CHICAGO - Steven Matz, who has pitched in relief only once as a professional, warmed up twice in the bullpen during Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night at Citi Field.
The Long Island lefthander did not get into the Mets' 4-1 victory over the Cubs. Manager Terry Collins said Matz is ready to make his second postseason start -- and the eighth start of his big-league career -- in Game 4 Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
If the Mets win Tuesday night, Matz will be looking to pitch the team into its first World Series since 2000, an exciting possibility for the 24-year-old from Stony Brook and Ward Melville High School.
"I have all the confidence in the world that Steven Matz is going to pitch a good game,'' Collins said. "He got up twice last night and threw 40 pitches in the bullpen. So he's not going to throw it today. He's going to pitch [Wednesday], so . . . he's already been out throwing. They have that little thing where they just go through the mechanical side of stuff. He probably did that today. But I don't think he threw a full-fledged bullpen by any means.''
After going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA during the regular season, Matz was the losing pitcher in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Dodgers at Citi Field last Tuesday, when he allowed three runs in five innings. So it will be eight days between starts for Matz, who had to work his way back from a back injury to make the postseason roster.
"I'm not concerned about the fact that it's been a while between times he's gone out there,'' Collins said. "It just seems like the way it's gone at the end of the year for him. He's had to do that each and every time, and he's limited the damage. He's gone out and pitched pretty well.''
Assuming Matt Harvey's bruised right triceps doesn't prevent him from starting a possible Game 5, Collins could have Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese ready to back up Matz.
"When it comes to Game 4, it all depends what Game 3 dictates,'' Collins said. "We've still got backup guys and now we've got to look at Game 5 . . . So there is a lot of dynamics when we go in there.
"I know you guys all think this is all etched in stone five days ago, and it's not. It will be decided each and every day who we have available, what is our best chance to win, who we need to put in when.''