If you’re the Mets, you want more from Matt Harvey than he gave them last night. Yes, they won and he got the decision, but you need more from your ace.
You want Harvey to be sharper, but you need him to be smarter.
Harvey looked ordinary after starting with back-to-back strikeouts, but later missed on a couple of pitches in the “sweet spot,’’ zone on homers to lefty hitters Chase Utley and Cody Asche. That happens, but where Harvey was totally off was how he plunked Utley in retaliation for Phillies starter David Buchanan hitting Wilmer Flores and Michael Cuddyer.
Harvey said it was the situation of the game, but he wasn’t believable when he said he “got over amped it got away.”
Everybody knows when a pitcher throws at a hitter he does by throwing behind him. Utley knew it; he never made a move toward Harvey and didn’t even stare him down, unlike what the pitcher did with him.
Of course, I wouldn’t expect him to admit it as that means an automatic fine, if not a suspension.
Harvey was clearly not happy with the home run, or the RBI single, to Utley. His pitch count was slowly rising – another 90-plus pitches in six innings – and he was getting frustrated. You could see it on his face when the cameras caught him in the dugout.
One expected retaliation, but Harvey must be smarter in picking his spots. Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez – as you expect them – weren’t happy with Harvey. The other apologists at SNY, from Nelson Figueroa on down couldn’t bow enough to him.
Harvey definitely seems off after the delay on the challenge, which the Mets waited to do. You either make the call or you don’t, but you don’t make your pitcher wait and get out of rhythm.
Harvey missed on the home run pitches, but by inches. He’s walked only one hitter in his two starts compared to 17 strikeouts, so you know he can locate when he has to. It was clear that ball didn’t get away; Harvey knew where it was going.
In a close game and a runner on third, you don’t hit Utley. It was blatantly obvious. What if the umpire ejected him right there? What if he missed and the runner scored?
This came right after pitching coach Dan Warthen went to the mound, and there was no way he told Harvey to hit Utley. Harvey, as he frequently likes to do, acted on his own.
Earlier today I wrote how Harvey’s presence gives the Mets a chance to win. Tonight, he gave them a chance to lose.
Harvey actions weren’t the lone dark spot on what was a bright night in a bizarre game at Citi Field.
In the long term, David Wright had to leave the game with a pulled hamstring sustained while stealing second in the eighth inning.
“A couple of feet before I got to the bag I felt my hamstring grab,” Wright said. “I thought I could stretch it out but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made a couple of years ago.”
Wright will undergo a MRI Wednesday morning and the Mets are expected to bring up Eric Campbell from Triple-A Las Vegas.