If you looked closely at the Citi Field loading dock, there was an injury dump truck that reared its ugly head the last couple of days.
No Jacob deGrom (sore neck and back). No Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring). No Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring). No Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores (disabled list for their ailments earlier in the week).
Heck, even Travis d’Arnaud only could pinch hit, meaning the Mets had to carry three catchers.
So overall it was not an ideal situation going into an important series with the Nationals.
However, even with a depleted team, the Mets really did a good job staying in this game. They had their chances, but ultimately lost 4-3 in 11 innings.
“We had our chances,” said manager Terry Collins.
Boy they did and they should have won this game, which is why this loss is so frustrating. Without deGrom, Collins moved Matt Harvey up a day and the Dark Knight wasn’t sharp, but he kept his club in the game, fighting with batters.
“He battled,” Collins said. “He changed speeds and tried to pitch in and when he came in he said he didn’t have his best night stuff wise, but he only gave up four hits. Two of them were home runs and he kept us in the game.”
This is the biggest change we are seeing in Harvey this season. Because of the injuries, Harvey isn’t the same pitcher right now that originally took the mound back in 2013 or even 2015. Instead of a hard thrower, where everything comes easy, he is showing that he’s a fighter out there on the mound and knows how to get batters out.
More importantly, he put his team in position to win and that’s what any manager wants, no matter how many players he has injured.
“I still remember last year and when I didn’t have good stuff every game, things unraveled for me,” Harvey said. “After giving up those two runs in the first, I pretty much was able to keep them off the board.”
All pitchers, even the ones who are not coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, don’t always have their great stuff, but they are able to keep the other team off the board. The guy Harvey replaced tonight in deGrom is a master at doing it, and Noah Syndergaard is learning that nuance. Harvey, though is learning it right now.”
And that’s what makes Harvey still a great pitcher, even without the 97-mph fastball. He gets the job done and puts his team in position to win pretty much every time out.
Harvey was able to get the ball to the eighth inning on 108 pitches. That’s all Collins can ask for. Sure, the fifth inning homer by Jose Lobaton hurt and took Harvey out of position to win, but he was able to pitch to par.
It’s not Harvey fault the Mets could not score with the bases loaded in the ninth and couldn’t score and it wasn’t Harvey’s fault Jeurys Familia couldn’t find the strike zone in the 11th, walking in the go-ahead run.
On a night where the Mets were a depleted team, Harvey stepped up and put his team in position to win.
That’s all you can ask for.