After his recent outing, New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz admitted he has a confidence issue. How can the young southpaw ever succeed as a starter in New York with this mentality?
Steven Matz had an opportunity to become a beloved member of the New York Mets. He’s from Long Island and has a name that is as close to the team’s nickname as humanly possible. It also doesn’t hurt that he has talent. Or does he?
When Matz debuted in 2015, he did so with plenty of hype. In six regular season starts, Matz went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA. He delivered in the postseason as well, helping to keep the Mets stay in the games he pitched.
Since then, the magic has worn off.
Matz showed promise in his official rookie season of 2016, going 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts. Much like teammate Matt Harvey, he fell off a cliff in 2017. Matz would finish the season with only 13 starts and a horrible 6.08 ERA.
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Confidence from management that he could return to his former self if healthy, Matz earned his way into the Mets starting rotation this spring. It helped that Jason Vargas landed on the disabled list. If he had stayed healthy, I’m not so sure the Mets would have allowed Matz the opportunity to start so soon in 2018. Either way, Matz had a hill to climb.
The problem with Matz seems to be the inner confidence. As refreshing as it is for Matz to admit his mistakes openly, it’s a little disheartening to hear how self-aware he is.
Matz admitted the game got away from him. In his own words, Matz said: “the game sped up on me out there.”
I really do appreciate Matz feeling confident enough to admit he let the St. Louis Cardinals get the best of him. They went inside his head, did a little dance, and deflated his ego.
What I don’t appreciate is how this seems like a problem no one is ready to fix.
Sports psychology is a big issue for many athletes. Remember Rick Ankiel throwing balls at the backstop? Or what about Chuck Knoblauch plunking Keith Olberman’s mom in the stands with an errant throw to first base?
Matz doesn’t have the yips, but I worry this is the road he is headed toward.
When the Mets hired Mickey Callaway, fans believed he could help restore some order in this pitching staff. Unfortunately, it looks like the opposite is happening.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure how Matz can take the mound at Citi Field without a big sack of confidence. It’s not easy pitching for New York even for the city’s “second team.”
Perhaps Matz is better suited in another city under dimmer lights.
I’m not ready to ship him out yet. He has pitched well before and can surely do it again.
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Until proven otherwise, Matz is a falling star that never quite reached his highest altitude. If the struggles continue, the Mets must seriously think about taking action. A brief vacation in Las Vegas may be what it takes to get his head screwed on tighter.