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Steven Matz encouraged by bullpen session before Monday’s debut

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz is

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz is seen in the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies during the Mets' home opener on Friday, April 8, 2016 at Citi Field. Credit: Jim McIsaac

By nature, pitching is a fickle endeavor, which is hardly a revelation for Mets lefthander Steven Matz. Consider the bullpen session he threw Saturday in preparation for his season debut against the Marlins on Monday night.

“It was probably the best one I’ve thrown this year,” Matz said. “So I’m feeling pretty good coming in. Just location, sharpness of my stuff, I just felt really comfortable.”

Matz has no way of knowing if it will translate into an actual game. But the Long Island native can say with certainty that an encouraging tuneup can’t hurt, especially after the layoff he’s had. He last pitched April 1 against the Cubs, the Mets’ final exhibition game.

Much of Matz’s spring training was spent grumbling about his lack of results, though those howls of protest died down somewhat over time. Though he posted a 4.94 ERA in six appearances (five starts), he finished strong, allowing one earned run in his final 12 2⁄3 innings.

For all of his grousing, Matz held opponents to a .186 average in spring training, providing a decent springboard for what he hopes is his first full season as a big-leaguer.

“Pitching is a weird thing,” Matz said. “Sometimes you can go out and just feel a little bit off and you don’t know why. [Saturday] was one of those days that I felt really good. It’s good to have a bullpen session like that going into a start.”

Extra bases

The Mets’ bullpen entered Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies as the only relief corps that had not allowed an earned run, but the streak ended at 12 1⁄3 innings when Ryan Howard hit a sacrifice fly off Addison Reed in the eighth . . . Illness left closer Jeurys Familia unavailable for the game . . . Lefty Josh Edgin allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning for Class A St. Lucie in his first rehab appearance in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

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