It was only one game, and not even six innings to boot. But, for one night at least, Matt Harvey gave the Mets a glimpse of a future that could be good. A 3-1 victory last night at Arizona, a place usually difficult for the Mets, snapped their losing streak and gave the team a positive hope.
HARVEY: First impression was a good one. (AP)
In his debut, anticipated for weeks, Harvey gave up three hits and struck out 11 and collected two hits of his own.
Later, he spoke as a vet.
“When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in,” Harvey said. “At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance.”
Harvey, the Mets’ first pick in the 2010 draft, set a franchise record for strikeouts in a debut, and became the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and collect a pair of hits in his first game.
“He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat.”
The most important thing about last night? With the season slipping away, Harvey gave us
a reason to watch again.
As I type this the Mets are flying to blistering Phoenix with the words of Terry Collins ringing in my ears. The Mets followed up their 1-5 road trip with an 0-6 homestand.
Collins’ post-game presser today was filled with promises we’ve heard before. Over the next two weeks, the Mets will start playing as they did in the first half. They would b more patient with their at-bats; they would pitch better; they would play better defense; and, they would be fundamentally sound.
Sounds good. Also sounds like something we’ve heard before. What I don’t understand is how Collins can promise all this. If it were something that could be readily promised and delivered, then why don’t the Mets play that way all the time?
The thing is Collins can’t make such a promise. Not only is it impossible, but he doesn’t have the talent on his team to make it happen.
How long will Chris Young last tonight before things unravel? Whether it is the fifth, sixth or seventh inning – anything later is a pipe dream – it really doesn’t matter because the third time through the order is when he loses it.
There’s a few ways around it. The first is to give him 18 outs then pull him regardless. The second, and the most prudent, is to give the 18 outs PLUS the first runner. Once somebody gets on pull him because this is when things unravel.
Against the Nationals last week it was an infield hit then a homer. Just like that, the momentum shifted. I realize the Mets have no bullpen to speak of so Terry Collins can be understood for wanting to stay out of it.
But, staying with Young isn’t a great idea, either.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jordany Valdespin, rf
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Jason Bay, lf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Josh Thole, c
Chris Young, rhp
After another horrid start by Johan Santana – at least six runs in last three starts – the Mets are clearly worried about his arm. They insist he’s not injured of this related to his high pitch count in his no-hitter.
Maybe they are correct. Maybe it’s denial. But, something isn’t right with Santana and you don’t have to be a pitching coach to see it. His fastball last night clocked at two, three mph., slower than it had been. He’s also not challenging hitters as he used to. In previous seasons, and maybe earlier this year, he would have challenged Matt Kemp instead of having Josh Thole set up in the left-handed batters box.
The Mets are considering pushing him back a start, skipping him in the rotation altogether and putting him on the DL to “get some energy back in his arm,” said Terry Collins.
Over his last three starts, Santana has given up 19 earned runs over 12.2 innings for a lofty 13.50 ERA. ), and became just the third pitcher in franchise history to give up six or more earned runs in three consecutive starts.
Santana insists his health is fine, but that the problem is not commanding his fastball. If something were wrong, the competitor in him wouldn’t allow him to admit it, just gut it out. Even so his ERA is 3.98 ERA, over a run higher than at the time of the no-hitter (2.75).
Santana’s next scheduled start is Wednesday afternoon against the Nationals. We’ll see. I’ll take the DL option just to shut it all down and start over.
There it was, the sixth inning and Chris Young was cruising. We have been here before. It is the third time around the order when Young loses it. Trouble is, it happens so quickly. An infield hit and a couple of batters later, Adam LaRoche homered with two strikes.
You’d take two runs over six innings every time from Young, but it would help if the offense scored. Home runs in the ninth from David Wright and Jason Bay were cosmetic more than anything.
There are two ways to avoid the late-inning Young woes. The first is to pull him out after five regardless. The second is to pull him once a runner gets on. Trouble is, with what the Mets have in the pen, you’re talking rock and hard place.
And, all this came after a team meeting in which Terry Collins wanted to salve the Mets’ growing wounds, which is now in the form of a six-game losing streak, their longest of the season.
The Mets aren’t pitching well, at least not in the pen and recently from R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana. They aren’t hitting. I wrote yesterday how the Mets were on the edge and their season was on the verge of slipping away. Nothing has changed and there aren’t any signs of things getting better.
One thing Collins told his players that if change was to come it was to be from within. There’s no promises of adding relief pitching or a right-handed bat. It could happen, but Collins said not to count on it.
In saying so, he said count on this summer slipping away.