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Steven Matz only has one scheduled start left with the Mets

The rookie left-hander has only six major league starts in his career. Is that enough experience to take into the postseason?

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night, Steven Matz pitched fairly well against the Reds, recording eight strikeouts while giving up three runs on ten hits over 5.2 innings. The three runs allowed were the most he has ever given up in a major league start, an indicator of the remarkable success he enjoyed in the other five starts he has made this year for the Mets. In his short time in the majors—not to mention his excellent minor league career—he has made a compelling case for a spot in the postseason rotation.

The only knock against Matz compared to, say, Bartolo Colon or Jonathon Niese, is his lack of experience at the big league level. Assuming the Mets stick with some kind of six-man rotation for the remainder of the season, Matz is only scheduled to make one more start, against the Phillies on October 1. This would leave Matz with just seven games in the majors entering the postseason. It is worth noting, though, that one of those starts was against the Mets' likely Division Series opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now that the Mets have officially clinched the NL East, they have some more freedom to tinker with Matz's remaining schedule. Skipping two more starts for the other pitchers in the rotation could allow Matz to start on September 30 against the Phillies and the last game of the season on October 4 against the Nationals. He could also make a bullpen appearance in that final series against Washington if his arm is ready after his start in Philadelphia.

For all of its certain usefulness, major league pitching experience is not a precondition for postseason pitching success. Regardless of how many big league innings Matz will have logged by the end of the regular season, if the Mets think he gives them their best chance of winning a playoff game, you can be sure he'll be out there, experience be damned.