New York – Before their game with the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night at Cit Field, New York Mets manager Terry Collins was again discussing how things went right in the first half and what went wrong in the second half of another dismal season in Flushing.
With rookie pitcher Matt Harvey on the mound for his final start, the right hander was a topic. Collins was pleased with the first round 2010 draft pick. Again, Harvey had a superb outing, but did not figure in the decision as the Phillies came from behind and scored two runs in the eighth inning on a Ryan Howard two run homer for a 3-2 win.
Harvey wanted the win and it appeared New York was on their way to getting their first win at home since August 26th against the Houston Astros.
But another rookie out of the pen, Josh Edgin with two outs in the ninth threw what he said was a “meatball,” a- 93-mile fastball that went to the Pepsi Porch in right. The Phillies got their third win when trailing after eight innings and kept pace for one of two wild card spots in the National League.
Edgin (1-2) filled in for Frank Francisco, who is bothered with shoulder tendinitis and is day-to-day. He walked Chase Utley on a full count, Howard connected, Jonathon Pabelbon got his 36th save, and the Mets extended their home losing streak to eight games, 4-23 in the second half.
The runs charged to Edgin were his first earned in his last 16 appearances. “
“That’s the Howard we are accustomed to,” commented Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels who struck out 10, in six innings. Monday night, Cliff Lee also fanned 10- Mets in the opening game of three in eight innings.
So with eight games remaining at Citi Field, with the Mets concluding their schedule on the road, they hope to not establish a baseball record with the least wins at home in the second half. And they continued to be effortless when it comes to scoring runs at home
New York extended their franchise record by scoring three runs or less in 15 consecutive home games.
David Wright hit his first home run since August 24th off Hamels in the sixth inning, now with two home runs and 12 RBI since July 28th. Daniel Murphy knocked in another run with an RBI tying single to left center in the third that scored Ruben Tejada who got to second on a steal.
Tejada went 3-for-5, including two hits of Hamels and helped Harvey with some more outstanding plays at shortstop with two double plays.
Harvey would allow one hit in seven innings, a leadoff home run to Jimmy Rollins in the first inning, and he became the first Mets pitcher to allow a leadoff home run as his only hit over seven innings.
In ten starts Harvey finished 3-5, with a 2.73 ERA. He had 70 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings with 42 hits and 26 walks.
“There was definitely some excitement,” he said. Collins and the Mets project him to be in the starting rotation next season and he could be an eventual ace of the staff. “I had some tingles. It was kind of a sad moment, I guess, because I knew I was done. It was a good experience.”
He walked three and threw a career high 112 pitches, receiving a standing ovation from the slim Citi Field crowd of 21,741.
Said Harvey,” I left it all out there. Part of the reason I don’t want to stop pitching is because I have so much fun with these guys. Even though we’re struggling right now it’s still a big league ballclub. Being up here for the first time and getting to see how everyone plays the game every day, it’s been the biggest excitement for me. I’m going to miss it. The last two weeks are going to be tough.”
It was tough for Collins also to see his rookie pitcher conclude. He has seen Harvey pitch as a minor league instructor before taking over managerial duties. However, Collins knows the Mets have a future ace and expects big things ahead for the youngster.
“I wish we would have got a win for him,” said Collins. “But Matt Harvey ought to spend the winter feeling pretty good about himself and the way he’s handled everything up here, the way he’s pitched.”
With that, Collins will continue to look at his other youngsters on the pitching staff as the Mets get closer to finishing their fourth straight losing season after a 46-40 first half.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com