A tale of two halves in 2023
Matz had a brutal first two months of 2023. Through ten starts, his ERA sat at 5.60. He picked up his sixth loss of the season on May 24th. Unlike the 2022 team, this year's Cardinals needed Matz desperately. The pitching staff was surprisingly shallow, and Matz's struggles only compounded issues elsewhere. He was demoted to the bullpen that week. Matz again delivered good production in the pen, leading many to believe he could remain there. He pitched to a 2.81 ERA across eight appearances.
But the Cardinals had other plans for Matz. Their depth was nonexistent, and Liberatore's struggles meant Matz would need to move back to the rotation. On July 9th, Matz made his first start in six weeks. He was dominant. He allowed zero earned runs, struck out nine, and helped the Cardinals to a win in Chicago against the White Sox.
Since then, Matz is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA. He's striking out more than a batter per inning and is limiting walks. He's fixed his home run problem from 2022, although that wasn't really his problem this year in the first place. Perhaps most importantly, in games Matz has pitched in since July 9th, the team is 5-1. In the lone loss, Matz twirled six scoreless innings and the bullpen and offense let him down. This has led numerous fans to publicly apologize to Matz on Twitter!