After his last start, I wrote it might not be the worse thing for Steven Matz to open the season in the minor leagues. I’m thinking pretty much the same thing after last night’s mixed-message loss to the Yankees.
Matz was hit for five runs in the second inning, but regrouped to retire the final seven batters he faced. On one hand, you always want to see a pitcher recover, which Matz undoubtedly did. However, the better thing is to not get in trouble in the first place.
And, let’s face it, an 8.31 ERA this spring means he’s been getting into a lot of trouble.
“You try to work on stuff, but at the same time you’re facing the New York Yankees,” Matz told reporters in Tampa. “So that stuff is going to happen. But I’m pretty happy how I bounced back there. I got some results the last few batters.”
Matz was visibly upset after his last outing. His emotions were in check last night, and that’s a positive sign. Very positive.
“That’s another thing I’ve been working on – just trying to stay level out there,” Matz said. “I know last time I got frustrated. This time that was huge for me to come back out there and get some hitters out after that and keep my composure. … I see Matt [Harvey] and Jacob [deGrom] out there, and they don’t let stuff affect them out there. And that’s why they’re really, really successful. I try to take that stuff from them and use it in my game as well.”
After his previous start, manager Terry Collins said he wasn’t sure Matz was in prime pitching shape. Matz said his conditioning shouldn’t be an issue.
“I really do feel ready,” Matz said. “I had one bad inning this time out but, like I said, I bounced back from it. It’s the stuff you’re going to deal with during the season, too.”
The Mets have options – Logan Verrett and Rafael Montero – should they opt to leave Matz behind. I think that’s what they should do, but I don’t see Collins and GM Sandy Alderson going in that direction.
However, this much I do know, Matz needs to show a lot more if the Mets are to get to where they want to go.