LOS ANGELES -- Riding in the elevator at Dodger Stadium with Vin Scully after the New York Mets' 4-2 win on Monday, a passenger asked the legendary broadcaster what he thought of Steven Matz's performance.
"Good," Scully said. "They're all pretty good."
That's very true … with their bats as well as their arms.
On Saturday, Bartolo Colon became the oldest player in major league history to produce his first major league homer. A day later, Matt Harvey doubled off the top of the center-field wall at Petco Park. On Monday, Matz delivered an RBI double in the sixth inning to give himself a two-run cushion.
That came on the heels of the Mets pitchers' producing an MLB-best 28 RBIs in 2015.
"I know it's not expected," manager Terry Collins said. "But I will tell you from my years of experience, where I used to face the Atlanta Braves, here came Glavine and Smoltz and Maddux. Every one of them can hit. They weren't outs."
That's a major asset, the manager noted.
Collins said assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler has placed an emphasis on making sure the Mets' pitchers have productive at-bats. In fact, Matz was cleared to swing away in his at-bat with Wilmer Flores on first base and one out in the fourth. Matz struck out. He's hitting .182 on the season.
Collins noted that having productive hitters on the pitching staff forces the defense to play more honestly, rather than crowding the plate in bunting situations.
"I think we all take pride in it," Matz said. "We all enjoy working on it. After those few ugly swings I had earlier, I was happy to get that one."
On the mound, Matz (5-1, 2.86 ERA) limited the Dodgers to two runs on six hits and one walk in six innings. The only damage came on a two-run homer from Trayce Thompson in the fourth inning.
Matz is 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA in his past five starts. Only the Cubs' Jon Lester (1.00) and Jake Arrieta (1.04) have better ERAs in the National League since April 17. Matz had lasted only five outs in his season debut, in which he allowed seven runs against the Miami Marlins.
"He didn't have the command tonight he had his last two starts, but it's all been the fact that he's throwing strikes," Collins said of Matz's win streak. "You go back to the first start, where he really struggled. He didn't have command of his fastball but stayed with his fastball. And now you don't know what's coming. He uses his changeup. He'll throw a slider. He'll use his curveball. And tonight he didn't have his curveball working, yet he tried to throw a few. That's in the hitter's head that this guy's got a breaking ball that he'll throw. I just think it keeps everybody off-balance."
Matz has now earned wins in nine of his first 12 career big league starts. He said his success on this current five-game win streak has been fueled by increased focus, as opposed to letting past pitches torment him or thinking too far ahead.
"Today was one of those days where I kind of had to grind a little bit," Matz said. "I didn't have my best stuff out there, but I was still able to throw all of my pitches and mix up pitches, which helped me out."