Sunday, April 26, 2015


You didn't have to be a lip reader in the 9th inning yesterday afternoon to see just how in control Matt Harvey was in shutting down the Yankees and evening up this early-season Subway Series matchup.

"C'mon!" he yelled to Terry Collins, who'd presumably come to remove him from the game with 2 outs in the 9th inning. "Lemme get this guy."

Though Harvey ultimately lost the battle against his manager, by that point he'd already won the war, whipping off a mostly effortless 107-pitch effort that saw him rather economically shut down the Yankees, going deeper than he'd gone into a game this season while only allowing 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. The Mets offense backed him with plenty of runs and Mr. Man went and did the rest as the Mets shook off the Friday night doledrums and responded with a rather easy 8-2 victory in the Bronx Mausoleum.

This game was certainly in stark contrast to the last time Harvey faced the Yankees. Not so much in Harvey's effort—he allowed 1 run in 8 innings in a Mets win—but in that game, the Mets gave him nothing to work with in the way of run support, and only a 9th inning comeback off of some closer dude saved Harvey from being hung with a loss.

Saturday, the Mets scored early and often off of C.C. Sabathia, whose years are starting to catch up to him. Lucas Duda kicked off the scoring with a 1st inning Home Run, a shot over the 260-foot fence in Right Field. Though the Yankees tied the game thanks more to Daniel Murphy having one of his Daniel Murphy moments and not covering 1st on a bunt play, the Mets struck right back with an extended 2-out rally in the 4th inning. Juan Lagares drilled an RBI triple to plate Murphy, and this was followed by a Wilmer Flores RBI single, and finished off by Kevin Plawecki's first Major League Home Run, a real laser beam of a line drive that landed in the Left Field seats. Very quickly, as the Mets have been wont to do, the Mets grabbed a lead and tacked on, putting necessary distance between themselves and the Yankees.

But the Mets didn't stop after the 4th. In the 6th, Eric Campbell, who's been sneaky good in the absence of Wright, led off with the Mets 3rd Home Run of the afternoon, a poke shot to right that was advantageously placed just over that short fence to extend the lead to 6-1. Later, Juan Lagares knocked out the 3rd of his 4th hits on the day, and then relied on his baserunning savvy to advance round the bases and score on an Esmil Rogers Wild Pitch. Plawecki bookended his fine day with another 2-out RBI, this time an 8th inning single that scored Lagares and capped off the Mets scoring.

Lagares' 4-hit day was nice, and Plawecki's Home Run was even nicer, but Harvey was obviously the story of the day. Where deGrom had failed on Friday night by not really adjusting to the Yankees attacking his pitches early in the count, Harvey instead used his entire arsenal to counter the Yankee approach. Instead of trying to blow everyone away with fastballs, which he's certainly capable of doing, Harvey instead mixed in his curve and his slider and watches as the Yankees tapped harmless ground balls all over the place. This was not only effective, but economical and essentially gave Harvey the opportunity to work deeper into the game because he just wasn't throwing that many pitches. By the 6th inning, he'd only registered an un-Harvey-like 2 strikeouts, and only then did he dial it up and start gassing guys. By the 9th inning, he'd only thrown 90 pitches, and although this would have been the perfect place to get him out of the game, Collins gave him a shot to finish things off. He certainly came close, and his whipsaw strikeout of A-Rod nearly brought the house down, but at that point, being over 100 pitches, he'd finally run out of gas and couldn't quite finish things off.

Still, I can't imagine anyone other than Harvey himself is going to complain about his inability to finish the game. When innings are supposedly a concern, maybe it's going to make a difference later in the season. Maybe not. But after this outing, he'll be rewarded with an extra day of rest before his return to the mound at Citi Field on Friday night, where everyone will certainly be keyed up. First, though, the Mets have to finish up the madness that is the Subway Series tonight on The Biggest Game in the Galaxy on ESPN. That should be flashy.

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