It’s not exactly the variety of a film festival when watching the Mets in spring training. It’s the Nationals, Braves, Marlins and Cardinals on a rotating basis. For the Mets in Port St. Lucie, it’s like watching the same episodes of Seinfeld over and over. After awhile, you know how ``The Contest’’ will end.
For a young guy like Matt Harvey working on a pitch, those teams don’t have to worry about the film as they can see him first hand. I’ve always wondered if that’s a disadvantage to the pitcher.Johan Santana once made his final exhibition start against a minor league team rather that against the Marlins, a team he would face in the first week.
Harvey is busy working on his change-up, which was flawless in his last start. He has no choice but to keep throwing against a team he could face five times this season.
“It’s usually the last pitch that comes around,’’ he said. “Everything went well with all my pitches the other day.’’
Considering he worked into the fifth and didn’t give up a hit, that’s kind of an understatement. While nobody expects no-hit ball every time out, the expectations for Harvey are enormous. When talking about Harvey’s low pitch count, he said that’s imperative if he’s going to pitch over 200 innings.
That’s one of the things that first struck me in talking with Harvey. He’s very unassuming and keeps an even keel, both on and off the mound. I covered Mike Mussina for years, with Baltimore and the Yankees, and I see similarities in their demeanor and confidence.
Mussina didn’t let things rattle him and had a methodical plan of doing things. Harvey is the same way in that he knows what he wants, and just as important, knows how to get it.
Said Viola: “On the field, you knew Roger was the man and he showed you why he was the man. Matt’s the same way.’’
Let’s hope the comparisons end there.
Thoughts from Joe D.
I’m usually the one that tells fans to temper their expectations, but not where Matt Harvey is concerned. While one of my colleagues said Harvey will never win a Cy Young Award, I envision more than just one for this kid. I’ve seen his determination I’ve seen the fire that burns within him. I’ve seen him stare down some of the biggest and most feared hitters in the game without breaking a sweat.
Matt Harvey has got the stuff to do it, but more importantly he’s got that edge and that “Eye of the Tiger.”
The next big thing? Hell yeah, I can see that…