Today’s Question: Will the real Matt Harvey, or the version he claims to be step up?
Arizona was where it all began for Harvey, who struck out 11 Diamondbacks in his major league debut late in the lost season that was 2012. He had poise that day, an explosive fastball, and above all, devastating command.
The Mets crowed about what they had, and they had the right. Harvey finished the year at 3-5, but with a 2.73 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.
A few short months later, Harvey masked the pain in his right forearm, and when the injury was finally revealed, he, along with coaxing of ownership, let their future start in the All-Star Game.
He was brilliant that night in Citi Field, but a few weeks later the burning in his elbow needed to be cooled by Tommy John surgery. We can gloss over the pettiness in his sparring with management about whether to have surgery, went to have it, and where he should rehab.
He fought the Mets at every turn, and when he came back in 2015 he fought with them over his innings limit.
Then there was Game 5 of the World Series.
Now, Harvey goes to the mound with a 31-31 career record and more questions than answers. Harvey goes in with a three-game losing streak and suspension on his most recent resume.
“You get to the point where you don’t sit here and say, ‘I hope I get this’ and ‘I hope I get that,’ ” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “You just send him out there and you hope he’s getting back to what Matt Harvey is. That’s what I’m looking for: improvement. That’s it.”
What is the real Matt Harvey? Well, on-the-field he’s been underachieving with average numbers. Off-the-field he’s still caught up with an arrogant sense of entitlement whose act is wearing thin.
He received no public support from his teammates, which is rare in a baseball clubhouse. That’s partly because he’s done nothing lately to prove to his teammates he’s worth the trouble.
That’s the heart of the matter.