It happens. It just happens with more regularity with the New York Mets. Sometimes it is the offense that let’s Matt Harvey down; other times it is the bullpen.
Either way, the Mets are wasting the best thing to happen to them in years.
Last night it was a little bit of both, with the obvious villain the bullpen which gave up five runs in the last two innings to leave Harvey with his ninth no-decision of the season.
That’s a high number for even a full 34-start season, but shockingly alarming considering last night’s 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals came in Harvey’s 16th start.
In Godfather fashion the Mets pulled us back in to thinking there could be some fun in the second half of the season. During the Mets’ 7-4 road trip, the pen had a 0.52 ERA in 34 1/3 innings. But, it wasn’t all roses as there were several walk-off defeats. Veteran Mets watchers would have noted those losses and waited for the other shoe to fall.
It did last night.
It was a crushing defeat regardless of who started, but moreso because it was Harvey, the best they have to offer as nobody can say for sure what Zack Wheeler will give them and Jon Niese is out indefinitely.
Harvey was magnificent, giving up a run on three hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. He was even better after the game by not throwing the pen under the bus when he had every right.
If the media was waiting for fingers to be pointed, it wouldn’t come from Harvey.
“It’s baseball, it happens,’’ Harvey told reporters last night. “Those guys go out every single day and pitch their butts off. Today just happened to be one of those days.’’
Terry Collins said he could have left Harvey in the game, but he had already thrown 109 grueling pitches on a hot, humid night. It was a close game throughout, so every pitch mattered. Every pitch had some stress attached.
Bobby Parnell, who had been a plus this year, gave up two runs in the ninth.
Of course, it didn’t have to come down to that, as the offense went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine, including the bases loaded in the fourth. They also left runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
When the game was getting away from them in the last two innings, all they managed was a walk by Omar Quintanilla.
Although Harvey has gone longer this year, I can’t fault Collins for pulling him.
“Yeah, I could have left him in, no doubt about it,’’ a defensive Collins said. “I could have let him throw 150 [pitches]. I decided to take him out, I thought he had enough.’’
Harvey did his job, and Collins made the right decision. But, as has often been the case, it wasn’t enough.
Once again, Harvey, the best the Mets have to offer, was wasted.
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