Mets Wrap: Harvey Takes Step Towards Prominence

Let’s savor this one by Matt Harvey and remember he might not turn it around in a single start. He could, but both he and the Mets said all along getting back to prominence is an on-going process.

Harvey said it again after his blast-from-the-past performance in Monday’s 1-0 holiday blanking of the Chicago White Sox.

HARVEY: Leaving the mound after the 7th. (AP)

HARVEY: Leaving the mound after the 7th. (AP)

It could have been a rediscovery of his lost mechanics and fastball that was consistently in the middle 90s early in the game. It could have been facing a team in a tailspin. Maybe it was working with catcher Rene Rivera. Perhaps he was just due.

Whatever the reasons, Harvey demonstrated what he has shown in the past and what he’s capable of when everything is working for him, which was the case Monday afternoon.

“There have been a lot of emotions,” Harvey told reporters about his feelings. “It has been awhile. The idea is to do everything you can to help your team and I hadn’t been doing that in awhile.”

Manager Terry Collins said Harvey might have regained some of his confidence.

“Mental,” Collins matter-of-factly told reporters when asked if the biggest change was mechanical or mental. “When you’re mentally strong you can fight through things.’’

That was the case in the seventh when the White Sox put runners on second and third with one out, but he regrouped to get Todd Frazier on a pop-up and J.B. Shuck on a grounder to shortstop.

That’s right, the seventh. It was the first time this season Harvey (4-7, 5.37) threw a pitch in the seventh inning.

“Emotion, intensity,” Collins said about what he liked about Harvey.  “When he got out of the seventh he was genuinely fired up. It was good to see.”

Harvey had been working with pitching coach Dan Warthen about his mechanics, ranging from his arm slot to his landing foot.It was nice to go out there and do some of the things I have been working on,’’ Harvey said. “To hold the runners on base is a good feeling.’’

“It was nice to go out there and do some of the things I have been working on,” Harvey said. “To hold the runners on base is a good feeling.”

It was easily the best game of the season, and for the next five days at least should silence the whispers.

His fastball? Harvey hit 98 on the gun a couple of times.

His breaking ball and off-speed pitches? His slider had a familiar bite to it and when you’re throwing 98,the change-up has a wider gap.

His control? One walk and only two other times did he reach three balls in the count.

“It’s a first step,” Harvey said. “This doesn’t mean anything if I don’t continue doing the things I’ve been working on.”

METS GAME WRAP

May 30, 2016, @ Citi Field

Game: #50          Score:  Mets 1, White Sox 0

Record: 28-21     Streak: W 1

Standings: Second, NL East, half-game behind the Nationals.  

Runs: 190    Average:  3.8   Times 3 or less: 24

SUMMARY:  Harvey was scintillating, and backed by Neil Walker’s 12th homer of the season, put the brakes on a season-long funk.

KEY MOMENT:  Wilmer Flores’ diving snag of Brett Lawrie’s line drive was converted into an inning-ending double play in the fifth. Knowing how things have turned on Harvey this year, Collins called the play of the game.

THUMBS UP:  A 1-2-3 ninth by Jeurys Familia to covert his 17th straight save opportunity this season after two horrendous outings in non-save opportunities over the weekend. … Two hits from Asdrubal Cabrera. … Two strikeouts from reliever Addison Reed.

THUMBS DOWN:  Nothing.

EXTRA INNINGS: David Wight did not play again because of herniated disk in his neck. He’s on anti-inflammatories and the disabled list remains a possibility. He will be re-examined Tuesday. … James Loney is expected to be activated Tuesday. … Michael Conforto did not play. … Ty Kelly got his first major league hit. … This was the Mets’ 28th 1-0 victory in their history. …

QUOTEBOOK:  “Harvey … Harvey … Harvey,’’ fans chanting Harvey’s name in the seventh, something we haven’t heard this year.

BY THE NUMBERS:  3: Total hits Harvey has given up in 16 combined innings over two career starts against the White Sox.

NEXT FOR METS:  Steven Matz (7-1, 2.38) will make his first career start against Chicago.

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2 thoughts on “Mets Wrap: Harvey Takes Step Towards Prominence

  1. Nice Wrap up, John… Awesome job by Harvey, with a shout out to Rene Rivera for calling a great game. Together, Harvey & Rivera formed a true “Pitcher-Catcher Battery”.

    Very pleased with post-game interview, during which Harvey discussed staying back over the rubber before he moves forward into his delivery. As a pitching coach, I instruct my pitchers to “stay back” and not to move forward until the leg lift reaches it’s apex. At that moment, the pitcher is balanced, collected and ready to drive toward home plate in a controlled state.

    The other part of that process is for the pitcher to “stay closed”. Remaining closed prevents the pitcher from opening too soon and allows him to plant his lead foot before he released the ball. Once his front foot lands, the pitcher opens his hips toward home and releases the ball – not 60’6″ from home, but moreso from 52′ – with authority. The cognitive effect is that the pitcher will feel as if someone’s moved home plate @ 8′ closer, and thus be able to “feel” his command of the pitch.

    I believe there’s a reason for everything. Perhaps Harvey’s difficult start allowed Thor & Matz to make huge strides forward, and to allow deGrom to regain his form under the radar. If Harvey is able to re-establish himself as one of the game’s elite starters, just think of how much our staff matured while he went through this very difficult process. And then think about Zach Wheeler returning to the staff sometime in July…

    So, yeah… A great Met victory. Ohhh Man… if we got our true ace back… look out National League!… LGM!!!

    • Tommy: Thanks so much for the kind words and your input. … A famous Yogism: You can’t think and hit at the same time. That applies to pitching, too. When your mechanics are off, even by a little bit, it gets in your mind and you can’t get it done. That has to be part of the problem with Harvey. … Plus, he’s a big guy and I think that plays into it also. … I agree with you on Rivera. Let him catch Harvey again. See what happens. … Thanks again.-JD