The beer-themed not Mets
WHAT HAPPENED, MATT HARVEY HAS A WEIRD START AFTER A WEIRD WEEK:
If you have been on Twitter or have even a mild interest in baseball, you have heard about the Matt Harvey saga and all that it entails. A night out, a migraine, golfing, bodyguards being sent to a players’ door, a three-game suspension, shielding Harvey from his return start being at Citi Field. That isn’t even mentioning his apology.
By now, you’ve heard it all, and there is no point in re-hashing it. It’s just a lot. What might’ve fallen by the wayside through all that jazz is that, well, Harvey has been largely disappointing in 2017. That narrative reared its ugly head once again on Friday night, as Harvey gave up five runs in as many innings, walking five while surrendering seven hits. The Dark Knight also struck out six batters, but maybe this seems slightly less impressive when you consider that the Milwaukee Brewers own the highest strikeout rate in the National League. On average, about one in every four plate appearances for the Brewers is a strikeout.
The odd part is that, through five innings, Harvey was rather fortunate. He worked out of a jam in the 2nd and 4th innings, only allowing two runs. Sure, Harvey had some control issues, but it wasn’t a terrible start until he got to the sixth inning.
WHAT HAPPENED, THEN CAME THE SIXTH:
After five innings, Harvey had thrown 97 pitches. He just finished off a 1-2-3 frame against the middle-third of the Brewer lineup, not to mention his spot was due up to lead off the sixth in a game that the Mets were trailing by a run. So, what happened next, you ask?
Naturally, with a chance to plug-in an actual hitter to lead off the inning late in a one-run game, Terry Collins pinch-hit for Matt Harvey. Though he saw that the bottom-third of the Milwaukee lineup was due up in the bottom half, Collins didn’t try to push the envelope and get another good inning out of his struggling starter. A surely smart and wise move from the Mets manager.
That didn’t happen. Terry Collins left Matt Harvey in to hit. Matt Harvey grounded out. The Mets tied it up at 2. Matt Harvey returned to the mound. Matt Harvey faced three batters. Matt Harvey gave up three hits. Two left the yard. Three runs scored. Matt Harvey was pulled. The Mets, once again, trailed.
WHAT HAPPENED, AT LEAST THERE WERE HITS:
At the plate, overall, the Mets hit well. They recorded eight hits and four walks, so reaching base wasn’t a problem. The problem was that they were unable to put these together in one inning. The Mets were stymied by double plays in the 2nd and 3rd innings, and were held to just three hits through five. One of those hits was a solo home run by Neil Walker, who finished the day 3-for-3 and has really begun to heat up since the start of May (now 13 for 40 in that span).
In the sixth, the Mets did have something cooking. With two outs, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled, Jay Bruce walked, and Walker drove Cabrera in to tie the game at 2. That charge was ended, however, once Bruce was picked off at second base by Brewers’ catcher Jett Bandy (who also had a nice day at the plate). Things were (mostly) quiet until the 9th inning rolled around, in which Walker singled and Curtis Granderson doubled to start. T.J. Rivera was able to drive Walker in with a groundout to short, and Granderson scored on a wild pitch with Lucas Duda at the plate. After a Duda double, the Mets suddenly had life. The score was 7-4 Brewers and the tying run was on-deck with one away. That was as close as it would get, though, as Jared Hughes came in to relieve Jacob Barnes and worked two flyballs to end the game.
Between the two teams, 20 hits and 10 walks were recorded. In fact, all but three non-pitcher starters from either lineup recorded a hit in this one. I mentioned this because, well, the group of players to not record a hit is a bit surprising, as they have been the most productive hitters in their respective lineups to this point in the year—Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce, and Eric Thames. Both Thames and Bruce reached base via walk, which means that the only starter between either side that was kept off the bases was Mr. Conforto. This fact ultimately means nothing, other than that it is neat when the only three players to go hitless have been the some of the top hitters in the National League this season.
WHAT HAPPENED, NEWS:
Seth Lugo and Steven Matz will pitch in an extended spring training game in Florida on Saturday, as Sandy Alderson says both “are on track to return near the end of May or beginning of June, barring a setback.” Travis d’Arnaud has started to rehab his bruised right wrist in Florida.
Tests on Yoenis Cespedes’ lower back last week to that were supposed to determine if there was an underlying cause to his hamstring issues didn’t show anything of note. There is still no timeframe on the slugger’s return, though he has resumed baseball activities.
Jeurys Familia’s surgery to remove a blood clot in his right shoulder will keep him sidelined for “several months,” potentially the remainder of the season, according to Alderson. This is still a fluid situation, though, so watch for more developments in the upcoming days.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
Matt Harvey continued to struggle. The Mets hit, but ultimately it was not enough to overcome the deficit. Should Collins have removed Harvey after the fifth? I think there is decent reasoning for both sides, though I firmly believe he should have. With that being said, assuming any reliever put in his place to start the sixth would not have surrendered the three runs, the decision to leave Harvey in is what ultimately made the difference in this game.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets are now 16-18, two games under .500. In all fairness, they are just trying to tread water as they wait to get healthy, and will be sending Robert Gsellman to square off against Zach Davies in the second game of the series. If the Mets can win this one, they are well positioned to win the series, as Jacob deGrom goes on Sunday. Should that happen, they would be magically back at .500 early in the season.
Photo credit: Benny Sieu – USA Today Sports