Harvey Was Something
Whenever he takes the mound, the biggest story in any Mets game is going to be Matt Harvey. Part of the reason is Harvey is a lightning rod. The main reason is the Mets need Harvey to be good if they have any hopes to get back to .500 and then back into the NL East race. If we get the Harvey we saw tonight, there is a chance.
Now, this wasn’t the Harvey of 2013 or even 2015. Heck, this wasn’t even the Harvey of April. This was a Harvey still trying to find himself and succeeding more than he has been. We saw some things from his struggles this year that gave you some pause as to how this game would progress. First, there is his propensity to give up the long ball as evidenced by the Gregory Polanco second inning home run. There is the command as shown by Harvey’s two walks. Then, there is the inability to really put batters away. Tonight, he had only four strikeouts.
And yet, there was a Harvey emerging that could be a good pitcher again. The one thing that stood out was his ability to limit the damage. The biggest example of this was the fourth inning. The Mets had a narrow 2-1 lead, and the Pirates had a rally going. David Freese hit a one out infield singles, and Andrew McCutchen followed with his own single. As if this wasn’t enough, Harvey threw a wild pitch putting runners on second and third with one out. Harvey responded by striking out Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer to end the inning.
Overall, Harvey threw 102 pitches over six innings. It was his longest outing in over a month, and it was his second straight win. It might’ve been due to a weak Pirates lineup. It could be Harvey is getting back to becoming a reliable pitcher. Whatever it is, the Mets should take it right now.
The Mets will also take the seven runs they got tonight. The biggest source of those runs came from the three players who would be most affected by the return of Yoenis Cespedes – Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson. Bruce showed signs of getting out of his May funk going 3-5 with a run, two doubles, and an RBI. Granderson, hitting lead-off with Michael Conforto getting the night off, had hit first three hit game of the season going 3-5 with a run, double, and an RBI. Duda homered in his second straight game, and third out of the last four games.
Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera also collected RBI hits in what was an easy 7-2 victory. Overall, the only thing that put a damper on the night was Terry Collins‘ handling of the bullpen. With a five run lead in the seventh, he turned to Paul Sewald for two innings making him unavailable again for a few days. It wasn’t until the ninth that he used Neil Ramirez, and Ramirez struggled enough to lead to Jerry Blevins having to warm up in yet another game.
Still, the Mets took two out of three in the series. It was a step in the right direction and another step towards .500. Sooner of later, the Mets are going to have to stop giving games away, and they are going to have to turn some of these series victories into sweeps. Still, it was a good win leaving the team on a good note as they head back to Citi Field.
Game Notes: This was the Mets first win on a Sunday since their first Sunday game of the season. For the second straight game, a Mets pitcher failed to get down a sacrifice bunt. Juan Lagares was the only Mets starter without a hit.