PORT ST. LUCIE – Steven Matz has gotten used to coming to spring training. He knows that if he is healthy, he has a place in the Mets' starting rotation.
This year he is going to have to win a job.
"I know we have six starters for five places," said the left-hander on Wednesday. “And if you look at it logistically, yes, in a sense I compete. My mentality is not to compete against anyone, it is exactly what I need for my personal best – what I have learned from my past years, what I have learned from last year, what I have learned from my second half last year and why I started to be more successful.
"I just started bringing this to spring and then allowing it to take care of itself and let them make those decisions. I think in the sense that from a logistical point of view, it would be stupid for me to say no . "
Matz experienced a roller coaster season 2019 – 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA in 32 appearances, including two games that worked in relief. He'll get his first opportunity in the Sunday show season when he's up against the Cardinals in Clover Park.
Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha arrived as free agent additions this off-season, giving the Mets six potential starters. At the top of the rotation are Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman in third place.
Matz scored an ugly 4.89 ERA in the first half of last season, but cut that number to 3.52 after the All-Star break because he fought in the first inning that knocked him out earlier this year had largely avoided.
"It was more of a mentality to go into a game and say," I have to find out what I have today, "said Matz about these problems with the first inning." Instead of just trusting what you have and going out and to say, 'I'm going to get these guys right away. I'm not going to try to figure out what I have today and what I have to offer.' It is, 'I know what I am, I know what a pitcher I am, that's what they immediately get the bat. & # 39;
The new manager Luis Rojas is looking forward to the translation of this philosophy. Overall, Matz scored an ERA of 6.21 in the first inning of last season's games.
"Matzy is a guy who sometimes gets in trouble with his command, but he can find his rhythm during the trips, and we saw that last year," said Rojas. “Sometimes the pitch rises. We look at him so that we only have this constancy at the beginning, and he's really working hard on that. Order: This is the name of his job and he is working really hard on it. Let's see how Sunday starts when he puts it into play. "
Jeremy Hefner is the team's third pitching coach in two seasons – Dave Eiland was fired last June and temporarily replaced by Phil Regan – and Matz showed a sense of connectivity between the two. The 33-year-old Hefner posed for the Mets in 2012/13 when Matz rose through the minors.
"I think I get on very well with him," said Matz. "He is very approachable. He is a really good communicator and I am very excited so far, just the little things he showed me that I have already seen in terms of mechanical adjustments and things."