On a brisk day in Washington, D.C., the Mets erased a pair of one-run deficits to rally past the Nationals 3-2 behind a beautiful rebound by starter Steven Matz — making amends for his subpar season debut.
“The main thing is trust what I have out there and go out and attack them,” Matz said. “Don’t try to pitch around contact. Just go right after them. That was my mentality the whole game and that’s the way I have to be.”
The Long Island lefty pitched five innings of one run ball (unearned) and scattered three hits along with seven strikeouts and a couple of free passes. However, like Matt Harvey before him, he didn’t stay long enough at the fair to garner the win.
However, for Matz, it was a step in the right direction and a start to build off going forward.
“It was a minor adjustment of something I was doing in spring training as well early on, not having that last bit of conviction with my pitch, mentally and physically,” Matz said. “Just finishing, really.”
Eight games in, rookie manager Mickey Callaway’s crew is working on all cylinders with timely hitting, highlight reel defense, and a bullpen that continues to baffle opposing batters.
Callaway seconded Matz’s notion about pitching with more conviction.
“There was a lot more confidence,” he said. “Total conviction in most of his pitches. You could see it in the way he released the ball. So he did a great job, making that adjustment.”
“He’s awesome out there,” Matz said. “It was huge; in a tight game he comes up firing like that.”
“I got a good run back and felt better about the game after that,” Frazier said.
Cabrera took third on Yoenis Cespedes’ ground out to short, Michael Conforto was given a pinch-hit intentional walk, and Cabrera scored on Frazier’s sharp ground out to second that Howie Kendrick bobbled for New York’s go-ahead, eventual winning run.
“It can be contagious,” Callaway said. “There’s something to be said when you give up a run and your guys come in and are raring to go and score another one.”
Rookie reliever Jacob Rhame entered the eighth and erased former Met Matt Reynolds, the only batter he faced, giving way to veteran Jerry Blevins who gave up a one out walk to Harper. And closer Jeurys Familia, repeatedly blowing into this cold right hand, recorded five outs for his fourth save.
“The players, they’re just doing the job,” Callaway said. “It’s almost like you throw anybody in any situation [and] they’re going to get the job done.”
Today, Harvey returns to the mound after his strong comeback debut, as the Mets try to sweep their division rivals before a three-game series in Miami against the struggling Marlins.