Steven Matz was throwing more zeros Tuesday night at Citi Field for the Mets, five innings of them against the White Sox, setting a career-high scoreless streak of 19 innings. The Long Island lefty was riding a four-run lead, but he never did make it to the other side of the sixth.
And that left his manager to wonder aloud to catcher Kevin Plawecki out on the mound about what went wrong after taking the ball from Matz with two outs and three runs across. As it turned out, the fast-working Matz may have been working a little too fast.
“When I went to take him out, I asked Kevin what the difference was, and he just said he thought he started rushing a little bit, and he said all the balls were in the middle of the plate,” Terry Collins said. “We hadn’t seen those kind of swings against him probably outside of the first outing of the season, so you could tell something was wrong.”
After that seven-run, five-out loss in the first outing, Matz dominated, allowing two runs or less in the next seven starts and winning them all to claim the rookie lead in victories. This start came with seven hits and a no-decision. But the three-run, four-hit inning launched a comeback, and Chicago emerged with a 6-4 win.
“Just another start,” Matz said. “You take stuff out of every start. This one, maybe I’ve just got to slow myself down sometimes. That’s something that’s worked against me before, rushing out there.”
Jose Abreu opened the sixth with a single. Todd Frazier followed by launching a slider over the left-center wall, cutting it to 4-2.
“I made one bad pitch and I paid for it,” Matz said. “That’s baseball sometimes.”
Then Melky Cabrera singled. After a double play, Tyler Saladino worked out a walk before swiping second and third. Dioner Navarro cashed him in with a single. That was it for Matz, who owns a 1.51 ERA in his last eight starts and a 2.60 ERA overall.
“When you get in trouble . . . you’ve got to give yourself a little bit of a break,” Collins said. “You’ve just got to kind of slow yourself down a little bit and make each pitch mean something instead of just rear back and throwing. That’s something he’ll learn. He’s been absolutely great . . . I just hope he keeps pitching well.”