Matz Getting It Done

SAVANNAH, GA - At the outset of the 2013 season Met's left-hander Steven Matz was looking throw more strikes and limit walks. He also wanted to focus on improving his new slider, a pitch just taught to him this season. Overall he was looking to attack hitters more effectively on the inner half and regain confidence in his stuff which he hoped to throw with more conviction. He's getting it done.

Sixteen starts into the season he has improved in all areas. His ERA is a great 2.33 [fifth best in the South Atlantic League] and he has struck out 86 in 81 innings while holding hitters to a .212 batting average against.

Not only is he pitching well but Matz is starting to pitch deep, getting the maximum out of his allotted 100 pitches. In a somewhat recent start against Rome on June 29 he threw eight innings, yielding two earned runs.

In fact, he is one of two Gnat's starters to have hit the 100 pitch mark this season [the other being Gabriel Ynoa], with Matz throwing 101 pitches in a June 22nd start against Lexington where he struck out nine in six innings.

Matz attributes his great numbers to the advice given to him by Met's coaches; pitch inside and throw a lot of strikes.

"That's something that Frank [Viola] has preached a lot about, establishing the fastball early and in and how effective it is," Matz said. "I've done it more this year and at the end of last year and it's really helped me out with my other pitches."

Developing his breaking ball has been an area of focus for Matz this season, especially since he transitioned away from curveball and to a slider at the outset of the year.

"I'm not really sure if it's a slider or curveball it's really more of a slurve, although lately I guess it's been more of a slider since I've been throwing it harder," Matz said. "Last outing it worked well as a show me first pitch strike."

Sand Gnat's pitching coach Frank Viola thinks that Matz's breaking ball has come along well this season and that Matz has recently developed a good feel for the pitch.

"Against Lexington he threw twelve sliders in about 100 pitches and nine of them for strikes," Viola said. "In that game he found his release point and when he does that it gives the pitch good late break and depth."

Matz's only setback thus far has been a blistered finger that forced him to exit a May 28 start against Greenville after only three innings. He would not return to game action until June 8th.

"I had a blister peel back pretty good. It started the game before and had healed but the next game I came out and another blister had formed underneath the other one, and literally all the skin peeled back and was bleeding," Matz revealed.

Matz's favorite moment thus far in 2013 is both a personal as well as a team accomplishment. On June 14 he punched out ten Greenville hitters in 5.1 innings in the game that clinched Savannah the First half Southern Division Championship. Winning that title guarantees them a spot in the playoffs at the end of the season.

Matz still has areas he wants to improve. He still would like to throw more changeups and keep getting ahead early in counts. He also feels his move to first could use some tweaking. He thinks that opposing runners have noticed that he is a little rusty holding on runners in his first year back in some time.

"My move to first definitely needs to improve," he admitted. "Holding runners on I think I've been okay but the move could get better."

Matz said that varying his looks and timing are achievable and effective fixes. He said his time to home is 1.4 seconds and that combined with the strong arms and quick releases of catchers Jeff Glenn and Albert Cordero also help keep base runners in check.

Sand Gnat's pitching coach Frank Viola thinks that at some point Matz will have to adopt a slide step in order to effectively control the running game.

"As he moves up through the system it is [a slidestep] likely going to be necessary. It's not a problem right now but it will become one at the higher levels if it is not addressed," Viola said.

Matz entered the season with a goal of pitching 100 innings. Right now he's already more than 80 percent there and he believes that if he continues to pitch deep into games like he has lately then he has a very good shot at reaching the 100 inning mark.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nSixteen starts into the season he has improved in all areas. His ERA is a great 2.33 [fifth best in the South Atlantic League] and he has struck out 86 in 81 innings while holding hitters to a .212 batting average against.
\r\n
\r\nNot only is he pitching well but Matz is starting to pitch deep, getting the maximum out of his allotted 100 pitches. In a somewhat recent start against Rome on June 29 he threw eight innings, yielding two earned runs.
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, he is one of two Gnat's starters to have hit the 100 pitch mark this season [the other being Gabriel Ynoa], with Matz throwing 101 pitches in a June 22nd start against Lexington where he struck out nine in six innings.
\r\n
\r\nMatz attributes his great numbers to the advice given to him by Met's coaches; pitch inside and throw a lot of strikes.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's something that Frank [Viola] has preached a lot about, establishing the fastball early and in and how effective it is,\" Matz said. \"I've done it more this year and at the end of last year and it's really helped me out with my other pitches.\"
\r\n
\r\nDeveloping his breaking ball has been an area of focus for Matz this season, especially since he transitioned away from curveball and to a slider at the outset of the year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm not really sure if it's a slider or curveball it's really more of a slurve, although lately I guess it's been more of a slider since I've been throwing it harder,\" Matz said. \"Last outing it worked well as a show me first pitch strike.\"
\r\n
\r\nSand Gnat's pitching coach Frank Viola thinks that Matz's breaking ball has come along well this season and that Matz has recently developed a good feel for the pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"Against Lexington he threw twelve sliders in about 100 pitches and nine of them for strikes,\" Viola said. \"In that game he found his release point and when he does that it gives the pitch good late break and depth.\"
\r\n
\r\nMatz's only setback thus far has been a blistered finger that forced him to exit a May 28 start against Greenville after only three innings. He would not return to game action until June 8th.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had a blister peel back pretty good. It started the game before and had healed but the next game I came out and another blister had formed underneath the other one, and literally all the skin peeled back and was bleeding,\" Matz revealed.
\r\n
\r\nMatz's favorite moment thus far in 2013 is both a personal as well as a team accomplishment. On June 14 he punched out ten Greenville hitters in 5.1 innings in the game that clinched Savannah the First half Southern Division Championship. Winning that title guarantees them a spot in the playoffs at the end of the season.
\r\n
\r\nMatz still has areas he wants to improve. He still would like to throw more changeups and keep getting ahead early in counts. He also feels his move to first could use some tweaking. He thinks that opposing runners have noticed that he is a little rusty holding on runners in his first year back in some time.
\r\n
\r\n\"My move to first definitely needs to improve,\" he admitted. \"Holding runners on I think I've been okay but the move could get better.\"
\r\n
\r\nMatz said that varying his looks and timing are achievable and effective fixes. He said his time to home is 1.4 seconds and that combined with the strong arms and quick releases of catchers Jeff Glenn and Albert Cordero also help keep base runners in check.
\r\n
\r\nSand Gnat's pitching coach Frank Viola thinks that at some point Matz will have to adopt a slide step in order to effectively control the running game.
\r\n
\r\n\"As he moves up through the system it is [a slidestep] likely going to be necessary. It's not a problem right now but it will become one at the higher levels if it is not addressed,\" Viola said.
\r\n
\r\nMatz entered the season with a goal of pitching 100 innings. Right now he's already more than 80 percent there and he believes that if he continues to pitch deep into games like he has lately then he has a very good shot at reaching the 100 inning mark.
\r\n
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