Archive for the 'Matt Harvey' Category

The Kings of Drama Queens

It’s amazing how the Mets always find some form of turmoil to sidetrack the recent good news on the field.  If you are looking for a New York team that supplies utter magic this season, it’s not the Kings of Queens; it’s that team from da Bronx looking for yet another championship banner.

The good news is that the Mets have won their last three series in a row, winning two of three in each case.  That’s a big improvement from the 1-8 stretch that was sandwiched between the Mets’ 7-3 start and their 6-3 run since April 28.  Also the Mets just completed a 30 game run entirely against the National League East.  They completed the unusual block of games at 14-16 with a lifeless 7-0 defeat yesterday against the Marlins at Citi Field.  It was also the first time this season that the Mets were shut out.

Of course the big story was the news of Matt Harvey being suspended three games for not showing up to Citi Field on Saturday.  Harvey’s side is saying there was miscommunication over a migraine headache he came down with after a golf outing Saturday morning.  The Mets are saying nothing however player’s comments, while mostly vague, seem to suggest no one is having a problem with the suspension.  It’s not the first time Harvey has come across as some kind of prima donna.  We forgave him in the past for appearing nude in a magazine shoot or showing up at a Yankee game to cheer on Derek Jeter.  Then he was pitching well when we used to call him The Dark Knight.   Now it’s more like Good Night and what have you done for us lately Matt?

There is no question that the Mets highly touted rotation has been a major disappointment so far this season.  They are more reminiscent of Generation K then the next generation of Seaver, Koosman, and Matlack.  Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are still rehabbing injuries.  Robert Gsellman has been underwhelming compared to the end of last season.  Noah Syndergaard is now lost for upwards of three months and then there’s Harvey.   Matt has not pitched well coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery.  The cold hard truth is he may never come back from the surgery or be the pitcher he once was for a very short span of his career.  So given all that, what is his reasoning for not showing up to his job on Saturday?  If his migraine was so intense then he should have had agent Scott Boras contact the Mets.  No folks, there is something here that does not meet the eye and it’s likely we will never know the real reason.

I’m tired of waiting for Harvey to get back to being the pitcher he was early in his career.  Certainly no one blames him for his medical issues that he and so many power pitchers face these days.  But being such a drama queen on this team is not helpful.  This was supposed to be a year when the Mets would most certainly make the playoffs again but 30 games in, there is no certainty of that conclusion.  We did not need another distraction beyond the injuries and poor pitching that’s already been a distraction.

I used to fear that Harvey would become a free agent and head across the river to the team he rooted for growing up.  I wonder now if Mr. Cashman would even entertain signing the former Dark Knight.  Of course a lot could change in two years but in the meantime Mr. Harvey needs to understand that his current team always comes first and if he doesn’t believe so, perhaps he should discuss the issue with his teammates who, at least by their comments, all seem to get it.

The Climb Back To .500

The Mets have won their last four out of six games on this road trip with one game left tonight in Atlanta weather permitting.  In doing so, the Mets have moved back to three games under .500 at 12-15.  So the quickest route to the .500 mark is three more wins in a row.  But that is not often easy especially how inconsistent the Mets have been, especially their pitching.

The good news is that the Mets are finally scoring runs and last night they scored 16 of them while not hitting one home run.  They have scored a minimum of five runs in every game of the trip so far.  With their highly touted pitching, it would be easy for someone just returning from a European vacation to assume the Mets had won all six games played on the trip so far.  But two games have been lost. In one, Mets pitching gave up 23 runs and in the other they gave up 9.  That has to be concerning. What’s also alarming is the Mets have given up more runs than any other team in the National League.  Mets pitchers have yielded 147 runs compared to the Dodgers league leading mark of just 105 given up.  What is happening?

One simple answer for the starting staff is health.  Matt Harvey is still getting his act together after missing more than half a season when he had surgery to remove a rib. Steven Matz has still not thrown a pitch this year because of a balking elbow.  Zach Wheeler is pitching again for the first time in two years and it’s been a slog for him so far.  Noah Syndergaard left Sunday’s game with a lat tear that could have the ace out for as long as three months.  That leaves Jacob deGrom, the guttiest pitcher on the staff.  He didn’t pitch bad last night but only lasted three innings throwing close to 100 pitches and giving up five runs.  So if you don’t think things are out of wack with Mets pitching, consider this… The Mets big winner so far is Hansel Robles with a 4-0 record.  Granted he benefited from circumstances working in his favor but it’s just kind of weird that he has 4 wins and the most wins from Mets starters is 2 shared by deGrom and Harvey.

Of course no one really knew how the Mets pitchers would do in 2017 considering their medical history.  Harvey, Matz, and deGrom all had surgery last season (or the end of last season).  Wheeler had setbacks after Tommy John surgery and their was concern for Syndergaard although nothing was needed surgically speaking.  This whole thing is beginning to make me wonder.  Is it really prudent to stack your rotation with such hard throwers when hard throwers seem to be so susceptible to injury?  This is one reason why a pitcher like Bartolo Colon is so important (regardless of his not so great start this season). A guy that can change speeds, command the strike zone, and not reach 97 on the speed gun can be a good thing. Where are the Greg Madduxs in the major leagues these days?  If I were a GM, I would demand that my scouts find guys in the college ranks that can pitch, not necessarily impress by throwing the ball through a wall.  This is why I believe Steven Matz can be so important to this pitching staff if he can ever stay healthy.  He’s a lefty and he has some stuff in his arsenal that the others don’t, especially a great curve ball when it’s working.

So here’s the problem as I see it in regard to the Mets getting back to .500.  They are scoring a lot of runs right now but that will stop at some point. No offense in baseball can consistently put up 7 to 9 runs a night.  If the Mets only score two or three runs, the Mets pitchers will need to step up and hold the lead. So far they have not been able to do so.  When the Mets score three runs or less, their record is 0-10.  That’s not good.  The short answer is it will be up to the pitching staff for the Mets to get to .500 and then move up from there.  Until the pitching woes get straightened out, I don’t care how many runs the Mets score, they’re not going anywhere.

 

Harvey Brilliant in Return

Could Matt Harvey return as the ace of the staff?

After the first three games it appears the Mets have at least three aces.  Of course there is such a long way to go it’s hard to get too giddy just yet.  But consider that the three Mets starters gave up just two runs in 18.2 innings pitched right out of the gate.  Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom both pitched six innings fanning 6 batters each. Matt Harvey only struck out 4 but his performance was the most impressive.  Coming off of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery that followed Tommy John surgery three years prior, who really knew what to expect from the superstar pitcher.

Had Harvey not given up a bomb of a homerun to Matt Kemp, his second of the game that accounted for the only two Atlanta runs, Matt would have likely finished the seventh inning.  Harvey threw just 77 pitches in his 6.2 innings of work, 55 of them strikes.  By comparison Syndergaard’s pitch ratio was 86/55 and deGrom’s was 95/61, both very respectable but Harvey’s work was truly amazing.

What was most impressive was Harvey’s pitch selection. Perhaps it’s been the major injuries of this early career or just maturity but Harvey has turned into a cunning pitcher, not just a stud who will blow the hitter away.  With only four strikeouts, in year’s past we would have been wondering what’s wrong.  But last evening, Harvey’s efficiency was incredible. He averaged just a shade over 12 pitches per inning. Harvey has four pitches now and last night he was able to throw all of them for strikes confusing Brave hitters all night long.

Tonight the Mets have Zach Wheeler making his first start in what seems like forever.  I’m sure the butterflies will be twirling around in his belly once he takes the hill and picks the ball up from the mound at 7:10PM.  Wheeler has a tough Miami lineup to get through tonight so considering all the circumstances, I would be very surprised, that he too will deliver as Syndergaard, deGrom, and Harvey has done.  Tomorrow night Robert Gsellman makes his first start of the season too.

Let’s not forget the bullpen’s contribution in the three game series win against Atlanta.  So far the only hiccup pitching wise occurred in Wednesday night’s loss as Rafael Montero coughed up two runs in the 12th followed by Hansel Robles who blew deGrom’s slim 1-0 lead.  The pen gave up just three runs in 8.3 innings of work, none in the opener and last night’s victory. After Robles faltered mightily on Wednesday night, Jerry Blevins brilliantly bailed him out keeping the game tied until the 12th.

The Mets’ rotation has the potential to be something very special and that’s not even considering Steven Matz and Seth Lugo who are resting sore elbows.  The 2017 rotation could rival Seaver, Koosman, Matlack of the early 70s or Gooden, Darling, Ojeda, Fernandez from the late 80s.  If the offense can get their act together as they did last evening, it’s not just the rotation that will be special but the entire season may be one to truly enjoy.