CHICAGO - Before the fun of the games, the Mets had a little fun and games at Wrigley Field on Monday's day off.
Players including Long Island's Steven Matz took a tour of the friendly confines, complete with a visit inside the iconic centerfield scoreboard.
Tuesday night it was back to work for Game 3. Wednesday night, Matz will start Game 4 in his first outing since Oct. 13.
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun," Matz said. "I've never been here before or played here before or never even seen a game here. I'm really excited. I've heard these fans are great. It's a great ballpark, lot of history here, so it's going to be fun."
Of Wrigley, Matz said: "I just think on how old it is. I just think it's really cool. So we just wanted to check it out and soak it in as much as we can. We had some free time. We got up to the scoreboard, looked around, checked out all the scenery and stuff, so it was pretty cool."
It will also be cool for Matz's family to watch him perform Wednesday night. The rookie from Stony Brook and Ward Melville High School said his family decided to come to Chicago to see him pitch in person instead of having him leaving tickets for the first two games at Citi Field.
"Actually, I didn't leave any," Matz said. "I was going to leave a bunch for some family, but when I found out that I'd be pitching here, they just kind of canceled so they could spend some money on their flights and stuff versus all the tickets."
Matz will be going up against a Cubs lineup that he has never faced. He will also be pitching for the first time since he allowed three runs in five innings to the Dodgers in a Game 4 loss in the NLDS.
"I still feel set to go," Matz said. "We've been doing this before. We've been on the six-man [rotation], been on a five-man, we've had days off. I was able to get two bullpen sessions in, so I feel ready to go."
Manager Terry Collins is hoping Matz will be sharper than he was against the Dodgers, when he was pitching for the first time since suffering a back injury in the last week of the regular season.
Interestingly, Collins raised the issue of the dreaded innings limits with Matz for next season.
"Next year, it's going to be a matter of making sure he stays healthy," Collins said. "Again, using all the things we try to do this year, perhaps keeping him short one night and maybe skipping him in the middle of the season so that he stays as healthy as he can. But if this guy runs out there 28 to 30 times, he's going to win some ballgames for you."