Matz won’t start as Mets try to sweep Marlins

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The New York Mets on Thursday will go for a four-game sweep over the host Miami Marlins.

The Mets announced after Wednesday’s game that left-hander Steven Matz won’t make the start as Thursday as scheduled. Matz (0-4, 9.00 ERA) has struggled badly after going 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA last year.

Matz will likely be available in relief, and the Mets are expected to start their closer, Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.61 ERA), who is not stretched out.

“We’re working with (Matz) to make sure he stays focused with the execution and command of his pitches,” Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters of his thinking. “He knows what the plan is because we’ve had conversations. He knows what to do when he gets the ball.”

The Mets are taking a chance starting Lugo because he has been arguably their best reliever since 2019. He has 12 career saves, including three this season. For his career, he is 13-8 with a 4.06 ERA in 31 starts. In 129 relief appearances, he is 10-9 with a 2.53 ERA.

Against the Marlins, Lugo is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 20 appearances, including four starts. At Marlins Park, Lugo is 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA in 11 appearances, including three starts.

Miami, which has lost five straight games and eight of its past 10, will counter Lugo with 6-3, 231-pound left-hander Daniel Castano (0-1, 4.35).

Castano, a 25-year-old from Orlando, played his college ball for Baylor and was a 19th-round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016.

He had never made it past Double-A before making his major league debut on Aug. 8, a loss to the Mets. He lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing five hits, one walk and five runs, four earned.

The big damage against Castano came in two-run homers by Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso.

Castano was much better in his next start, however. He took a hard-luck no-decision against the Atlanta Braves, allowing four hits, two walks and one run in six innings.

He struck out just two Braves but kept them off balance with off-speed pitches.

“We like his composure, and he’s won everywhere he’s been,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Castano, who had a 27-24 record in the minors.

“He’s been climbing the ladder and continues to pitch well. He’s got a number of pitches.”

Castano, who does not throw hard by MLB standards, will face a Mets lineup that has slugged eight homers in this series, including Conforto’s two-run, tie-breaking blast in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 5-3 win. Conforto is hitting .312.

The Mets also got a good performance from backup second baseman Luis Guillorme, who doubled to set up New York’s first run and later added an RBI single. Guillorme is hitting .464 in 28 at-bats.

Mets left fielder Dominic Smith also starred on Wednesday, hitting a pair of doubles, scoring one run and driving in another. Smith is hitting .323.

Meanwhile, Miami scratched for three runs against the Mets’ bullpen — on a wild pitch with a .138 hitter at the plate, a hit-by-pitch to a .206 hitter and on a walk to another .138 hitter.

–Field Level Media

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