— New York Mets (@Mets) March 8, 2016
The Dark Knight of the New York Mets, Matt Harvey, tosses three solid innings in his spring training debut.
- New York Mets: 4 (3-2-1)
- Atlanta Braves: 5 (2-5)
- Grapefruit League, Final Box Score
- Champion Stadium, Kissimmee, FL
By Jeremy Fialkow
It’s official: Today was a Happy Harvey day.
Tuesday’s game against the Braves marks Matt Harvey‘s initial return since his (and the Mets) 9th-inning debacle in game 5 of the World Series.
In three innings of work, Harvey surrendered three hits, two walks and an earned run. His command seems to be coming back this spring, slowly but surely, as he threw 24 of 41 pitches for strikes.
Matt Harvey has retired four batters with seven pitches.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) March 8, 2016
Alas, the Metropolitans still lost today’s game. However, their 26-year-old flamethrower impressed teammates, coaches and even himself, but not with the heat usually expected from the Mets’ pitching staff.
Rather, it was Harvey’s signature slider attracting all the attention in today’s matchup.
The flashy strikeout-pitch once thought to be lost from his arsenal has finally returned, with Harvey more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery. While throwing the slider puts the most strain on a pitcher’s elbow, it’s encouraging to see Harvey comfortable throwing it once again.
The Braves' Mallex Smith was Matt Harvey's only strikeout victim. Asked about the slider he whiffed on, Smith… https://t.co/QnEJJv7gpU
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 8, 2016
Lagares, who noticeably shed 20 pounds this offseason, delivered a two-run single in the 4th inning to give New York a temporary 2-1 lead. The folk hero that is Wilmer Flores batted 1.000 for the day, adding three hits in three at-bats for New York.
Harvey, for one, notices a subtle but important difference in this Mets team from last year to this spring: A sense of urgency.
According to Paul Newberry, MyNorthwest.stats.com, Harvey had this to say:
“Last year, I was pretty excited to get back in there and let it all out. This spring, I definitely think we all realize that there’s still a lot of time to go and work to be done to get where you need to be.”
Next up for the Mets, another Amazin’ Ace will debut.
RHP Jacob deGrom will take the mound against the cross-town rival New York Yankees at Port St. Lucie, Wednesday. Catch the game at 1:10 ET on SNY.