On the day we as a nation remember the military – and the Mets did a great job with that today – Matt Harvey remembered how to pitch.
There was no doubting that the Dark Knight returned today. In what may have been his last shot in the rotation for a while, the Mets erstwhile ace allowed only two singles in seven innings, as the Amazin’s took the first game of this series over the Chicago White Sox, 1-0.
“When he got out of that inning in the seventh, he was very fired up,” said manager Terry Collins. “That was great for him.”
The Mets treated this like a baby step, however Harvey looked like he was back in full form with his fastball hitting the corners averaging over 95 M.P.H. and touching 98 a few times. He was able to stifle the Chisox as they looked lost at the plate.
“This was a great first step,” Collins said. “You win three in a row out there, and a rough one, it comes with the territory. He feels good about how he threw the ball. He through some great changeups today… and some really good sliders. If he repeats this kind of performance with stuff, I think we are on the right step.”
Said Harvey: “This is not going to mean anything if I don’t continue this and stay with what we have been working on. It’s a work in progress.”
More importantly, Collins was able to push his mercurial pitcher through the seventh. With second and third and one out, Harvey was able to get through the inning unscathed.
Collins said he was going to remove Harvey if the White Sox scored that inning, but to his credit was able to fight through the trouble and left after just 87 pitches.
“When it’s zero-zero and you have a couple of runners on you kind thing about the worst when things were not going that great,” Harvey said. “To hold runners on base like that and get out of it was definitely a good feeling”
This was more than just a win for Harvey. After dropping the last two against the Dodgers, the Mets needed this game. After a late end last night, Collins chose to rest Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, which meant five through nine in the lineup was batting under .200. So he needed not just a good game for a win, but a great one.
“There are a lot of emotions,” Harvey said. “It’s been a while since I held them from scoring a ton of runs as I have in the past. Today to go out in a one run ballgame and put up zeros was very exciting for me.”
With David Wright probably going on the disabled list tomorrow for his bad neck, offense will be in a premium for the foreseeable future. They are going to need all five starters up to form if the Mets are going to keep pace with the Nationals.
If Harvey can come back to form the rest of the season, the first two months will easily be forgotten. In fact, this slump may be a good thing for Harvey in the long term, since he will not take for granted his success.
After last week, many were comparing Harvey to Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel – pitchers who forgot how to pitch – but this was obviously something different and the Mets were able to make the adjustments to his mechanics so Harvey could get back in form.
Unlike Jacob deGrom, who is also going through a regression in stuff, Harvey was so bad that something had to be done here.
And now as the page turns to summer, the Mets got their Dark Knight back on track.
That’s something to remember later as this year rolls along.