Mets pitcher Steven Matz on 2020 role: ‘I want to be a starter’

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LHP has made 30-plus starts in each of the last two seasons

Steven Matz made a career-high 30 starts in 2019, but sandwiched in between those starts was a pair of relief appearances in early July.

With the additions of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, there appears to be a logjam in the rotation with six pitchers vying for five spots, but Matz is clear he’d prefer to have the ball every fifth day.

“I enjoyed being in the bullpen down there, but at the end of the day, I really love starting. I want to be a starter.”

Matz’s ERA sat at 4.95 when the Mets briefly moved him to the bullpen on July 3. He retired the only batter he faced against the Yankees that day, and though he allowed an inherited runner to score on July 6, he wasn’t charged with a run in two-thirds of an inning against the Phillies.

He returned to the starting rotation after that, and had a strong second half, eventually dropping his ERA to 4.21.

Despite what is now a crowded rotation, Matz knows a team can never have too much starting pitching.

“I think it’s good to have depth,” Matz said. “It’s a good situation for us to be in so we’ll see how it pans out.”

The battle for the fifth starter could come down to Matz and Wacha, who made five appearances out of the bullpen for the Cardinals last season in addition to 24 starts. He also had three relief appearances for St. Louis back in 2016.

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