For the first time in his Major League career, Steven Matz pitched out of the bullpen on Wednesday night for the Mets.
In the seventh inning, Matz was called upon in a big spot against the Yankees. With men on first and third and two away, Matz was brought in to face Didi Gregorius, looking to prevent any further damage in a game the Yankees led (and eventually won) 5-1.
The lefty did his job, retiring Gregorius on a ground out to second base on four pitches to end the frame. He would face just one batter in his first relief outing.
"It was definitely different, but it was warm up, go out there and pitch," Matz said after the game. "I didn't get to long toss like I normally do, but on a humid day like today, after five throws I'm like 'I'm ready to rock.' It was definitely a little bit different, but at the end of the day you go out there and just pitch."
Earlier this week, skipper Mickey Callaway announced that Matz would pitch out of the Mets' pen until at least the All-Star break next week, though no time frame is set in stone.
"I said 'Hey, just have some fun,'" Callaway said after the game. "He got a big out for us and got his feet wet."
In 16 starts this season, the 28-year-old has pitched to a 4.95 ERA with a 5-6 record. Opponents have hit .277 against him this season, while a lot of his issues have come in the first innings of the games he's started.
Whether his move to the pen is temporary or permanent, Matz says he's willing to do whatever the team asks of him if it helps them win games.
"I'm open to anything. I really am," Matz said. "Honestly, whatever I can do to be the best I can to help the team win, that's what I'm going to do.
"I like starting. It's what I know. It's what I've always done. I enjoy it, but I like pitching, so just whatever I can do to go out there and pitch."