Matt Harvey doesn’t have to be reminded about tonight’s match-up with the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg.
Harvey has always been intense, and he gave manager Terry Collins a preview prior to batting practice.
“He was a little grouchy,’’ Collins said this afternoon. “He’s usually not quite that grouchy. When your manager walks up to you and the first thing you want to do is bite his head off, you’re a little bit on the edge.
“I tried to rein him down a little bit, because he’s sky-high at the moment. But I know he’s ready for it. I know he’s excited about it. He’s got a huge challenge on his hands.’’
Collins has an inkling how Harvey might respond tonight, and like everybody else in Citi Field tonight said he’s anxious because of the marquee match-up. Tonight is Harvey’s 14th major league start, so it is premature to be dusting off any shelves in Cooperstown.
However, there is an aura about him that prompts Collins to call him special.
“This is when the real good players step up,’’ Collins said. “He’s still a young, young player yet. And we have to understand what he’s accomplished thus far is certainly outstanding, but he’s still a young guy.’’
What Harvey has accomplished and what he wants to accomplish are two different things. Harvey doesn’t just want to be good, he wants to be the best.
“He wants to be the best that there is in the game,” Collins said. “The last time I ever heard someone say that was [Barry] Bonds. So it was a pretty big statement, I thought. All he’s done thus far is backed it up.’’
METS MUSINGS: Collins said Triple-A catcher Travis d’Arnaud won’t need surgery on his fractured left foot, but will be in a boot. Collins said d’Arnaud could be out for up to eight weeks.
Here’s tonight’s lineup against Strasburg:
Jordany Valdespin, CF: Making his sixth start as the leadoff hitter. Is batting .409 in that position.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Is tied for the NL lead with seven doubles and is tenth in average at .352.
David Wright, 3B: Is third in the league with 14 RBI, including ten in his last five games.
Ike Davis, 1B: Takes a .146 average and three RBI into the game.
John Buck, C: Hitting .300 with six homers and 19 RBI, but has only two hits in his last 13 at-bats.
Marlon Byrd, RF: Has hit in four straight games, going 5-for-17 with six RBI.
Ruben Tejada, SS: Has hit in seven of his last nine games to raise average to .250. Leads the majors with six errors.
Matt Harvey, RHP: Was named NL Player of the Week for April 8-14.