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Steven Matz’s mental work starting to pay off for the Mets.

MILWAUKEE — One error could be the turning point in Steven Matz’s season. On April 25 in St. Louis, Matz threw away opposing pitcher Michael Wacha’s bunt attempt. Then, he completely unraveled. Matz wound up a 9-1 loser. After that performance, he admitted the game speeds up on him and he loses control of the...
Time: 03:03     Date: 25.05.2018
Last US Sport News: Steven Matz’s mental work starting to pay off for the Mets. NY Post 24 - US News

On April 25 in St. Louis, Matz threw away opposing pitcher Michael Wacha’s bunt attempt. Then, he completely unraveled. Matz wound up a 9-1 loser. After that performance, he admitted the game speeds up on him and he loses control of the situation.

That is the worst thing that can happen to a pitcher.

Matz had to do some serious soul-searching and had to reevaluate how he approaches the game. He wanted to be in control of his emotions, his actions, his game.

Fast forward to nearly a month later and Matz finally has pitched the kind of game during which he was in control and, when something went wrong, he did not unravel.

All that gives Matz and the Mets reason for hope.

Matz delivered a gem at Miller Park on Thursday night against the Brewers, who came into the game 31-19, their best start after 50 games in their history. Brandon Nimmo sparked the offense with two doubles, a triple, a single and a walk as he set a career high with four hits, with the Mets coming away with the 5-0 victory, putting that terrible 2-1 loss to the Marlins on Wednesday night behind them.

Matz did not know how to work through difficult situations.

“Now I find myself super-focused and in the moment,’’ Matz told The Post.

The win was the first for Matz since April 13, also against the Brewers, and was his first scoreless start since last July 3 against the Nationals. He improved to 2-3 while dropping his ERA from 4.42 to 3.80. That is some serious progress. Finally.

“We’ve worked on the mental side of it as much as the physical side,’’ Eiland said. “Focus on what you can control, don’t worry about what you can’t control, like maybe a bad call from an umpire, maybe an error, maybe a soft hit that finds a hole, you can’t let those things upset you. Focus on what you can control and let those things you can’t control go.’’

Sounds like a life lesson as well.

Just as importantly, the Mets head into Noah Syndergaard’s start Friday night with the chance to win two in a row. Mets starters have not allowed a run in three of their past four starts.

Matz went six innings, allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three. Matz will turn 27 on May 29. Even though this is his fourth season with the Mets, Matz came into the night with just 271 ¹/₃ major league innings under his belt.

He is still a work in progress and that is why Callaway and Eiland want to work on his mental game.

Matz came into the night with a first-inning ERA of 5.63. From the second inning on, his career ERA was 3.60. That tells you Matz cannot get himself to settle down at the start. There is too much going on in his world to let his talent show.

Thursday night was different. Matz allowed only a single in that first inning. In the second inning, two runners reached base. Then, in the third, Matz loaded the bases with only one out, but got Hernan Perez to pop to first base and induced Manny Pina to fly to right. He avoided the big-inning meltdown.

Matz only struck out three batters, so he was pitching to contact. That is something else important to his success. He often is a pitch-count victim, with his lack of command resulting in high pitch counts. Matz got through his six innings throwing 94 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Remember, Matz is coming off a year that saw him go 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA, undelivered dreams.

Steve Matz delivered Thursday night.

Sport

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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