Steven Matz will pitch Game 4 of the NLDS for the Mets Tuesday night, manager Terry Collins said Sunday, a massive stage for the Ward Melville alumnus' first career postseason start.
But the 24-year-old lefthander did not yet know that when he met with a small group of reporters Sunday following his regular between-starts bullpen session at Citi Field, after which he said he is "100 percent."
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"They told me just be ready for Tuesday, so that's what I'm going to do," he said after the workout, during which he was able to pitch off the official mound on the field rather than in the bullpen.DataPro sports draftees from Long Island
That was because most of his teammates were at home resting after a long flight following their Game 2 loss in Los Angeles on Saturday night -- and reliving one of the more controversial playoff games in team history.
Matz said he could not speak to the mood of the team because he had not seen his teammates yet. While they were in Los Angeles, he was flying home from Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Saturday night.
That is where he threw 80 pitches Thursday, reaching the mid-90s while allowing three hits in an instructional league intrasquad scrimmage.
Matz has not pitched in a game that counts since Sept. 24, having been scratched because of back problems twice down the stretch of the regular season. He is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six major-league starts.
"Any time you skip a start like that, for me, I always try to feel it a little bit, and at the end, I finished strong, so I'm happy with how that went," he said.
Might endurance be a problem after the layoff? "I feel like I'm ready and can go deep into games if I can take myself there," he said. "So I'm feeling good."
Asked if he had something to prove to himself, he said: "I really had nothing to prove. I was just going out there and getting some work in."
Matz did admit to a "little bit" of frustration over his recent physical problems but said "it's part of the game."
Mostly, for a kid who grew up on Long Island rooting for the Mets, the word of the day was "excited."
"This place is probably going to be pretty electric and it's going to be a lot of fun," he said. "It would be awesome to pitch in front of the home crowd, a sold-out crowd."
Matz said it was inspiring to watch as Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard pitched well in Games 1 and 2. He hopes the pitching success will be contagious in the way hitting often is.
"I think that's what we're going to do," he said. "I think [Matt Harvey] will be great [in Game 3]. Having him as your third starter is insane. I'm really excited to go out and watch him pitch."
There is only so much a pitcher can take from how his fellow starters attack an opposing lineup, Matz said, but he does believe it will help him merely to be in the house for Game 3 and absorb the atmosphere.
"It's awesome, especially being back home," he said. "All my friends and Met fans are really excited about it, so I definitely have an appreciation for it."