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Give Harvey One More Start, Just One, And Not With Lobaton

Last night, Matt Harvey had another low moment in his Mets career.  Really after Terry Collins went to the mound in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, it has been nothing but low moments for Harvey.  He’s was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, forever complained about his mechanics, and he had stress reactions from being rushed back to the rotation.

Now, this was supposed to be the year Harvey turned it around.  He had Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland there to help get him back on track.  He is also a pending free agent, and the assumption always is Scott Boras free agents always have their best years in their contract walk years.

In his first start of the season, there was a real glimmer of hope.  In five innings, Harvey limited what is a pretty decent Phillies lineup to one hit over five scoreless innings while striking out five and walking one.  He focused more on locating than blowing it by batters.  Really, this is what everyone agrees Harvey needs to be now, and he looked great doing it.

Since then, he hasn’t been quite as good.  Against the Nationals, he fooled no one allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk in five innings, and he only struck out two.  That said, Harvey did keep the Mets in the game.  That’s something he has failed to do in his two subsequent starts.

The worst of which being last night with the Braves tattooing Harvey in two separate innings to score six runs.

Even with that, if you wanted to find a silver lining, it was there for you as Harvey retired 11 of the last 12 Braves he faced.  After the adversity of the first and third innings, he didn’t meldown.  He refocused, and he at least got the Mets through the sixth inning. If you wanted to justify giving him another start, you had it right there.

As it stands anyway, it does not seem like Jason Vargas is going to be ready in five days.  Corey Oswalt was held out of his last start with an illness meaning he’s no longer lined up for Harvey’s next start, and it’s not likely Chris Flexen is going to be lined up for Harvey’s next start either.

With the Mets in the midst of 10 straight games without an off day, and the team playing 15 games over the next 16 days, including stops at Atlanta, St. Louis, and San Diego, they should avoid using Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo for a spot start.  The bullpen has issues of its own with the team twice needing to go into the minors to get a fresh arm, and after Gerson Bautista‘s performance last night, they may need to do it again.  The bullpen issues need not be exacerbated for the sake of one start.

Really, all signs indicate Harvey should probably get just one more start.  However, if that does happen Jose Lobaton cannot be the one who catches him.

In the two starts they have been paired, Harvey has an 8.18 ERA and batters are hitting .348/.367/.630 off of him.  Contrast that to the 3.60 ERA and .250/.302/.375 batting line opposing batters have off of him when d’Arnaud caught him.

Maybe it’s just the reflection of small sample sizes.  Maybe its’ the difference in opponents.  Maybe Harvey doesn’t jive well with Lobaton, or maybe Harvey needs a good pitch framer to get those borderline strikes to ensure he doesn’t have to pitch closer to the strike and hitting zone.

Whatever the case, we’ve seen a glimmer of hope with Harvey.  The team needs one more start out of him before Vargas returns.  You’ve invested so much into him the past few seasons.  Give him one last chance with the best chance to succeed with Tomas Nido behind the plate.

If that doesn’t work, you can honestly say you’ve tried all you can do, and it’s time to discuss bullpen, minors, or releasing him.  But before you do that, just give him one last start with every chance for him to succeed.

10 thoughts on “Give Harvey One More Start, Just One, And Not With Lobaton”

  1. Gothamist says:

    They are worried about Harvey getting one extra start of mediocrity?
    What about one extra day Lobaton is in this organization?!

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I think Lobaton was fine backup catcher depth. He’s not a starter.

  2. OldBackstop says:

    Harvey’s problem isn’t catchers, Lobaton is fine behind the plate. He has been in the majors for almost ten seasons and has a career batting average of .217 — clearly, the guy can perform all the duties behind the plate. You can say he doesn’t have Q-factor or pixie dust or framing or any other made-up metric —- Jose Lobaton isn’t Harvey’s issue.

    You say maybe release Harvey….I can’t imagine the Wilpons releasing a guy they owe more than $5 million, particularly when he would get scooped up by somebody like the Giants and the Wilpons would wind up getting beat down the stretch by somebody they are paying, which would make their black little hearts grow three times smaller.

    On an up note — it’s not a bad problem 🙂 On some teams he would just be planted as their number three with no other options.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Why did Harvey perform competently with TdA and not Lobaton?

      Maybe it’s because pitch framing matters.

  3. mike hogan says:

    how much is the catching injuries affected the pitching? do they plan on playing the youngster behind the plate?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s really affecting them. The pitchers are not getting the same calls, and we’ve seen two meltdowns from the pen.

      Only time will tell if Nido plays more.

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