Friday, July 27, 2012

Hollywood Beginning

Contrary to popular belief, my recent lack of activity here was not because I was someplace bashing my head into a desk over the recent Mets struggles. There was actually some work-related reason for this, which precluded me from watching a lot of bad baseball and also hindered my ability to write about said bad baseball. Not that there was a ton to say that hadn't already been said, but to sum it up, after so many seasons of the Mets coming apart in the 2nd half of the year, it seemed refreshing to see this team, because they really made us believe that they would finally break this trend. Unfortunately, they didn't, primarily due to a bullpen that lacks the general ability to get anyone out. That makes it all seem doubly frustrating.

Then, there's Matt Harvey, who's debut last night generated so much hope and buzz that even I diverted my attention from the middle of a rehearsal periodically to check out the score on my phone. Judging from the number of strikeouts, and the fact that the Mets had the lead, it appeared to me that he was doing pretty well. He did pretty well, all things considered. In fact, you probably couldn't have drawn up a much better Major League Debut for any pitcher anywhere, unless you were, say, Stephen Strasburg or the like. But Harvey held his own, and ultimately etched his name ahead of Tom Seaver's in the Mets record book, at least for one night, with his 11 Ks. 11 Ks! When was the last time a Mets starter had 11 Ks in a game? I know Dickey did it this season and Santana may have as well, but let's think about this. When was the last time the Mets had a power pitcher like this, who would just blow it by hitters? Pedro in '05? Al Leiter? It's been a while, and, yes, it's only one start, and Harvey will certainly take his lumps along the way, but if you're going to live up to the hype that's been cast on you by a fan base desperately searching for an answer, and if you're going to endear yourself to that fan base, then this is certainly a good starting point.

More impressive was Harvey's demeanor on the mound. More often than not, you can see certain pitchers start to crap their pants when they get to the mound for their Major League Debuts (I'm talking to you, Chris Schwinden). Matt Harvey showed no such nerves. Based on what I saw in replays, and from listening to him talk after the game, Harvey seemed 100% locked in and ready to go, no nerves, no jitters, just a pitcher ready to pitch, which bodes well for his future. In-game, he showed it, too, working out of a 3rd inning jam by striking out Jason Kubel and Paul Goldschmidt with 2 men on.

So, this morning, Matt Harvey is the talk of the town, and deservedly so. After weeks of should he or shouldn't he be up, will he or won't he be up, etc, he's here, and I don't think he's going anywhere. And with his performance last night, that even the Mets bullpen couldn't screw up, he's injected life back into the team. It's about time.

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