Heading into this offseason, Steven Matz knows he needs to change something if he wishes to be a part of the Mets' rotation in 2021. During the shortened 2020 campaign, Luis Rojas was forced to put Matz in the bullpen as he struggled during his starts to find any rhythm and pitch effectively. A 9.68 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in nine games (six starts) over 30.2 innings is not what the Mets want to see from the lefty.
So Matz took the time last month to get back to his basics with Phil Regan down in Port St. Lucie. Regan has coached Matz during their time together in the minors and big leagues, and knew what
According to Newsday's Tim Healey, Matz and Regan -- who have a tight relationship from their time together in the minors and big leagues -- worked to get the veteran hurler back to his normal, dominant self.
Regan noticed during the season that Matz was overthrowing, so even though he still throws in the upper-90s, being able to locate is also key.
"I think as a result, he overthrew the ball a little bit and tried to throw the ball by guys," Regan said.
"Even though you throw 97 mph, you gotta pitch. You gotta be able to hit those spots."
There were also some mechanical tweaks like Matz keeping his head above his feet while delivering a pitch as well as landing on the ball of his foot instead of his heel when driving toward the mound. While it does keep a more balanced approach, it will normally help keep the ball down as well.
Overall, the sessions with Regan were designed to give Matz a positive outlook toward spring training, recognizing that he is still a pitcher that has some great stuff on the mound when he can get into a rhythm.
"You don't find a lot of left-handers around with his kind of stuff," Regan said.
“We thought we could refresh him and get him going into spring training in a positive attitude."