Here’s the Mets’ lineup tonight against San Francisco:
Curtis Granderson – RF
Juan Lagares – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Michael Cuddyer – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Dilson Herrera – 2B
Eric Campbell – 3B
Jonathon Niese – LHP
The best thing the Mets’ Matt Harvey did Wednesday night was not offer excuses for his mauling by the Giants.
There are explanations for everything, but Harvey wouldn’t say the three home runs crushed by the Giants or his second seven-run outing in his last four starts, was the result of Tommy John surgery.
“This is Major League Baseball,’’ Harvey told reporters moments after suffering his fourth loss of the season. “You can’t hit your spots, you can’t mix things in well, you’re not going to do your job very well.
“I just have to be better. There’s no excuses to be made. My job is to go out and put up zeroes. I’m not doing that very well. Right now I’m just not executing anything.’’
Normally a strikeout machine, Harvey had only only two last night. Harvey is throwing hard enough, but a product of Tommy John surgery is his pitches weren’t darting; the movement he normally has wasn’t there.
Of the three, location, movement and velocity, speed is the least important. Harvey is usually in the strike zone, but has little movement in it. That makes him easier to hit.
“Everything was all over the place,’’ Harvey said. “I just tried to go a certain place and couldn’t do it. The ball was over the middle or high. … I’m just not doing my job very well.’’
Harvey said he feels fine physically and wouldn’t bite on surgery as being an out.
“It’s just a terrible performance,’’ Harvey said. “The last couple of starts have been extremely bad. I’m just not getting it done, not helping the team in any way. Something needs to change. I need to go to square one.’’
He already took the first step by not having any alibis. Good for him.
Another game, another bunch of homers hit – no, make that crushed – off the Mets’ Matt Harvey.
The Giants looked comfortable in slugging three homers off Harvey and ripping him for seven runs. It was the second time in four starts he was blistered for seven runs.
Harvey (now 6-4 with a 3.62 ERA) has given up 12 homers and 24 extra-base hits overall in 12 starts. After Harvey was rocked for 11 runs in consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Miami, manager Terry Collins suggested the problem was a dead arm.
Harvey quickly dismissed that stock theory for when a pitcher gets torched a couple of times, which made sense because he was clocked in the mid-90s and including the Marlins game, threw over 100 pitches in back-to-back starts.
So, what’s the problem? Why has Harvey given up eight homers in his last four starts, after giving up eight homers in his previous 26?
First, consider Wednesday was Harvey’s 48th career start, which puts him in the equivalent of his second full season, which is when the real learning takes place. And, don’t forget, the hitters are learning, too.
We also must remember he’s coming off Tommy John surgery and perhaps his arm isn’t what he would want. His breaking pitches, in particular his slider, don’t have the same bite they had in 2013 when he was an All-Star and achieved cult status.
We must also look at his walks. He’s only walked 14, which is a great stat, but it also means his pitches are usually in the strike zone. Although he still throws hard, Harvey must recognize he can’t get by simply throwing heat. It also suggests his pitches, although thrown hard, don’t have the darting movement needed.
Knowing Harvey’s control is exceptional; hitters don’t hang around to fall behind in the count. Harvey has given up three homers on the first pitch (overall hitters are batting .450 off him on the first pitch). He’s also given up five homers after being behind 1-0 in the count.
So, it isn’t just one thing, but several contributing factors to why hitters are lighting up the “Dark Knight.’’
It was a poor start by Noah Syndergaard, but it really didn’t matter considering the Mets didn’t get any hits in being no-hit by Giants rookie, Chris Heston, 5-0 Tuesday at Citi Field. Heston struck out 11 and didn’t walk anybody, but did hit three Mets.
It was the fourth no-hitter in as many seasons by the Giants, and the 17th in franchise history. The Mets, as you obviously know, have just that tainted one thrown by Johan Santana. The Mets have been no-hit seven times in their history.
Despite the loss, the Mets maintained their slim half-game lead over Washington, which lost to the Yankees, in the NL East.
Syndergaard allowed at least 10 hits for the his second straight start and struck out fewer than five for the first time in six career starts.
EXTRA INNINGS: In their nine home losses, the Mets have scored just 12 runs and have been shut out in five of them. … Giants’ pitching have thrown ten shutouts. … Dilson Herrera had two hits for Triple-A Las Vegas. … Bobby Parnell, who is expected to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday, pitched a scoreless inning for Double-A Binghamton.
Catcher Kevin Plawecki was scratched from tonight’s starting lineup after complaining of dizziness. He missed two games over the weekend in Arizona with similar symptoms.
Plawecki was tested for, but not diagnosed with vertigo, which affected him last season. He’s expected to be either placed on the disabled list or optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas tomorrow when Travis d’Arnaud is activated from the disabled list.
The Mets will also have another decision to make when infielder Dilson Herrera comes off the disabled list.