacific Coast League talent evaluator recently told Mike Puma of the New York Post (June 2, 10:54 am). “He just dominates every night he goes out. He’s done everything he’s supposed to do at Triple-A, and it’s a lot easier to evaluate a pitcher in this league, because if they are as good as Matz is in the Pacific Coast League, he is pretty damn good. They don’t hit the ball against him.”
Matz has thrown 77 and 79 pitches, respectively, in his last two starts, "because the Mets are trying to save his bullets for the big stage," an organizational source told Puma.
Matthew Cerrone: So, basically, it's not a matter of will Matz replace Niese, but when will Matz replace Niese. The fact is, Niese is a mess right now. I don't know what happened to his two-seam fastball, but he hasn't been using it and he's suffering. My gut says it's his shoulder, and if it's not a direct issue than this is a result of him changing mechanics or trying to do something to protect against further hurting his shoulder, which has been an issue for him since last summer. I know I harp on his shoulder a lot, it borders on fear mongering it seems, but it's an issue that was pressed upon me a lot this past winter by scouts and people around baseball when discussing Jon as a trade candidate. He can deny his having a problem, Terry can deny it, but - regardless of the season - the results speak for themselves.
Meanwhile, Matz is dominating and deserving of an opportunity to pitch for the Mets. I'd give Niese another start and, if he struggles again, find a reason to put him on the disabled list, get Matz up and see how things progress. I like Niese, he has a ton of talent, but it makes no sense to have him working out his issues on the big stage in a season when every game is going to matter.