After a rough start, the Mets’ Matt Harvey struck out five of six hitters to provide the illusion he might have turned things around. However, that stretch became the illusion to give credence to speculation his last start was more smoke than substance, if not a fluke.
It’s hard to believe Harvey’s 31-pitch first inning was his high point as he ended up giving up six runs on five hits and four walks in five innings in taking the loss in losing to Pittsburgh, 12-7, tonight at Citi Field.
HARVEY: Didn’t have it. (AP)
Once again, it was Harvey’s inability to locate his fastball and command his secondary pitches. In short, nothing worked for Harvey, now 4-3 with a 5.43 ERA.
“Last week he was so good,” said manager Terry Collins said. “There are times when you have to battle through it.”
Coming off thoracic outlet surgery, pitching coach Dan Warthen said it wouldn’t be until mid-June at the earliest that Harvey would regain his velocity. Well, he’s topped out at 97 several times but was consistently in the low 90s tonight.
`My location wasn’t there,” Harvey said. “When you score seven runs you should win the game. … My location was off. I felt good (physically), but the location was off.”
However, regaining his pinpoint command has been another issue. It was clear in the first his command was off by the high pitch count, and further underscored by a leadoff walk and three runs given up in the fourth.
After Lucas Duda’s homer gave the Mets a lead for a second time, Harvey helped give it back again with a leadoff homer by Josh Bell and walk to Andrew McCutcheon in the sixth.
Why Collins let Harvey come out for the sixth is beyond me.
BULLPEN LOSES IT IN SIXTH: It’s hard to figure out what Collins was thinking as he left Paul Sewald in to struggle in the sixth inning as he retired only one of the eight hitters he faced.
Sewald gave up a single, two-run homer, infield hit, RBI double, single, hit a batter and issued a bases loaded walk.
Yeah, I know the Mets are short-handed in the bullpen, but one would think sometime before the walk to Bell to force in a run a light-bulb would have gone on in Collins’ head telling him Sewald didn’t have it tonight and short-handed or not, the Mets still had a game to win.
The Mets lead 7-5 going into the inning and trailed 11-7 when it was over.
Sewald should have been pulled after Elias Diaz’s homer (he drove in three with a bases-loaded double in the fourth off Harvey).
“It was one of those nights,” Sewald said. “I didn’t have my best stuff. I didn’t have my best fastball. I was struggling to get people out.”
Yeah, I get it, Collins doesn’t have many reliable relievers in the bullpen. Sewald was one of them before tonight.
“We were short tonight in the pen,” Collins said. “We didn’t want to burn too many guys in the pen. … He’s got to get us through the inning and he couldn’t do it.”
If Collins doesn’t trust his relievers, then they shouldn’t be on the team, and that’s on GM Sandy Alderson.
DUDA’S POWER WASTED: Duda homered twice against Pirates starter Gerrit Cole giving him ten for the season.
Duda has been sizzling with six homers in his last eight games.
Too bad it was wasted.