Monday, April 15, 2013

Harvey's Creed

It didn't snow in Minnesota on Saturday, although I suppose if it had, it probably wouldn't have been anything more than a minor irritant for Matt Harvey, who seems to be able to perform at a very high level in any set of circumstances. His first start came in a frigid wind tunnel at Citi Field, and although the weather was nicer in Philadelphia, he was once again facing some harsh elements in his 3rd start. Doesn't matter. The result has been pretty much the same every time out.

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays this breakaway talent from the swift dispatching of his opponent. Thus may be the creed of Matt Harvey, every time he takes the mound.

Whatever barely noticeable loss of command Harvey suffered in his second start, when he gave up 1 run on 3 hits was clearly back on Saturday, since he made the Twins lineup look pretty much hopeless instead of the mere cluelessness he inflicted on the Phillies. For a while there, it looked like he had a pretty solid shot at throwing a No Hitter before Justin Morneau took a whac-a-mole swing at a slider and somehow just barely clanged it off the foul pole. Harvey did give up another hit in the 8th to Brian Dozier, but that was a single of little consequence. Pretty much everyone else the Twins sent up against Harvey met the same fate. No, Harvey didn't get his No Hitter, although if his first three starts this season are any indication, he certainly has as good a chance as any to throw one at some point (and it's a lot easier to make a comment like that after June 1st, 2012).

With the temperature in Minneapolis hovering around the freezing mark, I suppose Harvey took a page from the Crash Davis "Strikeouts are Facist" book and decided to try to pitch to contact a bit more. The line reads 8 innings, a career-best, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and an economical 6 strikeouts over his 100 pitches. For the season, he's pitched what amounts to a pretty good game for any pitcher, 6 hits, 2 runs, except that he's spread it out over 3 games and 22 innings, and mixed in 25 strikeouts for good measure. And he's also emerged among the league leaders in gushing Tweets, earning the praise of Tampa Bay's David Price, and drawing several gushing raves from Dwight Gooden.

There was a rest of the game around Harvey, though not that you'd notice, but after their 16-run salute on Friday, the Mets were held in check by fellow Binghamton University alum Scott Diamond (currently the only Bearcat to ever pitch in the Major Leagues—Binghamton is not known for its Baseball team...) before he unraveled in the 5th and the Mets scored 4 runs on 7 consecutive hits. In his first save opportunity of the season, Bobby Parnell made things somewhat hairy, allowing a run and the tying run to the plate, but he eventually got out of the inning and the Mets were primed to go for a sweep on Sunday. Until the Minnesota Weather reared its ugly head once again and dumped what I'm told was the dreaded "wintry mix" on the region. The subsequent postponement means the Mets have earned themselves a second trip to Minneapolis in August, when the weather should most certainly be better. At least I hope that's the case.

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