GreenJackets Wrap-up: Matz impresses; Augusta secures day split

Sunday, August 18 - Savannah 2, Augusta 1; Augusta 7, Savannah 6

 

Augusta GreenJackets reliever Jorge Bucardo pounded out two consecutive strikeouts in the pounding rain with the tying run on third to close out Game 2, securing a doubleheader split with the Savannah Sand Gnats.

 

GreenJackets starters Justin Schumer and Matt Lujan gave their team a chance to win in both games, allowing a combined four runs in 10.2 innings. But the hitting struggled in Game 1 and the defense almost failed them in Game 2.

 

Schumer's and Lujan's stuff was pretty straightforward in the outings, tossing high-80s/low-90s fastballs with downward movement to go with solid-average breaking balls and changeups. Neither racked up many swinging strikes, but Schumer threw strikes and pitched around trouble, while Lujan struggled with walks but pitched around them.

 

Savannah starter Steven Matz impressed me greatly in Game 2, throwing mid-90s fastballs from the left side, while mixing in breaking pitches that showed plus and a changeup that looked to be average. Matz dialed it up to 97 while sitting 93-96, working both sides but especially up and out.

 

Matz combined it with what appeared to be a two-seamer with some tail and sink in the low-90s. It was a good change off the four-seamer and had solid movement. The breaking ball was around 80 with very good two-plane break and tight spin. Matz lost feel for it at times, spinning out of the hand early and leaving it arm-side, but when he spun it well, it was a plus offering. He added a changeup around 82 to both sides of the plate, showing pretty good separation and action, but the pitch could use some more development.

 

Matz looked like a true No. 2 ceiling to me. Pumping mid-90s heat in the zone from the left side is going to raise eyebrows, and adding two legit secondary pitches makes him at least a solid mid-rotation arm. The left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and experienced lingering soreness, meaning he didn't make his pro debut until last year despite getting drafted in 2009. But Matz's delivery is clean and repeatable, and he has excellent drive and momentum coming forward. Health concerns will follow Matz from now on, but the potential is there for another star arm in the New York Mets system.

 

Notable Augusta lines (individual games):

Justin Schumer: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 7 swinging strikes, 12 ground balls, 7 fly balls, 2 line drives

Matt Lujan: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 7 swinging strikes, 5 ground balls, 4 fly balls, 1 line drive

Alberto Robles: 3-3, 2B

Ben Turner: 2-2, 3 RBI, BB

Mitch Delfino: 1-4, 2 RBI

 

Notable Savannah lines (individual games):

Tim Peterson: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 8 swinging strikes, 7 ground balls, 2 fly balls

Steven Matz: 4 IP, 1 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 14 swinging strikes, 4 ground balls, 1 line drive

Brandon Nimmo: 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB

Maiki De La Cruz: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI

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