Matz Strikes Out Nine Astros, Solidifies His Rotation Bid

It’s not easy facing the World Series champs six times over the course of the spring. I’ve already grown tired of seeing this Astros lineup myself so I can’t imagine how the Mets must feel.

But Steven Matz more than held his own today against that championship lineup. In six innings pitched, Matz only gave up two earned runs and stuck out nine without issuing any walks.

In the fifth inning, Matz struck out the side and looked stronger as the game wore on, striking out five consecutive batters at one point.

It was an impressive outing for Matz who threw 59 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

What does this mean for the starting rotation? As far as I’m concerned, this makes Matz interchangeable with Harvey as a possible third starter.

The fifth spot will likely go to Zack Wheeler, assuming he doesn’t have a completely disastrous final Spring start, and especially if Vargas won’t be available for some time. We’ll know more on Vargas after his surgery on Tuesday.

According to Matz, he doesn’t feel like he’s searching anymore. “You know with the slow start I had, I put the work in, and it’s starting to pay off a little bit, I’m starting to feel comfortable on the mound now.”

It’s great news. It’s great to see Matz confident about his last few starts. And it’s great knowing the Mets will have one more solid pitcher in the rotation come Opening Day.