Matt Harvey Is At A Crossroads

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Who could’ve predicted that crisis would afflict Matt Harvey’s once promising career?

Remember when it was an event whenever Matt Harvey took the mound? Well, today it’s more dread than anticipation.

Courtesy: Mets Merized Online

Friday night was the most anticipated start for Harvey since April 2013 when he had a showdown with Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg at Citi Field.

That was the night Mets’ fans chanted. “HARVEY’S BETTER!” — from the stands, outside Citi Field, and at the 7 train. Harvey outpitched Strasburg in the Mets’ 7-1 victory. Over seven innings the Nats plated only one run on four hits and struck out seven times. Domination!

This year anticipation came for all the wrong reasons. Harvey was coming off a suspension. He didn’t show up for work last Saturday, telling the Mets he had a “migraine.” But that just wasn’t true.

The New York Post’s Page Six reported that Harvey had been out drinking on Cinco de Mayo at 1Oak. He was depressed about Adriana Lima leaving him and dancing with Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman. When outed, Harvey apologized to teammates, coaches, the Mets’ front office, and Fred and Jeff Wilpon.

Courtesy: Sporting News

Then it was back to work again. But things didn’t turn out well for Harvey when he made the “anticipated” return on Friday night.

He allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings while giving up three home runs and walking five hitters in the Mets’ 7-4 road loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Eric Sogard (two-run blast) and Orlando Arcia (solo) hit back-t0-back homers off Harvey in the sixth inning to give the Brewers the lead after the Mets had tied the game at 2.

Harvey has ugly numbers over his last four starts. He’s 0-3 with an 8.86 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. Harvey has given up 10 home runs in just 40 innings of work, and he has walked 13 batters in his last three starts. In other words, he is pitching like a pedestrian starter.

Harvey has low velocity, a lack of command, and seems to be done in the middle innings.

Hitters figure him out, he loses command, and then looks fatigued.

Is he finished as a starter? Perhaps. Is he done as a Met? Maybe. Harvey needs a change of scenery and the Mets have grown tired of his antics.

But any move is contingent on Harvey’s market value. To get value in a trade the Mets need Harvey to be dominant again. And Harvey needs the Mets to give him a chance to show clubs he can be dominant again.

If a trade can’t be worked out, then Harvey will test free agency. But if he remains pedestrian, he’ll fetch a bottom-of-the-rotation contract.

Worse yet for the Mets, Harvey’s woes are just one issue associated with its beleaguered starting rotation. It’s a shaky staff outside of Jacob deGrom.

Zack Wheeler has been okay at best (4.2 ERA), but that’s no surprise given that he hadn’t pitched for several years.

Courtesy: SNY

Robert Gsellman isn’t pitching at the level he pitched last year. He has given up 34 runs in 35 innings and has a +7 ERA. He has command problems and a penchant for giving out hits like candy.

Newly acquired Tommy Milone is an average starter at best.

Rafael Montero is a lost cause (2.8 WHIP and a 9.0 ERA).

Who knows if Noah Syndergaard can pitch like an ace when he comes back?

And Steven Matz and Seth Lugo–both expected to be back soon from injury soon–are question marks.

That brings me back to Harvey and why it’s important for him to get going. All eyes were on him Friday night and he failed big time. Mets’ fans couldn’t care less about his apology. They care about quality starts.

Courtesy: FanGraph

It would be bad enough if Harvey’s current shenanigans were a one-off. But they’re not. Fans have been tired of Harvey’s act for a long time, going back to when he “wondered” if he should pitch in the postseason a couple of years ago. He was advised by his agent, Scott Boras, not to go over an innings limit that season.

Harvey eventually pitched in the postseason and did okay —  until he blew a 9th inning lead in Game 5 of the World Series. That outing basically ended the Mets’ season.

Maybe Harvey will figure out things in his next start. Maybe he’ll figure out what ails him next month. Or perhaps “figuring out” will never happen.

Who could’ve predicted that crisis would afflict this once promising career?


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