Apr 25

Was Harvey Showing Off For His Future Team?

As I watched Matt Harvey pitch for the Mets today against the Yankees, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was he showing off for his future bosses? I have little doubt from his body language there’s little question to the matter of showing up his current boss.

Please don’t say Harvey someday toiling for the Yankees has not crossed your mind. How could it not? It definitely must have crossed the minds of GM Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons. If you were to wager a hundred bucks with Titanbet on whether Harvey will be a Met or Yankee when he reaches free agency, seriously, who’d you bet on?

HARVEY: What is going on with him? (AP)

HARVEY: What is going on with him? (AP)

Harvey, who makes no secret he grew up in Connecticut a passionate Yankees fan, was superb in toying with his boyhood team for the better part of 8.2 innings as he gave up two runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

However, what tells me Harvey will someday be gone is: 1) his youthful affection for the Yankees, which culminated in being photographed watching Derek Jeter last season from the stands when he was on the disabled list; 2) his attraction, like a moth to a light bulb, to the New York nightlife, which always has the light shining brightest on the Yankees; 3) his agent, Scott Boras, who has a reputation of getting every last dollar, and we all know the Yankees will outspend the Mets; and 4) we’ve never heard him passionately say he wants to finish his career in a Mets’ uniform.

He had a chance today to say something about that, but passed.

And finally, Mets’ management appears to be afraid to challenge their young, stud pitcher, who consistently pushes the envelope on about every issue. He sparred with Alderson as to where he would do his rehab and the issue of wanting to pitch last season.

Despite lip service in spring training, Harvey did nothing to dispel the notion there’s a divide when he refused to give up his start last Sunday despite being ill, and pitching the last month with a sprained ankle (Collins said he didn’t know about it until the middle of last week, which is unfathomable).

Harvey flat out said he didn’t want to give up the start last week and it was obvious he did not like Collins pulling him today. Even after Collins made up his mind, Harvey fought to stay in the game. Then, as he walked into the dugout he could be seen shaking his head.

Finally, in the handshake line after the game, he shook hands with Collins, but breezed past him and didn’t acknowledge what the manager said.

“I didn’t look at the board once to see how many pitches I had,’’ Harvey said, which would make him unique as pitchers always know. “I still felt good, I still felt strong. I thanked them for letting me come out for the ninth.”

The gratitude did not sound convincing.

Collins did all he could after the game to boost up Harvey and gave the impression nothing was wrong, saying he had a limit of 105 pitches. This was despite Collins saying coming out of spring training he’d try to limit him to 90 to 95 pitches. Collins said he chose to leave Harvey in after he left the mound following the eighth inning when the pitcher said, “I want this one.”

Managers often acquiesce to such requests, but usually not those coming off Tommy John surgery.

I appreciate the difficulty of Collins’ position, but fault him and Alderson for not defining a position for Harvey prior to the season. Had they been decisive then, and don’t forget Alderson comes across as knowing it all, this wouldn’t be an issue. Because they didn’t, Harvey’s innings will come to the forefront with every start.

Since Alderson and Collins have no intent to do something definitive with Harvey’s workload, I would have appreciated them not blowing smoke saying they wanted to conserve his innings, especially that for Harvey’s second straight start they didn’t take advantage of pulling him from a blowout victory.

They could have saved two innings last Sunday and three today. That’s five innings – enough for another start – they could have saved for September. Tell me, wouldn’t you rather have Harvey save his bullets now and use them later in a pennant race?

Growing up in Connecticut, Harvey watched Jeter, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams involved in pennant races and undoubtedly thought someday of pitching for them in the playoffs.

On this day, at least Harvey was smart enough to not let his past conflict with what’s happening around them today.

“I’m playing for the Mets, that’s who I play for,’’ Harvey said. “I’m a New York Met.’’

One almost expected to hear, “for now.’’

Apr 25

Mets Game Thread: Harvey Should Be Gone By Now

For his second straight start, the Mets gave Matt Harvey a 7-1 lead. He cruised through six and retired his last ten hitters. Again, and only because the Mets made a big deal of this, here was an opportunity to preserve his innings.

So, why am I not surprised he is still out there?

That he’s still pitching indicates the Mets never had any plan to limit his innings, and GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins were just blowing smoke. It also indicates they seem to be walking on egg shells around him. Yes, the tail wags the dog.

Mark Teixeira homered to lead off the seventh for the Yankees.

Harvey is pitching with house money today, so he shouldn’t have come out for this inning. With his pitch count down, I’d rather save Harvey’s bullets now and not worry about pulling him from a 3-3 game in September. If the Mets are as good as they say they are, they shouldn’t be afraid to go to their bullpen.

Compounding matters is nobody is warming up in the Mets’ bullpen, so Harvey will come out for the eighth.

Mets 7, Yankees 2 (8th)

Apr 25

Mets Game Thread: Mets Regain Lead

Situational hitting was a problem for the Mets in recent seasons, but that wasn’t the case today when they jumped on C.C. Sabathia in a four-run fourth. Juan Lagares had a two-out, RBI triple and scored on Wilmer Flores. Lagares and Flores extending the inning set up Kevin Plawecki‘s two-run homer, the first of his career.

In their dugout one sensed the Mets looking at Matt Harvey and thinking, “O.K., big guy, you have a lead, now hold it.”

I like how Harvey went after the Yankees as he eschewed the strikeout and challenged them to put the ball in play. By the way, that was nice sliding catch by John Mayberry Jr., in left to end the inning.

Mets 5, Yankees 1 (5th)

Apr 25

Mets Game Thread: On Attacking Harvey

The Mets got off to a fast start on Lucas Duda‘s first-inning homer off C.C. Sabathia. Now, we will see what Matt Harvey is all about. Pitching ill last Sunday and doing so on a sprained left ankle were key Harvey-related stories this week.

Jacoby Ellsbury swung at the first pitch and flied to center. Brett Gardner swung at two of the first three pitches and is behind in the count. Some not-so-smart hitting by the Yankees. With Harvey having a questionable ankle, I would have thought the Yankees would have tested him by laying down a bunt to see the strength of Harvey’s ankle.

I’m surprised the Yankees didn’t go after him right away just to see how Harvey would react.

Mets 1, Yankees 0 (2nd)

 

Apr 24

DeGrom, Mets Ripped In Bronx, But No Shoe Is Falling

What, you expected this to last forever for the Mets?

I was on the phone with a friend prior to the game and he expressed nervousness about this series with the Yankees, saying he had a feeling “the other shoe is going to fall.”

DeGROM: Rough night.  (Getty)

DeGROM: Rough night. (Getty)

Well, it didn’t fall after Jacob deGrom gave up three homers in tonight’s 6-1 loss to the Yankees. No matter what happens the remainder of the weekend, no shoe will fall. How can it fall after one weekend? Just as you can’t be thinking World Series after the 11-game winning streak, you can’t think the sky is falling after one weekend.

It is too early.

Perhaps it was the cold and deGrom might have had trouble gripping the ball. After all, there were snowflakes falling tonight. I don’t think it was a matter of nerves for deGrom, but simply a bad night. It happens. The driving force behind the winning streak was strong solid pitching. They didn’t get it tonight.

On the flip side, the Mets weren’t able to do anything against Michael Pineda. If you don’t hit, you can’t win. Sometimes, it really is a simple game to figure out.

I’ve never liked interleague play, and other than see if the Mets could make it 12 straight, or who plate umpire Doug Eddings would eject from the game, you had to search for things.

By the way, how did Eddings know to toss Jon Niese? If it really was Niese, maybe he got on Eddings just to get out of the cold. But, if the plate umpire is paying attention to the game – which is what he is supposed to be doing – then how does he know who was riding him? Seriously, does he know these guys by their voices?

If Eddings doesn’t like being yelled at from the dugout, maybe he should do a better job calling balls and strikes. Just a suggestion. When an umpire is that sensitive to criticism, they say he has rabbit ears – and the chiding won’t end.

That’s one of my criticisms about umpiring. It’s a long season, so there’s plenty of time to get into that subject. It’s also a long season, so there’s no reason to get excited about one bad game.

However, there was some encouraging things to take from tonight. Wilmer Flores continues to show he can hit on this level. Curtis Granderson went to the opposite field for a double late in the game. He’s working the count and spraying the ball. He doesn’t get caught up in trying to hit homers. There was also deGrom, who didn’t have it, but somehow managed to take the Mets through the fifth.

Finally, Hansel Robles escaped from a bases-loaded, no-outs jam without giving up a run.

How can the other shoe fall with those nuggets?

Besides that, Matt Harvey is pitching Saturday, so what could be wrong?