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Mets playoffs: Steven Matz, big-game pitcher?

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The left-hander has a history of delivering in the clutch.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Although Steven Matz has pitched only six games in his major league career, he has earned quite a reputation among Mets fans. In his brief major league career, Matz is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA, 34 strikeouts, 10 walks, and a 3.61 FIP over 35.2 innings. That includes one of the greatest debuts of all time, as well as a dominant performance in Los Angeles in which he held the Dodgers scoreless over six innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight. If Matz can repeat his success against the Dodgers in tonight's NLDS game, his legend as a big-game pitcher will only continue to grow.

In each of the last two seasons, Matz started and pitched well in championship-clinching games for his respective minor league clubs. In 2013, his 5.2 scoreless innings helped lead the Savannah Sand Gnats to a 2-0 victory to win the South Atlantic League championship, the Low-A-ball club's first title in 17 years. Matz struck out nine, walked two, and allowed four hits in what was a scoreless postseason for the young left-hander. The following season, Matz pitched possibly the best game of his career in helping the Double-A Binghamton Mets to their first Eastern League championship in two decades. Matz pitched 7.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing only two hits while walking two and striking out eleven.

Matz's history as a big-game pitcher dates back to high school, when he faced off against longtime friend and fellow Long Island native Marcus Stroman, in front of scouts from every major league team. Matz's Ward Melville High was victorious over Stroman's Patchogue-Medford High by a score of 1-0, with the winning run coming on a dropped Stroman strikeout. Matz was dominant, striking out 12, walking four, and allowing only one hit.