Steven Matz
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Steven Matz seals series win with 99-pitch shutout against Pirates

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Southpaw Steven Matz twirled a gem on Saturday, downing the Pirates 3-0 as he became the first Mets pitcher to toss a shutout under 100 pitches since Johan Santana did so for the club in 2012.

Matz preserved his no-hit attempt through 3 1/3 innings, losing the bid on a one-out ground-rule double by Melky Cabrera in the fourth. Still, he needed just 99 pitches to seal the deal, allowing five hits and striking out seven of 31 batters in his sixth win of the season.

The Pirates managed to put runners in scoring position three times — even making it as far as third base in the sixth — but couldn’t quite get the job done in the end. Behind Matz’s superb effort, Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis combined for two home runs and three RBI to give the Mets a much-needed advantage.

Notably, the 3-0 win represented the first complete game shutout of Matz’s five-year career in the majors. Through Saturday, he’s 6-6 in 19 starts with a 4.32 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 8.4 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR through 91 innings.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.