Long Island native Steven Matz took a step in the right direction on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park, but the Mets bats couldn’t back him up.
The 26-year-old held the Phillies hitless through the first four innings, before a parade of singles plated two for Philadelphia in the fifth.
Matz has been unable to capture a victory since June 28, but after registering an 11.03 ERA in his previous six outings, he will gladly take the 5 2/3 innings of two run ball he tossed in the City of Brotherly Love.
“He was much, much better. Much, much better,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “His secondary stuff was much better, spin on his breaking ball was better. He’s worked hard on it and I thought he pitched well.”
Yoenis Cespedes gave New York an early 1-0 lead with his 14th homer of the year in the fourth inning.
After the Mets fell behind the next inning, the team struggled to string anything together against the cellar dwelling Phillies, whose young righty Aaron Nola stymied New York over seven strong innings while fanning eight.
For Matz, the loss had its silver lining. After reviewing video, the southpaw realized he had a tendency to tense up during starts. With this in mind, he was able to be more “free and easy” on the hill.
“I think there is still some room for improvement there, but a step in the right direction,” Matz said of his outing.
The Mets will look to take the series victory on Sunday afternoon as Chris Flexen looks to follow up with a strong performance of his own.
Then, it’s off to the Bronx for the Subway Series where Matz will get a chance to build on his success from Saturday.