It is hard to say Matt Harvey turned the corner for the simple reason the Mets’ pitcher himself won’t acknowledge the possibility.
Harvey encored the seven shutout innings he threw in his last start against the White Sox with seven more strong innings in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins. He sure looked good, but …
“It’s still two starts,” Harvey told reporters. “Obviously, there were massive struggles that happened before. The only thing you want to think of is not letting that creep back in. Today was, I guess you could say, a second step from the last start. But obviously going deep into the game and feeling pretty good, it’s definitely a positive.”
Harvey struck out only three hitters, but that’s a positive because the Marlins put the ball in play to keep his pitch down to 104.
METS GAME WRAP
June 5, 2016, @ Miami
Game: #55 Score: Marlins 1, Mets 0
Record: 31-24 Streak: L 1
Standings: Second, NL East, two games behind Washington. Playoffs: First WC, 1.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh.
Runs: 54 Average: 3.8 Times 3 or less: 27
SUMMARY: Harvey was superb, but Miami starter Jose Fernandez was basically untouchable.
KEY MOMENT: Wilmer Flores struck out to end the seventh with two runners on to end the Mets’ best scoring opportunity.
THUMBS UP: Yoenis Cespedes did not start, but was able to bat as a pinch-hitter. He should be able to play Monday in Pittsburgh. … Michael Conforto continued his breakout signs with another hit. … Another hit by James Loney.
EXTRA INNINGS: Juan Lagares did not play because of a sprained left thumb. He’ll return to New York Monday to be examined by team doctors.
QUOTEBOOK: ““It was one of those game where you have a great pitching match-up head to head, and that’s exactly what you would expect — a 1-0 game,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2: Number of Mets to reach scoring position.
NEXT FOR METS: Steven Matz (7-1, 2.60) vs. former Met Jonathon Niese (5-2, 4.36) at Pittsburgh on Monday.
If the Mets return to the World Series, they’ll get there with their young starting pitching and the power that has become their offensive trademark. However, they’ll also need what they received in Saturday’s 6-4 victory at Miami; a representative start from Bartolo Colon and important contributions by their non-descript players; those off the bench, at the bottom of the order and newcomers.
All came into play to support of Colon, who gave up two runs in five innings.
“We’ve said all along that we need guys to step up and pick each other up,’’ manager Terry Collins said.
* Three more hits from Wilmer Flores, Wright’s replacement at third. He has five hits over the last two games.
* Matt Reynolds, who collected his first career RBI with a pinch-hit single in the eighth for what proved to be the game-winning hit.
* Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run double iced the game in the ninth.
* Another strong relief appearance from Addison Reed.
Although the Mets didn’t homer and stranded 14 runners, they did string together 15 hits and went 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
There will be more days like Friday when they ripped three homers – something they’ve done 11 times this year – there will be more when they don’t and will need what they received today.
METS GAME WRAP
June 4, 2016, @ Citi Field
Game: #54 Score: Mets 6, Marlins 4
Record: 31-23 Streak: W 2
Standings: Second, NL East, 1 game behind Washington. Playoffs: First WC, 1.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh.
Runs: 54 Average: 3.8 Times 3 or less: 26
SUMMARY: Reynolds, Loney and De Aza – the non-stars – backed Colon, who gave the Mets five innings despite not having his best start.
KEY MOMENT: Lagares’ diving catch – in which he bruised his left thumb – robbed Suzuki of two RBI and possibly stave off a potential big inning.
THUMBS UP: The struggling Conforto drove in two runs with a single and sacrifice fly. … Another strong inning from Reed, who has 12 holds. … Jim Henderson relieved Jerry Blevins to get out of the seventh. … Reynolds, Loney, Flores and De Aza combined for eight hits and four RBI. … Lagares’ defense.
THUMBS DOWN: Kevin Plawecki failed to touch the plate on a force play. … Jeurys Familia remains an adventure in the ninth. … Hansel Robles, quick pitch or not, gave up a run on a hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
EXTRA INNINGS: Cespedes was scratched 30 minutes before the game with a sore right hip and is day-to-day. … Lagares bruised his left thumb on the catch and was unable to grip a bat. The DL is a possibility. … Jacob deGrom pinch-hit for Reed and popped out to end the ninth. The Mets had a three-run lead at the time. It begs the question of why risk an injury to a starting pitcher. Just let Reed hit.
QUOTEBOOK: “I bruised my finger a little. We’ll see how it feels [Sunday],’’ Lagares on his thumb injury.
BY THE NUMBERS: 13.1: Consecutive scoreless innings by Reed.
I am on record as being an advocate of Wilmer Flores long before the tears. He’ll be getting his second straight start Saturday in Miami as David Wright‘s replacement at third base. Here’s hoping this opportunity is legitimate.
By that, I mean if he goes hitless for two or three games that he goes out there for a fourth game. He played a lot last year when Wright was injured and Terry Collins needs to keep him in the lineup now. It has to be Flores’ job to lose.
Pulling him after a week for Eric Cambell or Ty Kelly isn’t a good idea. If they can pull off a solid trade now, go for it, but it really is too soon for a major trade.
I floated several trade options Friday, among them getting Kelly Johnson back from the Braves, Milwaukee’s Aaron Hill, San Diego’s Yangervis Solarte or the Angels’ Yunel Escobar. All are making more than Flores, but honestly, are any of them that far superior they should get the job instead?
The Mets will never learn of Flores’ true abilities – and value – if he’s not given a long-term opportunity. If he’s not adding something offensively by the All-Star break, then explore other options before the trade deadline.
If the Mets appear too eager now in the trade market, they could overpay, so it’s in their best interests to stay with Flores right now.
Bartolo Colon goes for the Mets today as they try to make it a two-game winning streak. Is two games really a winning streak? BTW: Miami is where Colon entertained us with his behind-the-back flip to first base.
Here’s today’s order:
Curtis Granderson – RF: (.203/9/16) Should have a lot more RBI for the number of homers. Hitting paltry .103 (3-29) with RISP. Hitting .217 lifetime against Marlins.
Asdrubal Cabrera – SS: (.275/5/19). Hitting .297 (11-37) with RISP. Lifetime .301 hitter against Marlins. Ranks third in All-Star voting.
Yoenis Cespedes – LF: (.278/15/37). Hitting .250 (10-40 with 21 RBI) with RISP. Ranks third in All-Star voting.
Neil Walker – 2B: (.284/13/25). Hitting .314 (11-35 with 10 RBI) with RISP. Hit 16 homers last year. Ranks third in All-Star voting.
Juan Lagares – CF: (.277/2/6). Hitting .273 lifetime against Marlins. Is batting .310 (13-42) on the road. Back to playing superb defense.
James Loney – 1B: (.231/1/2). Hit 100th career homer Friday night. Career .247 hitter against Miami. Was batting .342 in minors before trade from San Diego.
Colon – RHP: Is 7-4 with 2.92 ERA lifetime vs. Miami. Is 3-1 on the road this year.
COMMENTS: Four of today’s starters weren’t in Opening Day lineup. … I know Michael Conforto is in a terrible hitting slump, but he’ll never learn to hit lefties if he doesn’t face them. … Mets are 12-5 in day games. … The Mets have eight come-from-behind victories this season.