Standing in foul territory, Steven Matz stared at the ball he had just mishandled and started to give it an angry kick, then changed his mind and instead just picked it up.
Matz and the New York Mets keep their cool Sunday, barely, overcoming three errors and escaping the NL East cellar after a one-day stay by beating the Miami Marlins 5-2.
The Mets, who endured their worst June ever, won for only the second time in the past 12 games to reach the season’s halfway point at 33-48.
We’re all disappointed with where we’re at, Matz said. We had higher expectations. We’re just going to keep pushing.
Matz (4-5) did that in the series finale, when he pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed only an unearned run. It scored on his error, and he worked around misplays by two teammates — an encouraging sign from a pitcher still learning not to let setbacks snowball.
If I had taken my time I would have had him, but I rushed it, Matz said.
Callaway talked before the game about how the Mets needed to play better defense, but they didn’t. Second baseman Cabrera and third baseman Frazier misplayed grounders for errors.
Ohtani has been cleared to hit and will resume batting practice immediately, general manager Billy Eppler said June 28. Eppler said Ohtani had an MRI that noted improvement in his ulnar collateral ligament and said he expected to continue to see progress. The GM declined to address whether Ohtani would pitch again this season, saying the 23-year-old will see doctors again in three weeks and the Angels will give a further update at that point.
For more on what Ohtani’s injury could involve, and potential courses of action the Angels may have to take, you can read Stephania Bell’s analysis of the possibilities and the risks.
On the mound — Ohtani’s start against the Royals on June 6 was cut short after four innings because of a blister on his pitching hand. It was the second time this season Ohtani left a game due to a blister on his right middle finger. Last time, he did not miss a turn. Ohtani gave up one run on four hits and three walks, striking out four.
At the plate — Ohtani had a pinch-hit single in his lone at-bat against the Royals on June 4. His season line stands at .289/.372/.535.