Steven Matz came through with a performance both he and the Mets needed. After not making it out of the second inning in his season debut last week against the Marlins, Matz stifled the Indians with seven scoreless innings and nine strikeouts.
Matz showed us exactly what the fuss about him has been all about. He rebounded from what could have been a demoralizing start to up come with the Mets’ most important start of this young season.
Manager Terry Collins said it was a game both Matz and the Mets needed.
“It was a great start,” Collins told reporters. “We needed a big start. It was something both of us needed. He showed us what he can do. I thought he pitched a great game.”
Matz’s 94-pitch effort was good for his psyche, but in the wake of Matt Harvey’s poor start and the uncertainty of Jacob deGrom’s immediate availability, not to mention how much the bullpen has been used lately, his response might represent the Mets’ most important start.
Matz was in command from start to finish and never seriously threatened. In just his eighth career regular-season start, Matz showed us why the Mets so highly regard the left-handers’ future.
What I liked best was when Collins could have pulled him after the sixth, he sent him back out for one more inning. He could have gone eight.
“I was attacking the hitters not pitching scared,” Matz said. “I was trusting my stuff and not trying to nit pick.”
In short, he was a stud today.
METS GAME WRAP
Game: #11 Record: 5-6 Streak: W 1
SUMMARY: By establishing his fastball early, Matz dominated for seven innings, and the Mets put away the game with three runs in both the first and second innings. The game was never in doubt.
KEY MOMENT: After the Mets staked him to a 3-0 lead in the first, Matz set the Indians in the bottom of the inning. The Mets, aided by Indians center fielder Rajai Davis’ two misplays in the sun, scored three more in the second.
THUMBS UP: The Mets went 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position and scored four of their six runs with two outs. … Mets pitchers struck out 15. … Addison Reed and Hansel Robles were strong in relief. … Kevin Plawecki had two hits. … Curtis Granderson’s selectivity continues to improve. … Asdrubal Cabrera bunted home a run in the second and makes all the plays at shortstop. … Lucas Duda’s two-run single. … Michael Conforto keeps raking with two more doubles. Collins said Conforto would stay in the No. 3 hole for a while, except against lefties.
THUMBS DOWN: Ten more strikeouts by Mets’ hitters, including two more from Yoenis Cespedes.
EXTRA INNINGS: Very positive news about Jacob deGrom’s baby. Collins said the couple hopes to take the baby home Monday. … David Wright had the day off as did Travis d’Arnaud. The latter, who has a bruised left forearm, is expected to sit again Monday in Philadelphia.
QUOTEBOOK: “He’ll wind up hitting there one of these days full time.” – Collins on Conforto hitting in the No. 3 hole.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7.27: Matz’s ERA. It was 37.80 at the start of the game.
NEXT FOR METS: Noah Syndergaard starts Monday night in Philadelphia.