Matt Harvey did what aces are expected to do, which was pick up his struggling Mets when they needed him most with a 4-0 gem tonight over the Washington Nationals.
HARVEY: Big time effort. (AP)
The Mets went into the game losers of three straight to watch their once sizable lead over the Nationals dwindle down to five games (4.5 over Atlanta and Miami). Yes, tonight was as close to being a “must win” game as you can get on the first day of May.
Harvey relishes these situations and responded by giving up only five hits in seven scoreless innings despite not having his best fastball (indicative of only three strikeouts). Consequently, Harvey had to go to his breaking ball more than he normally would have wanted.
“Matt Harvey takes these games to heart. When you have a No. 1, it’s just great to have,” manager Terry Collins said. “You can depend on him.”
His 5-0 record is comprised with three victories following a Mets’ loss. Earlier today I wrote about what makes Harvey special, but there’s another reason – he can locate all of his pitches and do so without his best fastball.”
It was thought Harvey, who was aided by Michael Cuddyer‘s homer in the fourth and a diving catch by Juan Lagares‘ diving catch in the fifth, might come out for the eighth, but Collins said he didn’t think he had anything left.
“I thought he had run out of gas,” Collins said. “He was starting to labor between pitches. The one thing I didn’t want to do was to have to go out there if and they got a guy on and you have to go out and get him.”
Harvey had no qualms with Collins’ decision.
“I think he made the right decision,” Harvey said. “He did exactly what he needed to do. He made the right call.”
This put the Mets in position of having to rely on Jeurys Familia for a fifth-out save. What could have been a tense situation was considerably relaxed with Daniel Murphy‘s three-run double in the eighth.
Harvey called Familia’s effort “huge,” but the same can be said for his.