“I've been pretty healthy in my career as a whole, and so this is just a weirder thing for me. I haven't really had to deal with something like this."
- Braves reliever Tyler Matzek
“When you do that, different parts of your body start trying to compensate for other parts, and things take on loads that they shouldn’t,” Matzek said. “Just tried to get through it. It’s a normal thing, you know. Most of the time, you make it through it, and sometimes it just flares up so bad that you get it checked out.”
Matzek has struggled this season. He has a 5.06 ERA over 10 ⅔ innings. He has allowed five earned runs over his last four frames and has only pitched a full inning in two of his last six outings.
A few weeks back, he began experiencing shoulder pain.
“Think it was just compensating for the lack of ability in my back,” he said. “I felt good trying to pitch through the back. Felt like I was going out there and doing OK. I think it just kind of spiraled into another thing, or it could just be totally on its own.”
The MRI will reveal more about the exact diagnosis and Matzek’s timeline.
Meantime, it appears Spencer Strider, who pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Ian Anderson on Monday, could receive a larger role in the bullpen. The Braves need reliable relievers, and Strider has a 2.75 ERA over 19 ⅔ innings this season. He has not received many high-leverage opportunities to this point, but he entered in a one-run game Monday.
This could happen more with Matzek headed to the injured list, especially if other relievers are down on certain days. Strider has proven he can handle it and has exceeded expectations.
The Braves will need to fill Matzek’s void for the foreseeable future.
“That’s a guy that would always stick his head in and be available to pitch every day,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Hopefully it’s nothing when they go and find out.”